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Envelope 09-12-2009 02:45 AM

Need help & clarity
Last night I wrote my story for over an hour and somehow deleted it? I was furious!!!!!
So I have attempted to start again, so please excuse the long mail, but would appreciate if anyone will take the time to read my story?

I am very new here, and decided that apart from joining Nar Alon I would join this site - so please excuse my ignorance and lack of a better word, confusion in my situation, but here goes....

I met my boyfriend only 5 months ago - on a dating site (something he and I had done for the first time) and shortly after joining he contacted me and I agreed to meet him - we hit if off from the word go! He was extremly honest of his recovery from addition to Alcohol and Drugs and he has been clean for 9months now.

He holds honesty very close and we spoke in great lenghths his life story and communication was the key. We developed a close bond and apart from being lovers we are great friends. He bought me the AA book as I was reading all of his books and to aid me with more in formation he send me the link for Al anon and Nar Alon groups. We looked at the meetings in the area together and decided which ones I should go to.

We went on holiday and spoke of a future in marriage, children, family (of which he had very little of growing up) and finances. He was the perfect partner. Cooked cleaned and even did ironing!! Wow what more can us girls ask for.?? He loved my dogs, bathed them and we took walks on the beach. My family has not met him yet (they live in another city) but every time my mom called he would chat to her. We visited a few of my family members that live here, and well he got the thumbs up!

I felt that I didn t need to discuss his recovery to my family as I wanted them to get to the know the person and fall in love with him, as I did.

As soon as he started his Step 4 I noticed a change in his demina. He became withdrawn, didnt make much contact on the phone and started distancing himself. He stopped staying over at my place and seeing eachother became minimal. I felt that I would give him his space and let him be and thought he needed a week and would snap back into it again.

The 3rd week went by and no change. I decided that I should end it. It was very hard but I knew that the stress and responsibility to focus on our relationship created turmoil in his head. Asking a few times whether he was ready for a relationship was something he was skirting around, but he felt he could continue.

In my reading I discovered that "they say" a recovering addict should not be in a relationship in their first year of sobriety. I was devistated and had no alternative but to make the descsion myself for him too, and end it.He agreed and said that he could see I was hurting (and of course in Step 4 is taking a moral inventory of oneself and list the hurt and harm you brought to people in your life as an addict)

We loved eachother very much, but even the last 3 weeks, he couldnt even say those words. It hurt very much and and I couldnt understand what had changed. He wasnt the same person.

We keep in contact 3 times a week - its really coming from my side. Right from the start I said that I would stand by him no matter what and look at what I have done! I made it clear to him from the outset that he has the problem, he can only help himself and that I was proud of his achievements for wanting a better life.

He has no self esteem. He doesnt believe he is perfect and good enough for me anymore. And what ever I tell him he takes with a pinch of salt. He says he sometimes feels like running away too?

When he hit rock bottom last year (after being caught drunk and driving on a few occasions and facing a possible jail sentance or community service in 2 months time) he drove himself to rehab and checked in for 1 month. He attends AA and NA meetings weekly, 5 meetings to be exact and has a sponsor.

I dont understand this. He has been using for 10 years, held a great job travelled for business, bought a place, continued paying his policies and has almost finished paying off his car!! This is amazing. This was the deciding factor in persuing the realtionship. His head is was screwed on even when he was drunk, high and looking for prostitutes for oral sex.

I never knew him during his addiction. I certainly would nt look twice at him then. Im not prued and Im in the entertainment business so I see this kind of thing all the time, I just choose not to include it in my personal space.

I have contined to go to Nar Alon, today is my 3rd meeting and Im greatful for the support. I am hoping you can support me too, and maybe share your experiences with me. Getting a better insight will help me know what he might be going through.

I love him, and that's why I had to let him go. I dont want to loose him but Im wondering what he spoke about and shared in the reationship was it all a lie?

