The most important change after breaking up with the addict.

Old 09-11-2013, 11:46 AM
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The most important change after breaking up with the addict.

The stress is gone. For six years I was on an anti-depressant and an anti-anxiety medication. I was battling my weight, could not motivate myself to work, didn't care about my appearance.

I am not blaming him as a person, just the stress of living with the unpredictability of alcoholism. We are now separated and I will never go back.

Profound changes.

- He told me "now that I decide to go to rehab, you leave me." All other times I would have grabbed his rehab plans and held on. I would have felt too guilty for abandoning him when he is seeking help to leave him. I would have had high hopes and felt like the supportive spouse I felt I should be.
This time I said "I leave you because I cannot take the stress anymore. It's not about what you do, it's about how I feel with you and all I feel is stress. I am looking after myself now. Please look after yourself."

- He said "I am addict and I want to quit, but how can I promise you that I won't relapse." All other times I would have understood and considered his desire to fight the addiction more important than the outcome. This also mean that I put his battle before my needs. This time I said "relapse is not an option. If you cannot guarantee that you won't relapse, then there is no hope for us. This is not punishment and I am not dismissing your efforts. I just cannot live with relapses anymore. I needs peace in my life.

- I have been so good to myself this past month. I go to the gym, I treat myself to things, I appreciate myself for having come this way.

- my weight is just coming off. I don't obsess about food because I am not stressed. My cortisol levels are not out the roof. I eat when I am hungry and I don't crave carbs like a madwoman.

- I don't feel like drinking every night (I never did pick up drinking on a regular basis, but for a long time it was a fight not to)

- I am not afraid of dying. The past year I was so paralyzed with an irrational fear of dying, getting an illness, etc. I couldn't make sense if it. Now I know it's how I processed the constant stress and worry.

- I get work done. I am more productive than I was in six years. I am more focused.

- I don't pine for greener pastures - I am content where I am currently.

- I am not as sensitive. People can criticize me and I can handle it well. I ask for it even.

- I don't have to cling to hope that life will be good. I now KNOW it will be good.

- I couldn't function without anti-depressants and anti-anxieties. I am off both now (weaned off during the past month). And not only am functioning, I am living.

It's all because the stress is gone. I know I keep writing about this, but it just feels so miraculous. It's inner peace, freedom, and a conviction that life will be great. I was not born to be addiction's punching ball, no matter how lovely the addict and how troubled his life.
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:04 PM
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Good for you!! I am going through something similar and am in the infant stages where I am waffling. This gives me hope!
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:06 PM
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whhooooaaa. You Go, Girl.

I want to copy Your Homework.
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:08 PM
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This is kind of like OUR version of the "AA Promises" from the Big Book, kimmieh!

Thanks for posting. This is really great to hear. I especially love how you handled the issue of relapses, sounds very calm yet very strong.

Also wonderful to see how physical issues resolve when emotional stress lessens.

Again, thanks for a really inspirational post!
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:40 PM
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All wonderful things!
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Old 09-11-2013, 02:47 PM
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I am so happy to hear all of that.
And thank you for typing it out.
I recognize a lot of it; some of it I had never verbalized.
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:52 PM
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:12 PM
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I love this.
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Old 09-12-2013, 07:25 AM
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Thank you all!

I am absolutely certain that I would not have gotten here without this forum. I needed a safe place to be honest about the situation to open up about it. I feel incredibly indebted to this forum and its people.

And I continue to feel like a new person. It is really true that nothing matters, no reason for drinking, no childhood trauma on their part, etc., if the effect the disease has on you turns you into a shadow of yourself. Looking back and knowing I could have gotten arrested for domestic violence is one of the the most profound eye-openers.
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Old 09-12-2013, 07:27 AM
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I am also glad that my threads are here for me to read should I ever have doubts. The stuff we forget....

But for the first time in my life (and I was in other dysfunctional relationships, not just with addicts), I truly believe that I am my most important friend most in need of my help.
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Old 09-14-2013, 05:52 AM
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That is a wonderful healing story. Thanks for sharing.

