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Letting go of the PA alcoholic; my first great love and first great heartbreak.

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Letting go of the PA alcoholic; my first great love and first great heartbreak.

Old 04-17-2013, 01:08 AM
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Unhappy Letting go of the PA alcoholic; my first great love and first great heartbreak.

I am new to this scene. My journey started with falling in love, building a home and trying for a family; the happiest, the most wreckless and free with my heart, the most committed I have ever been. It ended in pregnancy loss, emergency surgery, losing my job and starving as I struggled to find another one, a significant other who sat around on unemployment, drinking all day, smoking marijuana, and treating me like garbage, attempts to control his drinking, counseling, denial, burning bridges with my displaced rage, kicking him out, ups and downs, and finally enough heartbreak and disappointment that I had to end the relationship or retain none of my severely dwindling self esteem and sanity.

I realized at some point that I was in a relationship with a passive aggressive alcoholic, but having never been around alcohol or drugs, let alone their abuse before, and having never dealt before with passive agressive or addictive behavior it took a good long while for me to realize that the man I loved so dearly not only had a problem, but how serious that probably really was, and what it meant for me. In retrospect, the signs were all there much earlier than I realized. I thought we had tried everything. I thought if I could just love him enough, set strong enough boundaries, I thought if HE would just love ME... I should have stayed in Al-Anon. I should have stayed in counseling. I should have listened, and broken off all contact until sobriety much sooner. I didn't want to, wasn't ready to throw in the towel and listen to experience. WE were different. in my mind. HE was different. Now that I am educating myself, I know that I had developed an unhealthy codependency, and that I was showing and continue to show all of the signs and symptoms of his very serious personality disorder and disease. By the end, my life and psyche were in shambles. He, as a person who always focuses on himself first, of course had everything he could possibly need, including me, but was still drinking.

I made the decision that I needed recovery. Whether he would pursue it for himself or not. I need my dignity. I need to be treated with love and respect. I cannot accept less. That's what I told him when I broke up with him and flew across the country for a reprieve. While I was away, he stopped drinking, stopped smoking pot, started playing in a Christian band, attending church on Sundays, working out and running, calling me, messaging me, acting lovingly. Crying his eyes out in remorse and apology. Begging for another chance. I told him that I couldn't promise him anything. We talked about a lot of things, and he admitted that every time he fell off the wagon it was worse, more tragic. That the way he had treated me and other women was wrong, a character flaw. That he would do the work on himself, and never hurt me again. That we have too much in this to just let it go. That noone would ever compare to me. That he wanted to make up for every wrong thing, starting as soon as I got home. That he didn't want to, couldn't bear to think of me with anyone else (Anyone else being the friend I was staying with at the time, who graciously provided me sanctuary).

I flew home to see. To see how I felt. And what I found was that was traumatized. I was terrified to see him. It was all horribly sad. He was not his drunk self; he was heartbroken, scared, practically begging, eyes filled with tears. Such a far cry from my abuser, but there he was, right in front of me; the man who had waged psychological warfare against me for over a year, begging for another chance to be with me. I let him have his reunion. We exchanged gifts. I let him hold me. I thought it over in his absence. But I knew, as much as I still love him to this day, I couldn't. Couldn't be around him, couldn't be in that house, in that town, couldn't bear any of it. Could not risk being hurt even once more. I can hardly stand to think of the overwhelming loss and feelings of abandonment, even now. It has been four months since he broke my heart for the last time. Three months since I broke things off with him. And two months since I told him I would be moving away permanently, to be taken care of and nurtured. To be among friends rather than enemies. He gave me his blessing, and promised never to hurt me again. That didn't last. The friendliness lasted a little while, but once he realized I had really moved on, then came the purging, shutting me out emotionally, treating me unlike he would treat anyone else... Except for... You guessed it... His other exes. Oh, how we come full circle.

My fear is that he was really, finally ready to change, to permanently quit drinking. That should be a wonderful thing, right? But I will always wonder what might have been, had I been able to give him "another chance." He'd always had a willingness toward counseling, but not AA. He says, "I do things alone." I'm guessing that's a bad sign? The way he told me we had "too much in it to just let it go." We had lost it all already. Months, a year prior. He had long since checked out on me. Abandoned me and our pets. Was cruel and unfeeling. Unpredictable. Hurt me and endangered himself regularly. Did not care. After a year waiting for an AMAZING, holiday season (as promised, to make up for our first Christmas; the one where he neglected to put anything under the tree for his jolly, pregnant, Santa's elf of a girlfriend), I had to track him down after ten days without contact, on CHRISTMAS. Nobody had seen or heard from him, and I was TERRIFIED at what I might find. I show up at his place with his dog and some Christmas cheer to find him stoned and drunk out of his mind. At least he wasn't dead. But, if you can believe it, his treatment of me and my grip on sanity got much worse from there. Our families were completely over it long before the end. We did not have many mutual supporters.

I still love him dearly, and miss him every day. Yet, I cannot be in his presence without feeling threatened and afraid. I know he feels hurt and betrayed, but loves and misses me the same way. I know this would be chalked up to unhealthy attachment by most. I suppose we are both just existing at this point, focusing on our respective recoveries, and trying to move on with our lives. We are not good for one another. We are probably not good for anybody. Only thing is, of my two amazing best friends, I am in a committed relationship with one of them. It is probably too soon, but I cannot deny what this man has been and means to me, and I am very honest with him. He knows I have a long road ahead of me, and is willing to travel it alongside me, regardless of the outcome. He is just glad that I found my way out of a bad situation. I am currently reading Codependent No More, and am looking to get back into counseling. My "boyfriend" (feels and sounds weird, as I am used to calling him my "best friend") is helping me back to my feet. If I stay, he will be so happy. If I ultimately leave, he won't regret helping me. We will always be close. I count myself very lucky for these personal angels of mine. So glad to have found Soberrecovery as well. I have been reading for weeks, and finally decided to join and start sharing. Thank you for any and all feedback and hardfought answers.
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Old 04-17-2013, 05:15 AM
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I'm sorry for what you had to go through. As a recovered alcoholic, myself, I can tell you that your staying with the alcoholic would not have made any difference in his ability to get sober and stay that way. People recover when they want it enough--and want it desperately. Your staying would not have given him any extra motivation.

I do wonder, though, how fair it is (both for you and your new "boyfriend") to enter into a "committed" relationship when you haven't healed yet from this one, and when your heart is still obviously with the one that got away. I know he says he won't regret it either way, but once emotions get deeply involved, I could see a lot of heartbreak on the horizon.

I also suggest getting involved in Al-Anon. It's maybe a healthier way to heal than to lay everything on someone who is in love with you.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:23 AM
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Welcome to SR. I am sorry for your situation, but agree with Lexie that maybe bringing some other guy into it all right now is not the wisest move? There are other ways to get healthy again, so you have much to give in an intimate relationship, versus having one right now when you are still healing from the ending of one.

It's so easy to go from one relationship to another to fill the void of loss. I see people doing it all the time, and have been on the receiving end of that myself. But it doesn't allow us to grieve properly, and the other person often ends up hurt and not having their needs met, as we are so focused on our own needs.

Grief and loss hurt. Especially when there is the chaos of addictions and the behaviors that surround it all. And the only true healer of that is time. Therapy and Al-Anon help. But time is the one thing that truly works. Well, that, and no contact, which is seems you have figured out with your ex.

Keep coming back! Peace,
~T
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