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Old 10-08-2015, 11:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Long Distance with Someone in Recovery


Hello,

I'm new here.

I've recently moved to LA from Vegas. I've been in a relationship with a man since he was a few months sober and we're going on 2 years. I moved a little over 3 months ago.

Back in March, he lost his first sponsee and proceeded to withdraw from me, entirely. He spiraled but remained sober. He attends at least 12 meetings a week and has a great sponsor and support group but when it came to me, he shut off for nearly a month. It was hard but we got through it.

Now, it seems we are in a similar situation. Before I moved - we discussed "the future," and measured whether or not we should remain in a relationship. (It's about a 4 hour drive) We decided that we would. We love each other and with my career finally taking a turn in a direction that forced me to move, eventually he would be open to joining me here if that's what were to happen. No pressure. Nothing set in stone.

I make it back to Vegas as much as I can - every couple of weeks or so. However, I've been very lonely here and my life went from a constant busy state to being alone in a new city with a much slower paced work environment and no network of friends. I have much more time than I ever have and have been doing my best to fill it with freelance jobs and volunteer work - but still, I have been feeling like I'm the least important thing to him.

I have been very patient, I think. I do not ask for much. I knew going into this that I would make more trips to Vegas than he would here and that's okay - but the little I do ask for is some effort... like I told him, "you can't do the bare minimum at work and expect to keep your job."

I'm afraid I've put pressure on and recently brought it up. I've been unhappy with the lack of attention I receive from him and it came up that he doesn't know what he wants - he doesn't know if he wants to be with me forever... when I know that's what I want.

I've gone through a world of emotions. I've been angry from feeling neglected. I've felt guilty for asking something of him. I've felt resentful of the time and attention he gives everyone but me. I've been sad that I can't fix this. I know that - truly - this is out of my hands... but I'm also walking around like a zombie and just wanting to make things better.

I feel like maybe he thinks we should break up but doesn't want to be the one to say it. It's the last thing I want. I know he's not neglecting me out of malice. I know he loves me. I just want to know what I can do or not do at this point.

Like I said, we've been through this kind of thing before. He shuts me off and all he can say, if I ask questions, is "I don't know."

I don't even know what I'm asking for in this forum. It helps to write it all out. Obviously I want this to work out but it's out of my hands so I guess ultimately I'm asking for people to listen. Has anyone been through this or something similar?

Thank you for reading.
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Old 10-08-2015, 11:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
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One of the realities you need to face is, this may be who he really is – withdrawn. So much of their character traits and personality we blame away on the drinking or them getting sober or them struggling with recovery when often it is just who they are.

A long distance relationship is difficult in itself let alone with someone in early recovery. And yes 2 years can be considered early recovery especially seeing that their recovery will be lifelong.

Maybe try and look for an al-anon meeting in your new area. It will help you meet new people and it will help you make new discoveries regarding alcoholism.
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Old 10-08-2015, 01:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hello Kim,

Welcome to SR and for posting. You are one brave person to commit to a relationship with someone when they were only 2 months sober. You are also strong to try long distance. It has strangled a lot of relationships - addiction recovery adds a whole layer of complexity.

Are you expecting too much of someone who has had some big struggles lately with their recovery? Possibly.

Can this person meet your needs? Maybe not to the level you would prefer.

Are you overvaluing the time you've put into this relationship for the limited returns you are getting? I have found journaling, counseling and 12 step work helpful with such a multifaceted question.

Ive gone through this in my marriage. I wouldn't wish this loneliness and neglect on anyone. My RAH is 30 mo sober. I have had to adjust my entire life and suspend the idea of us being the cute little couple in "Up." Ever seen Pixar's "Up?" First 5 minutes will make you bawl your eyes out. But "Adventure is Out There."

Stretch your wings and meet some new folks in your new town. Give the BF space to work things out for himself. See if he reaches out on his own. The whole issue might resolve itself with no real action on your part.

Take care of you!
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Old 10-08-2015, 01:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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KimsNotHome.....There is a very good reason that those who are new to recovery---like 2 months.....are advised not to enter into any new relationships for a least one year. Relationships can be complicated and hard enough when both parties are stable and know who they are....they can spell disaster for someone who is new to recovery....and, getting through the day can be hard enough, sometimes. Conflict can be a big trigger for relapse, also.

Even if he were not an alcoholic...I would say that a relationship where you are doing most of the initiations.....and you feel that your needs are not being met...
I would say to back off......way, way, off.....and, see what happens.
Actually.....when you ask someone what they think about a relationship....and, their answer is "I don't know"......it means that they aren't that into you...but, don't have the guts to say so.

You may, also, be going through a natural period of grieving....grieving for the l oss of what you wanted the relationship to be l ike...and, how much you invested into that.....

Like was suggested.....t hrowing your energy making new friends and ;meeting new people will help a lot....it takes time to make new roots in a new place....so don't get discouraged too fast......

dandylion.
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Old 10-08-2015, 01:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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JMHO,

but this I don't know is it's own answer.

Of course he knows, he just isn't sharing/ communicating, putting into words his current feelings/thoughts/reasons, etc.

Again just my opinion, but this "I don't Know'" is a nice blow off tactic, as in I'm not dealing/coping with this today.

Somebody would only have to tell me I don't know a couple of times, and i am certain I would know for myself very soon after that.
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Old 10-08-2015, 02:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Back in March, he lost his first sponsee and proceeded to withdraw from me, entirely.
As a recovering alcoholic (24 years) I've also lost sponsees. I felt sad, yes, but it never affected my relationships with other people. Sounds like a convenient excuse. And, it sounds like this relationship isn't rewarding for you and that's what I'd focus on. I recommend Alanon, where I learned I'm powerless over people, places and things. We can only change ourselves. Good luck!
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Old 10-08-2015, 02:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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KimsNotHome,

Welcome to SR. I'm sorry for what brings you here, but glad you've found us.