This is an attestation of when someone is truly ready to heal, they do. The prison door is always open, just some are too comfortable in their pain to leave.
When the pain is too great, change comes.

Keep up the good work. I did the same :-)
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Old 09-14-2013, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Kimmieh View Post
This time I said "I leave you because I cannot take the stress anymore. It's not about what you do, it's about how I feel with you and all I feel is stress. I am looking after myself now. Please look after yourself."

I was not born to be addiction's punching ball, no matter how lovely the addict and how troubled his life.
Had to pull out my favorite bits - thank you so much for sharing, Kimmieh!
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:16 AM
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I love this! I'm in the early stages of a breakup and it has been VERY HARD. We had only been dating for 10 months and I'm a wreck. I can't imagine a marriage and children! Well yes I can...I was raised in an alcoholic household. I miss him terribly but I know that while he is in his active addiction, I can only love him from a far. It's tragic to feel so helpless. Thank you for your share, and for all the wonderful people here on SR!
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Old 09-15-2013, 06:02 PM
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You're an inspiration. So glad you've found some peace and happiness.

Thank you for sharing with us.
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Old 09-16-2013, 01:14 PM
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You are my role model! I am 3 weeks out of a break up and am working to get to a point where "I" am the only person I need in my life. Congrats!!!!! Truly inspirational!!
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Old 09-16-2013, 07:30 PM
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I've been working on me, too. That involves facing down the emptiness, which has been a big one since....well all my life.

It's not easy, though I also know I'm doing what I need to do for myself--and working hard at it. Boy am I ever working hard at it!!! I'd like a vacation, actually. :P

I go up and down a lot--I admit, but I'm not a wreck like I was after the breakup. It's been a longtime pattern of going crazy in love with people who have very serious problems. Psychopaths, NPD's, BPD's, alcoholics...... Similar to my growing up dynamics. I WAS born to be a punching bag--for my BPD mother, who started on me when I was a baby.

The depression and anxiety are stabilizing and I'm doing things more than isolating. I'm working on Re-Parenting with an excellent therapist. (Finally! Got recommendations for her from some friends.) It's about learning self-care and nurturing yourself..

I guess I need more self-nurturing and love before I can say I KNOW it will be ok.....but I so appreciate your description of the depression and anxiety symptoms! Reminded me of how far I HAVE come!

Thank you!!
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Old 09-17-2013, 06:22 AM
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You all are too kind! Thank you so much for your feedback and I am very happy to hear that my experience might help a little.

I continue to do exceedingly well. Yesterday I had a bit of a "relapse" in that I checked the viewing activity on Netflix to see if he really started detox yesterday. I noticed that he made a second profile (I didn't even know you could do that on Netflix) and called it "The Ex." I am glad I "relapsed" actually because I noticed it did nothing to me. I was not annoyed or sad. I didn't really wonder why he is not in detox because it is none of my business.

Last I talked to him was about a week ago (he begged me to call him because he was doing poorly). When he said that all I point out were the negatives, I went all out and told him what I read in my old threads and had forgotten. It was a good conversation because I reaffirmed for him and myself that I will not go back to that. I also know now that even if he were to sober up and be in recovery and serious about it, I wouldn't go back ever. He tried some emotional manipulation (which I now see for what it is), but was very decent overall and I do appreciate that very much.

The reason I tell you this is because for the first time, I was able to tell him about things he has done to me without feeling guilt or anxiety. Yes, I focus on the negatives with him because before for so damn long I clung to hope and good times.

I looked at pictures from last year that he took of me on a trip and it tears me apart how absolutely miserable I look. I take pictures of me now and I look so different. The withdrawal symptoms from quitting my anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication are gone now (they were mostly headaches) and I feel alert and emotionally in tune. I have talked at length to my mother and some friends who tell me that they have not every heard me sound this happy.

