Alone in new territory

Old 06-09-2013, 04:09 AM
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Alone in new territory

I suppose this isn't the place for introductions, and i haven't read through the forum rules ..but it's 2 AM and the quiet is a bit much to bear.

Just recently started dating someone I've known for quite a while. We hadn't seen each other in some time. He wasn't ever overweight, but when I saw him again he was drastically thinner. Very intelligent guy but suffers from depression—never thought he had a drinking problem until I inquired about a necklace he was wearing. He admitted that it was an AA pendant. I was shocked but proud of him.

He's been sober 2 months, but today he made the decision to drink. I don't know what made him do it, and he only admitted to it because I was rather upset with him because he seemed to be pushing me away. He then said he had made a bad decision and didn't want me to see him drunk. The good thing is that he called his sobriety buddies and they whisked over to get him. Makes me happy that he's committed to getting better.

What I didn't expect though, was how hurt I would feel, betrayed..scared..worried..angry. Most of all selfish.

The whole time that he is admitting his slip up I'm fully aware that this isn't at all about me and I should be supportive... but then what do I do with my own feelings? At 2 AM. Who supports the supporters?

Logically I know all the right answers (it isn't about me, only he can make the choice to be sober, it's called an addiction for a reason, etc), but emotionally.. it feels like there's a hole in my chest.

My selfish and irrational thoughts in a nutshell:
I'm hurt that he didn't reach out to me. That we aren't a "team" Hurt that I have to just stand here, helpless, while he goes off into the fold of ..people he trusts? My trust feels fractured. I feel betrayed, but I can't pinpoint why. I don't remember establishing some unspoken trust that he would never drink again. Perhaps I placed too much confidence in how easy he made it seem. I'm scared at how easily he made the conscious decision to drink without consulting anyone, even his AA buddies. Worried that he'll slip again and not recover. I'm scared of saying the wrong thing and feel like I have to bottle these feelings lest I cause him to feel bad and drink more/again.

Twice he said he hoped I could find it in myself to forgive him, and horribly, all that echoed in my head was "why are you asking for my forgiveness? Does it really matter to you? Clearly my feelings didn't matter when you were out buying beer." I wanted to walk away instantly. I wanted to be mad and lash out. And frightened, I started questioning whether or not this was really the life I wanted to get myself into. (There are other issues, but this is the one I feel most unprepared for.)

Of course, all I said was that I was glad he was reaching out and that I knew he could start over tomorrow.

So, now its almost 3 AM and he's with his support group, meanwhile I'm trying to get some sleep but choking on tears that won't actually surface. I try to be very supportive and empathetic to all the important people in my life regardless of situation. But... Do supporters get to have feelings? Do I get to have feelings seeing as how we've only been dating a short while? Do I just generally have to walk around feeling like selfish scum because he has difficulty with his addiction? How do you cope?

I'm sorry. I guess I needed to vent more than I thought. I hope no one bites my head off. Thanks for reading.
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Old 06-09-2013, 04:25 AM
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You're definitely in the right place to be heard and understood :-)
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Old 06-09-2013, 05:05 AM
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I'm so glad he has the support he needs to get back on track. Recovery from alcoholism is a life-long maintenance program, and it sounds like he has a good program in place for dealing with relapses if and when they happen.

I realize that what I am about to say is going to sound like a criticism of you, but it's not. I know that you feel he should be turning to you for support and help with his alcoholism, but trust me....he shouldn't.

Family members, loved ones and friends are not the only choice for support and are usually not the best support. We are often too close to the situation--too enmeshed (I'm speaking from personal experience).

We, the supporters, support one another just as those who struggle with addiction support one another! I don't know what program your boyfriend is in, but most of them have another program specifically for the Friends and Family (AA/Alanon, etc.).

I'm glad you found us and hope that you will make yourself at home here!
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Old 06-09-2013, 05:23 AM
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Hi lostmunki,


You are both where you need to be tonight: he with people who understand being addicted and choosing to relapse, you with people who have loved an addict and know the pain you're going through.

