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Withdrawal from XABF

Old 08-09-2014, 07:34 PM
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Unhappy Withdrawal from XABF

Hi All,

It's been a long while since I've been on here.

After not seeing my XABF for 8 months, I re-initiated contact to see how he was doing. We caught up, and did some things on a friends only basis. He had been an independent contractor in my business, and I started using his services again, as long as he showed up sober. He "only" drinks after dinner, but then does so to blackout proportions. Thank goodness we weren't dating this go around so I wasn't there when he'd pass out and left things baking or on the stove top overnight.

A few months ago he was lamenting this, that, and the other thing. It segued into a compassionate dialogue about his drinking. I told him how I worried about him suffering a fate like several of my family members. Said if he ever decided to get help, I'd be a cheerleader and wasn't judging. I'm not sure whether this was codie, but he seemed to be receptive to listening that day.

I didn't hear from him for five days after that. When he finally spoke to me again, he said he'd contemplated suicide all that Saturday (when I saw him in the a.m.) and Sunday, because if drunken degeneration was all he had to look forward to, then why live? He told me that I shouldn't discuss his drinking because it depressed him. He said he needed me to be encouraging so that he could get his life together, and MAYBE he could consider quitting when he was in a better place. (Gotta love the twisted logic of an alkie.) I figured there was no reasonable dialogue to be had, so I dropped it.

Fast forward a few months. He's still drinking and blacking out. I wouldn't spend time with him when he was. Sometimes he'd help me out by working on my car or we'd talk business, but early in the day when he was sober. He continued to dredge up things I'd done or said in the past that were "hurtful". I finally said, "I'm not angry at you, but I need to spend less time with you. I'm sorry I hurt you, and I apologize and will make amends if there's something that works. All I can do is do better from here. In the meantime, it's difficult for me to keep hearing how I've messed up in the past while I'm trying to do better NOW."

A month goes by. I called him one morning to get back a piece of equipment that he'd volunteered to fix. I said, "It's okay, I'll take it somewhere else and have it fixed." He says, "I've been so depressed. My antidepressant isn't working and it's hard some days to do anything. I still think about eating my gun. But I'll work on your thing today and will call you in an hour or so." I couldn't let it be. I said (compassionately), "I know you don't want to hear this, but the antidepressants won't work while you're actively drinking." His tone abruptly changed and he said, "I said I'll call you in a while."

I didn't hear from him the whole day. I texted (Are you okay?), called, and stopped by his house to make sure he was okay. He wouldn't answer the door. The next day, Monday, I texted again and said, "I hope you're okay. If I don't hear from you within the next couple of hours, I'll need to send someone to check on you."

I got anxious. I lost two alcoholic brothers to suicide. I'm thinking, "I wonder if he's sitting in the dark with a gun?" I called the local hotline and they suggested I call his employer and see if he made it in to work. And if he didn't, to send the police to his house.

Long story short (and this is long already), the employer wants to know why I want to know if he's at work. I said, "I'm concerned about his mental health." As soon as the words left my mouth, I realized I should have just said, "his health", NOT "his mental health." What was I thinking? I wasn't. At this point, I was so wound I couldn't think straight and I was on my lunch hour. I wanted to know he was okay before I went back to work.

He called me within a minute. He said he never got my texts or phone calls. He got busy and "forgot" to call me. He said, "Stop by tonight and pick up your equipment."

When I got to his house that evening, he met me on the lawn. He handed me my equipment and said, "You're crazy. Batsh!t crazy. Don't ever contact me or anyone I love again. No one else thinks I have a problem! Only you. I was applying for a promotion and now, not only will I not get it, but I'm probably on the short list to get laid off or fired!" (He was fired from his last job. I knew someone who dated a manager there who allegedly said it was for drinking but they "got" him on something else.) I said, "You need help and you know it. There's no shame in seeking it. If you ever decide you want help, I can point you at some programs. I hope you can find some peace."

So. What's my reaction over the last two weeks? Guilt, guilt and MORE GUILT. My own mother said I over-reacted. (And this from the woman who last two sons to suicide.) I made a bunch of leaps to thinking he may have been suicidal. I made more when I didn't hear back. Why did I have to interfere?

What do I do with this guilt?!!!!

I realize this goes back and forth between explaining to defend myself, and feeling guilty. I don't know which side of me is "right".

I haven't contacted him and won't. When I start to think that I should make amends, all I can think is that there is nothing, NOTHING I can say that he'll want to hear. I know he's done. I've known him for seven years, and when he shuts down and cuts someone off, that's it. (He did it with his sisters a few months ago.)

By the way, I've been a twelve-stepper (OA) myself. I've been to Al-anon, too on and off over the years. It wasn't my cup of tea the last couple times. (No judgment here.)

Why am I feeling this way? I have an appointment with a counselor on Monday to deal with this.

And experience, strength, and hope out there?
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Old 08-10-2014, 05:09 AM
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This is actually pretty clear. He doesn't want to see you right now. You're no longer a couple. You kept talking, you stepped over the line and didn't back off when you should. Then you're apologizing to him while he, apparently, has nothing to apologize to you for. All very typical codie behavior, which most of us can relate to.

Stop contacting him. Stop telling him what he should do. Stop following up on him. You're not his mother or his girlfriend anymore. Find someone else to fix your broken stuff.