I realize that this is much easier for me than it would be for most other people since we had already been physically separated for a year. But even when he was not actually here, the anxiety was there (which like I said, I somehow projected into being afraid of dying and/or getting hurt or sick). I projected a lot onto my dogs in that I felt guilty leaving them alone for even just an hour. It was crazy! Now I go and come back, I know they have each other when I am gone (usually not longer than 4-5 hours anyway and otherwise they go to daycare), and they are so much more relaxed and happy because I am. I now realize how stuck I still was in my co-dependent mess because I was emotionally entangled with an addict even he if wasn't actually around.

I cried over some of the stories I read on here earlier because now it seems I can relate much better to the pain since I am not trying to rationalize anymore why I put up with it. Looking back is like looking into a very dark cave with occasional glimpses of sunlight.

I am rambling a bit here, but I wanted to let you know that things are still great and I feel amazing. I focus on the negative to affirm my decision, but the negative does not make me angry anymore. I am cleaning up the finances and sorting out his things to ship to him. I am going to buy a new bed and mattress with my next paycheck and while I wish him all the best, I don't check in with him. My checking in capacities are reserved for me currently.

I have reconnected with a man I have know for a long time. We weren't looking for this, it just sort of happened. It's very slow and sweet and we won't see each other until January. I mention him because I notice that I don't make my usual efforts to walk on egg shells. I don't try to please. And as an added bonus, he doesn't want me to. And even with the limited contact we have via email and phone, I appreciate that he is predictable because he doesn't drink. Never never never again!!!!!!!! I hate to say this because there are so many amazing people in recovery on here, but I know that I cannot have alcoholism in my life in any shape or form. Just thinking about the possibility of finding someone passed out in my living room or getting a call from jail because of a DUI makes me shake (literally).

Thank you all for being AMAZING. I mean it when I say I wouldn't be where I am without you. <3

Oh, and this weekend I will, for the first time ever, get a hair cut AND color at a non-cheap hair salon which is huge because until recently I wouldn't have wanted to spend the money and had a phobia of hair salons (perhaps I didn't think I deserve the attention...?). I am going all out, will not ask how much it costs, and take my credit card.
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Old 09-18-2013, 06:56 AM
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I can't wait to be where you are!!!! YOU ROCK!!!!!
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:17 AM
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I have mentioned that I have been having this fear of illness and more recently, of actually dying. Part of it is that I did have cancer at some point (treated and cured), but mostly I think it's an expression of deeper, non-tangible fears. I was on medication for this anxiety until recently.

Last night, the fear crept up again - I became terribly afraid that the cancer is back or that I could have STDs (I have no reason to believe that, but then of course it's a possibility). It was a rough evening. So I went to the gym, then took a bath and went to bed.

I had an appointment for a pap today, so I asked the doctor for a complete STD panel (blood is now at the lab). I also talked to her about my sister's breast cancer (she is cancer-free now) and she ordered a mammogram. I scheduled a complete physical for a few months from now. And because for some reason I have had bad anxiety attacks about being HIV positive in the past, I looked up a walk-in clinic that offers rapid testing and will be there as soon as they open in two hours.

I am very appreciative of the medication I took because they helped me to function, but I realize now that without the added stress of living with an unpredictable alcoholic and the opportunity to make my life entirely about me (and my dogs of course!), I am able to be proactive and face things head-on rather than medicating the anxiety away. It's my nature to just go and deal with things, but for so long I couldn't. I didn't have the energy to do all this for myself. I was too busy monitoring the addict, worrying about our future, being mad at myself for spending exorbitant amounts of money to keep his addiction alive and well.

It also makes me angry in a good way. How DARE he tell me I only focus on the bad times? Yeah, well, it might just be because I wasn't wasted or had disappeared or was in jail or was passed out about to choke on my own vomit when the bad times happened.

I think right now my number one advice is to focus on the negatives of living with an alcoholic and to get bloody angry about it. The positives mean nothing when you can't take care of yourself and only watch your spirit die little by little.
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Old 09-19-2013, 01:03 PM
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PS: He called and left a message today to let me know he has entered rehab.

Six years of "helping" and "caring" and hovering could not accomplish this. Two weeks after I left for good, he is in rehab. Good for him (and me).

We are NOT helping anyone by sticking around. Not them, not us, not anyone.
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