There's a saying here that I've hung on to a lot: he isn't drinking at you, he's just drinking. We're in dangerous territory when we start thinking that an alcoholic's drinking has anything to do with us (as in "how could he do this is he loves me?") or that they should come to us first (as in "why didn't he let me help him?")

Also - and I'm saying this with lots of love and concern... Did you say he had been sober for two months? That's not a very long time. Most times, recovering addicts are advised to not enter into a new relationship for a year after their sobriety date - not for any other reason than that recovery is a full-time pursuit. No, his relapse isn't your fault, but for your protection and his, I would reconsider this relationship and probably revisit the possibility of being involved once he has at least a yea of solid sobriety and recovery under his belt.

And I'm sorry you're hurting. Just know my thoughts come from being married to an alcoholic for 20 years. It's not a pretty life, doesn't matter how great the alcoholic is between drinking binges.
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Old 06-09-2013, 06:06 AM
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Lostmunki, welcome to SR. I have found a lot of education, support and perspective here and hope that you find the same.

I would like to suggest that you do as much reading here as you can, especially the stickies at the top of the section. Also, it would probably be very helpful to get yourself to an Alanon meeting. You'll likely learn a lot there as well as get a lot of support.

Many here have a lot of experience, strength and hope to share--try your best to take it in, if you can. It'll do you good regardless of where this particular relationship goes or doesn't go...
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Old 06-09-2013, 06:49 AM
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Hi lostmunki,

Glad you found SR! Welcome to a really wonderful place for support.

I once read an article that pointed out that whatever bothers you early in a relationship (within the first 6 months) is exactly what will bother you, more and more, as the relationship goes on.

Even though you knew him for quite a while you didn't know that he was an alcoholic, so that's a major thing to have entered into the equation. His being an alcoholic won't change, and you didn't make that happen or have some shortcoming that resulted in his relapse. It's all about the relationship that he has with his disease. And that relationship will ALWAYS be in his life.

Can he recover? Absolutely. Will he? No idea. I believe the AA recommendation is that nothing changes in the first year of sobriety, other than getting sober. That means no new relationships. No doubt you can now see why that is the case--it's hard enough for the alcoholic to navigate early recovery...having someone along on the ride adds a LOT of "extras" for both of you.

Given that you have not been seeing him for long, if it were me I would bless him on his path, sincerely wish him well and pray for his continued efforts to get better. And then let go. Of course, I can say that now after almost 4 years in Alanon, which I highly recommend. It saved my life, possibly quite literally.

Keep coming back~
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Old 06-09-2013, 08:08 AM
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lostmunki,

You are in the right place. Absolutely.

I am a recovering alcoholic, and I am beginning to become aware of the emotional baggage
others have handed to me
(and I took when I did not realize I had a choice) and that I gave to others.

What I didn't expect though, was how hurt I would feel, betrayed..scared..worried..angry. Most of all selfish.
I think this is excellent, that you have named all the feelings and are working through them.
For a long time, I did not know how I felt, because I was told either,
do not feel that way, or that is not true.
Stay true to you.

I would also say, as a recovering alcoholic, this slip early in recovery is a sign for you not to get into a relationship with him (or any alcoholic this early in recovery).

Twice he said he hoped I could find it in myself to forgive him, and horribly, all that echoed in my head was "why are you asking for my forgiveness? Does it really matter to you? Clearly my feelings didn't matter when you were out buying beer." I wanted to walk away instantly. I wanted to be mad and lash out. And frightened, I started questioning whether or not this was really the life I wanted to get myself into. (There are other issues, but this is the one I feel most unprepared for.)
This, I think is most important, because as long as his addiction is in charge, you will always be lower on the list of important things.
When addiction is is charge, nothing else matters. It is ALL about the high, the buzz, the numbness (for me), checking out of life.

Life on life's terms is what I am striving for, and that does not include alcohol.

I understand that you have a history, but a short history of dating.
You found out a very very important deal-breaker here.
He is in early recovery, and after 2 months of sobriety (a miracle for a drunk!),
he chose to get drunk.