And take care of yourself and work on your own issues. Counseling is good, so is Alanon, if you can find a group that fits your needs.
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Old 08-10-2014, 08:04 AM
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Your brothers are gone. Finding another suicidal alcoholic to "save" isn't going to bring them back. Spending your life reenacting the past in the hopes of a better outcome is a waste of time and energy. I hope the counseling can help you move on from your losses and into a happier future. Maybe give Alanon another try. It has helped me a lot in conjunction with individual counseling. If you work the steps, you will get a chance to make amends to him when you do your 8th and 9th steps.
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:23 PM
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Listen, I think you should really cut off ties this time. You can't be friends with an active alcoholic who why get drawn into his miserable life. He has the option of going to rehab and/or AA but it's his call. There is nothing you can do or say that will affect his drinking. It's time to let go.
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:51 PM
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sometimes the best amends are to simply leave the other person alone.
you interfered in HIS life by calling HIS employer. sure your motives might have come from a good place, but it was not your place. his life is HIS. let him have it. get back in your own hula hoop.
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:33 PM
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Thanks all

It's cut off for good regardless. There is nothing to be gained through contact and I wasn't planning to. If anything, it will only cause more damage to both of us.

I was looking to cope with the guilt. I am at fault, and I need to accept that I made a mistake (many). I had already stepped back for several weeks and then I allowed myself to jump back in. I will have to let time work its healing and my amends will have to be doing better with everyone else in my life--and myself--from here on out. I was looking for a shortcut to feeling better. There are consequences to our actions and we need to live with them. As we all know, part of the step is "except when to do so...".
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:45 PM
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LookASquirrel....forgive yourself....you were genuinly trying to possibly save a person's life.
You are humane and compassionate...nothing to feel guilty about.

If I thought that a person was suicidal...I would do whatever I thought it would take to save their life.....no matter who they were!!!!!

Personally, I don't think you did a bad thing.

Now, you may need to change you relationship with him for your own good....but, let go of the false guilt. Don't beat yourself up for being a compassionate and caring person.

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Old 08-10-2014, 03:36 PM
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My (alcoholic) father committed suicide when I was 23, and one of my brothers - also an alcoholic - came perilously close a few years back. By that, I mean it was only medical intervention which saved him.

I used to work for a suicide helpline. Looking back, part of my motivation was to look at the whole concept of suicide in a safe environment as well as providing emotional support to people in that predicament. I had a brief relationship with a fellow volunteer from another branch. I was worried by his behaviour when drinking and told him I didn't think I could continue the relationship. He then threatened to kill himself if I ended it.

I told him that if his life without me was really going to be that bad, I'd respect his decision - and ended the relationship. I went around for several days feeling as though my head was going to explode; I also contacted the director of the branch that he worked for, to say that I was concerned that he was feeling suicidal and she said that they would do their best to give him the space to talk about his feelings. He was livid. This was obviously not the way the manipulation was meant to go.

Experience of life has taught me that suicide is a very aggressive act, second only to murder. Threatening to kill yourself is as aggressive as threatening to kill anyone else; apart from the 'normal' grief of bereavement with my father, I realised that all the comforting clichés people tell themselves ("They wouldn't want to see you upset" "They'd want you to pick up the pieces and be happy in life!") don't apply when it's a suicide. I knew perfectly well that we were meant to suffer; he even wrapped the empty paracetamol bottles in my mother's nightie for her to find, for example.

It's a long, long time since I've been in that situation; for me, letting myself feel the ANGER along with my feelings of loss and devastation was a key element in moving through and beyond it. I felt guilty about feeling angry for years, too... until I attended a talk given by a bereavement counsellor who said that the anger was actually the healthy reaction.

I think anyone would find that kind of experience disturbing and distressing, but I was also aware that the boyfriend's threat would also be opening up my own old wounds - of which he was well aware. The distress for him was real, but there are more effective ways of dealing with it in the way he did, and I'd have been doing him no favours by allowing myself to be manipulated by it - let alone the effect the emotional blackmail would have had on me.

If you want to recover from this relationship, cut all ties and let him concentrate on his own life, his own recovery. Getting back in contact with him was the equivalent of the first drink for an alcoholic and, as you have seen, the chaos and drama of an addictive relationship was soon back in full flow. It was a slip; none of us can claim a smooth, straightforward recovery. Stop beating yourself up, take in the lesson that this incident is there to teach you, and keep moving forwards.

(((HUGS)))
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Old 08-10-2014, 04:59 PM
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Thanks Rosalba

I appreciate your sharing your story. I'm sorry that you've been through similar experiences. There will always be those who commit suicide and those who threaten or imply it. My stepmother succeeded too, and I watched my father go through it all with every unsuccessful attempt. I believe he was relieved when it was finally over. And since it continues to exist, at least we can share and help the ones left behind--each other.

I appreciate what you said about the first drink analogy. It's very true. An important reason that I haven't sought any additional contact was because I believe that my self-preservation finally kicked in full force. I'd been doing well for several weeks and the reminder that this was a slip was very helpful. Even if I thought there was a way to make contact, every possible outcome would be awful, so I've stayed away. I fully believe that I will continue to stay away. It's as if something snapped this time.

I knew that he bore responsibility too. Somehow I'd thought maybe my crime was the more heinous one. That's the codie part. I take "keeping my side of the street clean" to mean I can't make mistakes. This helps to put it into perspective.

I will work with the counselor as long as it takes and I'll find a program and work it. As Maya Angelou said, "I did what I did when I knew what I knew, and when I knew better, I did better." I hope to know better soon. In the meantime, I'm putting a note on the wall by my desk with an OA saying on it, "progress, not perfection."

Thanks to everyone for the responses.
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Old 08-10-2014, 10:59 PM
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I am a suicide survivor too and I whole heartedly concur and agree with Dandylion.

I will never ignore someone who is suicidal. I would rather they be mad at me for life than dead.

I report any threats to 911 immediately.

I have been witness to too many tragedies of this kind.
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Old 08-11-2014, 06:43 AM
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Hello lookasquirrel,

I know you care about your XABF but all you did was get sucked back in his craziness and you don't deserve that. Suicide is very serious and next time call 911 and report any threats he tells you about.

Hugs
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