^^^ Great advice on that post above. I'm in Alanon also, and it's been a life-saver for me.

Regarding that I don't know factor...

I've had many "I don't know" moments, especially with alcoholism in the family and my own recovery from that. So many times I really do. not. know. Then I work my program, take the next right action, sit & wait in the comfortableness (instead of reacting/responding/having to constantly do something), and eventually clarity comes.

I'm currently content with not knowing on many levels. In that, I'm free to work on myself and as I do, I start knowing.

Ironically, before working a 12 step program I *knew* the answers to so much in my life. I thought I was right and I could bull-head my way through and make things work. Now I don't know about a lot of things, but I'm happier and more content than ever. It's just as counter-intuitive as everything else I've found about addictions and recovery.
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Old 10-08-2015, 03:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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oops -- typo. "comfortableness" should read uncomfortableness. Spell check doesn't like it.
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Old 10-08-2015, 05:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by KimsNotHome View Post
Hello,

I'm new here.

I've recently moved to LA from Vegas. I've been in a relationship with a man since he was a few months sober and we're going on 2 years. I moved a little over 3 months ago.

Back in March, he lost his first sponsee and proceeded to withdraw from me, entirely. He spiraled but remained sober. He attends at least 12 meetings a week and has a great sponsor and support group but when it came to me, he shut off for nearly a month. It was hard but we got through it.

Now, it seems we are in a similar situation. Before I moved - we discussed "the future," and measured whether or not we should remain in a relationship. (It's about a 4 hour drive) We decided that we would. We love each other and with my career finally taking a turn in a direction that forced me to move, eventually he would be open to joining me here if that's what were to happen. No pressure. Nothing set in stone.

I make it back to Vegas as much as I can - every couple of weeks or so. However, I've been very lonely here and my life went from a constant busy state to being alone in a new city with a much slower paced work environment and no network of friends. I have much more time than I ever have and have been doing my best to fill it with freelance jobs and volunteer work - but still, I have been feeling like I'm the least important thing to him.

I have been very patient, I think. I do not ask for much. I knew going into this that I would make more trips to Vegas than he would here and that's okay - but the little I do ask for is some effort... like I told him, "you can't do the bare minimum at work and expect to keep your job."

I'm afraid I've put pressure on and recently brought it up. I've been unhappy with the lack of attention I receive from him and it came up that he doesn't know what he wants - he doesn't know if he wants to be with me forever... when I know that's what I want.

I've gone through a world of emotions. I've been angry from feeling neglected. I've felt guilty for asking something of him. I've felt resentful of the time and attention he gives everyone but me. I've been sad that I can't fix this. I know that - truly - this is out of my hands... but I'm also walking around like a zombie and just wanting to make things better.

I feel like maybe he thinks we should break up but doesn't want to be the one to say it. It's the last thing I want. I know he's not neglecting me out of malice. I know he loves me. I just want to know what I can do or not do at this point.

Like I said, we've been through this kind of thing before. He shuts me off and all he can say, if I ask questions, is "I don't know."

I don't even know what I'm asking for in this forum. It helps to write it all out. Obviously I want this to work out but it's out of my hands so I guess ultimately I'm asking for people to listen. Has anyone been through this or something similar?

Thank you for reading.
Honesty and taking that first step is a good place to start.

If I were you I would take all the time you need and tell yourself there is no hurry to come to any final conclusions. Take your time and enjoy the process! Give yourself enough room to grow in life...it sounds like you are well on your way.

Remember: No rushing unless you feel like rushing and to thine own self be true!

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Old 10-09-2015, 01:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by keepingthefaith View Post
KimsNotHome,

Welcome to SR. I'm sorry for what brings you here, but glad you've found us.

^^^ Great advice on that post above. I'm in Alanon also, and it's been a life-saver for me.

Regarding that I don't know factor...

I've had many "I don't know" moments, especially with alcoholism in the family and my own recovery from that. So many times I really do. not. know. Then I work my program, take the next right action, sit & wait in the comfortableness (instead of reacting/responding/having to constantly do something), and eventually clarity comes.

I'm currently content with not knowing on many levels. In that, I'm free to work on myself and as I do, I start knowing.

Ironically, before working a 12 step program I *knew* the answers to so much in my life. I thought I was right and I could bull-head my way through and make things work. Now I don't know about a lot of things, but I'm happier and more content than ever. It's just as counter-intuitive as everything else I've found about addictions and recovery.

I'm glad you are happy and content. That's wonderful news. Keep on...
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Old 10-10-2015, 06:08 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The withdrawing, refusing to discuss issues and conflict, and the inability to articulate feelings ("I don't know") is a red flag, in my opinion. Either he is not far enough into recovery yet to be able to do those things - alcoholics are very immature emotionally - or he is just not able to emotionally connect period. Alcoholics drink for a reason. The drinking is just a symptom of a complicated problem. My soon to be ex husband has 23 years of sobriety. He is not capable of love or emotional closeness. He is very much into AA, sponsoring and the like. Claims he "lives the 12 steps" but I just don't see it in his life. It's like a part of him is shut off or was never there to begin with. I hope your boyfriend is not that way. I guess what I'm trying to say, is that sobriety does not fix everything, as you know. I would agree with dandylion's advice to back way off and see what happens. I'm sorry you are in this situation. I too am lonely and having a hard time in a new place. I just moved out yesterday and am waiting for the divorce papers. I can relate and hope you can work things out within yourself and find peace.
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