You do not want to be the girlfriend of an alcoholic, it sucks.
Yes, we are a group of great people here at Sober Recovery ,
but we learned the hard way.

Keep reading and posting, you will get the information you need and
maybe some you don't want, but any decision you make should be for you.
For no one else but you.
This is your life.

Beth

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Old 06-09-2013, 09:20 AM
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Thank you all for the warm welcome and advice. I immediately grabbed for my phone as soon as I woke up, and your words brought tears to my eyes at last.

Regarding the relationship, I hadn't known it was a recommendation in AA to avoid them until he told me. Apparently he told his sponsor about his feelings for me before we even started dating. At first his sponsor was against it, and I immediately said perhaps we should stop seeing each other. I told him I didn't want to get in the way of him getting better. But like I said, my bf was handling AA so easy, even through the really low points, and his sponsor seemed to accept me and has since invited me to join their hangout group. So, It seemed to me we were all pretty clearheaded about what we were doing. Now I have my doubts.

I got a couple of texts from him at 4 AM after his support group, saying he missed me and was sorry. I purged my selfish feelings last night, but I feel pretty lost, and I'm hurting for him. I know I have to talk to him today and I really don't know what to say.

I'll be reading through the forums here and will be sure to check out the stickies. I searched for Alanon meetings in the area but wasn't able to find any within 30 miles. Maybe I'll ask him about it. Thank you all for the listening ear and feedback, truly.
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Old 06-09-2013, 09:23 AM
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Hi LostMunki,

Welcome to SR. You already got some really great advice. I know many of us have felt exactly the way you described. I have been where you were last night, and lillamy put it so well when she said it is a very dangerous place to be. Don't do what I did and let your sadness over his relapse be the beginning of a destructive addiction to HIS addiction.

You have come here which is a great first step. I didn't find this site until I was in way over my head. I never realized what an insidious and contagious disease alcoholism is until it was too late to get out without suffering major trauma and loss of self esteem.

Please take care of yourself! Keep reading on SR and go to Al-Anon. Education is key!

Hugs.
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Old 06-09-2013, 09:29 AM
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Lostmunki,
Our posts crossed. If you two really like each other, your relationship can handle a break while he works on his sobriety. If it were me, knowing what I know now, I would seriously consider it.
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Old 06-09-2013, 12:00 PM
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Dear lostmunki---Without sugar-coating anything--let me say it this way:

WARNING, DANGER!!! HEARTBREAK AHEAD

You are fortunate that you have been given an early and clear lesson as to the insidiousness of this disease and how it can affect you--even in a very short time.

Make no mistake--a committed relationship with an alcoholic is not the same as a relationship with a "normie". Even those who have made it do not do so easily and without some collateral damage. It is not for the faint-hearted--trust me!

Here is the biggest kicker---Love is not enough. Most everyone on this forum did or does love their qualifier.

If you care about him as a person--consider making a break with the intimate nature of the relationship until he has had at least one or two years of uninterrupted sobriety in the program. This is the standard advice that is given to the devastated and heart-broken wives. You can imagine how hard it is for THEM.

You need to avail yourself of an education about this disease and any co-dependent tendencies that you may have. Please read the stories of the others--and the stickies at the top of this main page. You have been given a great window of opportunity--for now and into your future.

I am glad you came here. Hang around!!! You definitely are n ot alone.

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Old 06-09-2013, 12:48 PM
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I've spent all morning processing everything. Opening my eyes to...this entirely new world. I'm having a hard time. Right now in trying to focus on not being reactive and just educating myself before making any decisions.

I'm so happy I found this place and I thank you all. And thank you to those who have PM'd me. Apparently I cannot respond until after 5 posts, but I wanted to say I received the messages and appreciate them.
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Old 06-09-2013, 03:22 PM
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Dear lostmunki, just want to ask you to keep in as close contact with us as you can.

We care very much about you and want to see you safe. Believe me, many on this forum have been in your EXACT SAME POSITION. We understand and you will not be judged. We are an honest group--but, not judgemental.

You are not alone.

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