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Alcoholics and Obsessive Love

Old 02-06-2017, 09:42 AM
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Alcoholics and Obsessive Love

Has anyone experienced this with the A in their life? It never occurred to me that the alcoholic in my life while not drinking, still exhibits addictive behavior that can mask itself as addictive love. Can an alcoholic truly ever be sober from booze if addictions just hop around to other subjects? My guess is no. So long as something else is there.

He jokingly likes to say that he is obsessed with me. But he says it in a way that has some seriousness behind it. So much so that he has said "no really, I am obsessed with you like I need to probably see a therapist about it. It isn't healthy". I typically laugh at off and I understand people say things like this (kind of like the 'oh im so OCD! when they aren't actually ridden with the disorder), but I do wonder if they ever truly recover so long as they are putting their "addiction" somewhere else, even with love.
We have been together for almost two years, enough so that I would imagine the honeymoon stage should be in slow down mode - at least for me it has but in a very natural way. I understand obsessive love in the beginning when you can't think straight because you are "love struck", but after two years it has never felt slowed down for him. Whether it be messages or declarations or calls even when I have a tough work day ahead of me and explain that. I suppose an addict is an addict even when it comes to love or any other "substance" . Am I attached to him too? You betcha. It just feels a bit more balanced and comfortable vs. what is he doing and thinking every second of the day.

Before meeting me he maintained two years of alcohol sobriety during which I would have characterized him as a sex addict (he was highly sexually active and seemed to stay away from booze during this time, ironically as a codie, I too exhibited some characteristics of sex addiction myself prior to meeting him). Then we met and it's almost as if he needed to transfer the addiction onto me to keep away from alcohol and casual sex. Mind you, I didn't. My own experiences and feelings of casual sex dissipated completely and I was satisfied and no longer craved that attention from really anything at that point except a normal relationship with him, one person. Perhaps this is because I am not what you would call an addict, I simply saw some slight characteristics during this time in my life.

During a year of our relationship as some of you may know he headed back into alcohol addiction and also cheated on me during times when I was not available as he needed. The cheating would happen when I could not get together or had to travel, same with the drinking. As though he needed something to get by when I (the addiction) was not present.

Anyhow, I understand the unhealthiness attached to the relationship but what I am most curious about is the dual addiction, or more specifically, your relationship with the alcoholic in your life and if he/she ever seemed to exhibit addiction to you (the codie) while struggling with substance. I actually believe the alcoholic in my life is addicted to me and it is what helps him take his focus off of booze or other things. He has not taken a drink in over a month and living in a sober house and hitting meetings, but again, is he truly recovering when admittedly has an addiction toward me? The preoccupation with me seems to grab his attention more than anything in his life (even his son). While I love and care for him, I feel okay on days we aren't together or when I am focused on work and do not feel distracted by missing him even though I do. It just feels more balanced for me I suppose and I am able to compartmentalize (ie. I am solely thinking of work and deadlines but nothing else, even him).

How did you handle your role in that part of recovery from all addiction, not just alcohol? Does AA reach to the root behind just avoiding the physical drink? I would imagine he himself first needs to acknowledge as he said before, that this too is not healthy and tugs from the same core as the drink craving.
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Old 02-06-2017, 10:01 AM
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My XABF suffered from cross-addictions. For awhile, yes, while he was briefly not-drinking he displayed codependent behavior towards me as well.

I handled my role in that part of his recovery the same way I handled all the others; by accepting that I had no role in his recovery.
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Old 02-06-2017, 11:06 AM
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Yep. This is why it is so hard to get away from them. We are addicted to intensity.

I vividly remember XAH flying across the ocean just to spend Holidays with me, and me having to pry him off me when loading him on a plane. He cried like a baby.
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Old 02-06-2017, 11:28 AM
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I guess it depends on how you define "addictions". My EX had an addictive personality. She grew up around addictions. Her parents were addicts. She smoked pot at 13. Pot her mom gave her. To keep her quiet so she could turn tricks for more drug money.

I used to try and shield her from that life. It was all she knew. She said, "All I need is a stable good valued man and to feel loved" and I'll be a better person. And to be fair, my ex had made a lot better life for herself as an adult. However she dated addictive type men. Lots of them. And she knew it was pulling her life down the tubes. Yet she couldn't leave them alone. She was constantly trying to stir up something concerning them.

She wasn't her mom, at the point where we met. I let that be her past and not her future. But I watched her start to become her mom the longer I was with her. Her mom was a stunning woman, with great talents that were all taken by addictions. Also an attention seeking Narcissist.

I poured all of my efforts into showing her that I was those. But in the end, she was more addicted to the attraction of the lifestyle that fed addictions. Had I known in the beginning what I learned by the end, I could have shielded her differently. But by that time, I was a beaten man. Beaten enough that she could theorize it was OK to go back to what she knew was best for her.

It was far easier for her (them) to lie, cheat, manipulate, and live an addictive life, than to find peace in any other kind of life.

Some days I feel sorry for her. Even still. After 2 years....I still say, She is an addict and she will bear that demon for life. 99% of the days I remind myself that she will reap what she sows and how grateful I am to not have to deal with it.

Recently, I discovered, she has learned that I am happily dating a nice woman.

One whom I have already introduced to my family, something I never felt comfortable doing with her. One for whom I show great comfort in being around. I obviously am not embarrassed by being in public with her, etc. All the things we never had when we were together. I wonder sometimes if she is just trying to check to see if I'm miserable now or what. I was miserable with her, she was miserable with me. I have no idea what her current life is like.

But sometimes, not often, but sometimes. when I'm in a nurturing place in my life, I feel sorry for her. I loved the woman with all I could once upon a time. And yes I can look back on it now and say, I should have never been with her. But I still remember she had good qualities that I hope she can find peace sometime with. So that others in her life can be at peace around her. She was hugely talented in so many ways. She had a rough beginning in life. I was going to save her. *sigh*.....So naive I was.

Then when I get whiff of her trying to nose into my business, I quickly get over that nurturing feeling. I want her to be as far away from me as I can.

When my ex said some woman was searching her on Facebook (my heart sank when it was my ex doing the searching), I first thought I will try and do harm to her if she tries to make a mess of my life now. Then I realize that there isn't much I can do about what people can find when they look and that she was the one that was miserable not me.

I don't have Facebook so I had to ask how much someone can see. My G/F said she can't see any details unless I allow her too. So I feel somewhat comforted that all she can do is wonder.

But the timing coincides with my seeing her daughter drive by my house. Out of the Blue. No reason to be here. I live in a quiet neighborhood and my street has no reason to be traveled unless you live here or go to the school nearby. I totally think her mom told her to do so to snoop around for her.

But instead of feeling paranoid I simply said to myself, I hope you found what you need and can leave a me alone now.
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Old 02-06-2017, 11:44 AM
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Yep. My ex and I were both addicted to each other. It's really common to see cross addiction. I've read a lot about addicts/alcoholics joining multiple 12 step programs. I myself infrequently attend a few programs. I would diagnose myself as a love addict, and I'd consider him one as well. He often said we had a deeper love than he had experienced, which of course was due to his narcissism/alcoholism and my codependency, because if you look outside of that we literally had like 2 things in common. Not really the foundation for a long lasting love.
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Old 02-06-2017, 12:27 PM
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In AA it's called "trading up addictions." When alcoholics quit drinking they typically seek out other substances, people, anything to stop feelings. Food, money, sex, excessive exercise, you name it. Don't take it personally
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Old 02-07-2017, 06:11 AM
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You know, I get the tendency to analyze everything. I'm a world-class overthinker, too.

But there comes a time when analysis is paralysis and from an outsider perspective, you're past that point by a considerable distance.

I also wonder if his "addiction" to you isn't the tiniest bit gratifying to your ego? Especially since his history is being essentially unavailable...he's still married, right? Add in his history of cheating...

You're the only one who can decide when enough is enough.
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Old 02-07-2017, 10:42 AM
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but what I am most curious about is the dual addiction, or more specifically, your relationship with the alcoholic in your life and if he/she ever seemed to exhibit addiction to you (the codie) while struggling with substance. I actually believe the alcoholic in my life is addicted to me and it is what helps him take his focus off of booze or other things.
I'm a recovering alcoholic (25 years) and I had a very unhealthy codependent relationship with another recovering alcoholic that resulted in enormous pain. All I can say is thank god for Alanon. Once I overheard a guy say: "I'm in so many 12 Step programs I'm surprised I only have two parents." It's more common than not.
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Old 02-07-2017, 11:28 AM
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Am I attached to him too? You betcha. It just feels a bit more balanced and comfortable vs. what is he doing and thinking every second of the day.

you might wanna give that above statement another look.......nothing described heretofor sounds anything like what a balanced and comfortable person would do. in fact, you've done a great job of analyzing HIS every flaw and shortcoming, with details of his drunken vomit spewing, soil himself action. HIS cheating, HIS addiction, now HIS obsession.

all circles back around to the fact that YOU choose him over and over and over again.

why. that is the real question.
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Old 02-07-2017, 01:41 PM
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I don't know why...aries - I don't feel an ounce of ego gratification from the obsessive type of love. I am drowning in love from my family and friends so not lacking it and using it from him. I simply feel overwhelmed by it and perhaps even burdened in a sense because there is a part of me that feels controlled by it. If someone is constantly praising you and bombarding you with declarations of love on a constant basis it can feel like a big cross to carry. Almost as though you are left without room to slow it down or react to anything else. Think about it...how do you bring the relationship back down to earth and its obvious flaws when you are getting reinforcement of some kind of perfection of who you are. Maybe my brain interprets it as "look how much this person is enamored by you....why would you do anything to disrupt that and spoil that idea"...

And yes I agree Anvil...on all counts this is my issue, not his. I continue to struggle in my life around feeling underwater by the expectations of others. I traveled to see some friends a couple of weekends ago and he was so upset by my absence that he actually told me not to bother to contact him when I arrive there (something he always asks me to do to make sure I got there safely). I felt punished in a sense. He later called and explained it was because I told a white lie the day before (something silly that I fibbed about but made him say what else could I be capable of lying about - ie. an affair, etc.), but again, the issue is with me....why do I constantly allow myself to be servant to things that make me feel uncomfortable. Even when I am busy at work and cannot talk I find myself apologizing when he seems upset by my lack of response. He understands that I can't always talk at work but he will make comments that I have "changed", when really....I just need to time to work because my job is high stress.

As you say, in the end I will have to decide when the bad is too much to even justify the good moments.
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Old 02-07-2017, 01:48 PM
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The next question then becomes why are you still doing this?

I'm not a big fan of Dr. Phil, but he's right when he says, "People do what works for them." You're going on three years in this situation, IIRC...and it's a situation that by any objective measure is a horror show.

So...what is it about it that works for you?
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Old 02-08-2017, 12:29 PM
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If someone is constantly praising you and bombarding you with declarations of love on a constant basis

one could STOP LISTENING. he isn't putting shackles around your ankles and forcing you to listen. you CHOOSE to keep listening. you CHOOSE not to change. you LET him "control" you by responding.

how do you bring the relationship back down to earth and its obvious flaws

you don't. it IS flawed, constructed of two unhealthy personalities who feed off of each other. and it will NEVER be a healthy, normal, constructive relationship. it will remain tainted and toxic.

you can make this all stop by simply saying NO.

but you won't.

why?
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:04 PM
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I simply feel overwhelmed by it and perhaps even burdened in a sense because there is a part of me that feels controlled by it. If someone is constantly praising you and bombarding you with declarations of love on a constant basis it can feel like a big cross to carry. Almost as though you are left without room to slow it down or react to anything else. Think about it...how do you bring the relationship back down to earth and its obvious flaws when you are getting reinforcement of some kind of perfection of who you are. Maybe my brain interprets it as "look how much this person is enamored by you....why would you do anything to disrupt that and spoil that idea"...
Just to play Devil's Advocate let me point out that MY reaction to what you describe above is the exact opposite of what you say your feelings are about it all.

Attention like this sets off my radar in a big way - it makes me feel the exact opposite of loved & adored & puts my defenses up Big Time. It makes me feel like it's not about *me* at all & that it's all about what that other person is making up inside their head - it's not Reality. It's creepy & makes me feel like a pawn in a game; not a Real Person.

In the situation you describe, my instinct would be to put distance between myself & this person; I would intentionally "disrupt or spoil the idea" because I find it to be emotionally manipulative. Just another perspective - what you are experiencing isn't the "norm" for all of us. ((((Hugs))))
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Old 02-08-2017, 02:10 PM
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My XAH has a very addictive personality. He is and will always be addicted to many things. It's his chemical and mental makeup. He becomes almost OCD about some of those addictions.

Many people believe that the addictive personality is a huge part of what leads a person to substance abuse, and I don't disagree.
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Old 02-08-2017, 03:45 PM
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Smarie, I'll be honest. I scanned your post, but after the first paragraph I had one dominant thought that obliterated the rest: Who cares if he's addicted to you? It sounds like, that despite your protestations, you're addicted to HIM.

Think about it...how do you bring the relationship back down to earth and its obvious flaws when you are getting reinforcement of some kind of perfection of who you are.
I wouldn't make the effort to bring the relationship down to earth. Like FireSprite, this would set off so many alarm bells in my head I'd bail out as quickly as possible. And you yourself articulate the reasons why...

I simply feel overwhelmed by it and perhaps even burdened in a sense because there is a part of me that feels controlled by it.
What you describe isn't a relationship, it's a prison.

And here comes the 2x4.

Would you seriously want this man, this alcoholic cheater, to be the father of your children? A man who already has abandoned his own wife and child? Are you so desperate to tick off the boxes that you're willing to risk your own children's mental health and well-being to do that? You may say to us that you wouldn't seriously consider having him a father, but your actions are telling a completely different story. Every day you spend thinking about him and his problems is a day committed to fixing him up to be Fantasy Father that you want him to be. But the odds of actually achieving that are pretty low. And he isn't even divorced yet, right? He's got another family to do right by.

You look at your friends' social media feeds seething with jealousy over the families they have, but you stay stuck in your Cave of Him and You.

So many other members on this site were blindsided. Their partners were extremely crafty at hiding the issue. The truth unfortunately trickled out drip by drip. You have been extremely lucky. Your A has shown you who he actually is. Take that and run.
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