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

imallright 09-12-2009 04:21 AM

IMO... you are both doing what is best. Taking care of yourselves. If you end up together and you have both made the committment first to yourself.... great. If not... then as difficult as it might be, trust that it wasn't meant for the two of you to be together. Living with an addict is not an easy life. Most of us on here can tell you that deciding to "stand by him no matter what"... while well intended and loving... won't make him sober and can make you crazy. Please know that I say that with kindness and care. Please "stand by YOU no matter what".

Glad you decided to join us here... many will be along to offer support. Welcome.

Envelope 09-12-2009 04:55 AM

Thankyou for replying imallright. Im listening to my head but the heart does creep in.

I pray every day in the hope his psychologist, he started going to a week ago, will help his healing. Its funny, I have so much faith in his doctor and his step work that it could lead us to walk on the same side of the road.

Thank you again

laurie6781 09-12-2009 05:57 AM


Welcome to Sober Recovery. You have found a GREAT place with lots of Experience, Strength and Hope (ES&H) from folks who have been where you are or are where you are right now.

I do believe you are both doing the 'correct' actions for right now. The Fourth Step, while working on it, can be a very painful step for an addict (I know it was for me.) Digging up the wreckage of the past can put one in a very 'down' mood. However, once the 4th step is completed and the 5th step of sharing with a trusted person (sponser, clergyman, psych dr, etc) the relief that follows is immense.

Sounds like he is working very hard on his recovery and that is a good thing.

The saying is "no major changes the first year." Yes, it does include getting into or out of a relationship. The reasoning behind this is that in the first year the addict really NEEDS to focus only on themselves.

I would suspect that as he continues to move forward, your 'relationship' may also move forward and get back to where y'all were.

Just the fact that you are willing to step back and did will go a long way. If you two re meant to be together, when he gets further along in his step work it will happen.

In the meantime, please keep posting and let us know how you are doing as we do care very much.

Love and hugs,

URMYEVERYTHING 09-12-2009 07:52 AM

WOW! Your story sounds exactly like mine other than my addict had 5 years sober when I met him and then relapsed 6 months after we met. As you read on my other posts, we were in a full relationship before his relapse and I got the chance to see a functional man working his recovery. Of course, in hindsight, 2 months prior to his relapse came the behaviors I didn't know would lead to a relapse.

I love the man I fell in love with also but even with him having 5 years sober and this recent relapse, I know I have to step back for now. I'm realistic that our relationship won't even be able to pick up to where it was until possibly a year from now. So, you did the right thing to let him go for now and work on his recovery. See how he does... give him time... and see how he works his recovery. He more than likely pulled away knowing he shouldn't get involved within the first year of recovery.

Best of Luck. Keep coming back... there is tons of support here. :)

hello-kitty 09-12-2009 08:16 AM

"If you love something set it free. If it comes back to you it's yours. If it doesn't it never was in the first place."

Do you know the 3 Cs? You didn't cause it. You cant control it. You can't cure it.

Neither saying makes the hurt feelings go away but they are both so true.

I'm glad you found this site. I hope you will keep reading and posting.

rose 09-12-2009 09:21 AM

Welcome to SR, a place with tons of support. Sorry to hear of the difficult times you are having with, it is hard I know. You must be a very strong and understanding person to have been able to back away. Step 4 is a tough one, I only speak from my own experience with it through al-anon. The addict in my life was my husband and he never got to step 4, so I haven't experienced a loved one in this level.

I dealt with my exah addiction for 6 years,I had alot of eye openers juring this time and things that I thought were going on were just the opposite. My husband was in a treatment center and was facing being removed. He said that he was just wanting alone time and sitting by himself, for this they were going to remove him. I thought how nuts is that, seems normal to me to just want some alone time, what kind of place are you in. The problem is and was, it is a typical trait of relapse, distancing and removing themselves. We think relaspe is using, but it starts before that with their behavour.

I am not saying this is what if happening, I really have no idea, but it is something to take a better look at. Like I said, I haven't experience someone going through step 4.

I am sure others will be along who have had more experience with their partner on Step 4.


URMYEVERYTHING 09-12-2009 09:37 AM

Originally Posted by hello-kitty (Post 2362915)
"If you love something set it free. If it comes back to you it's yours. If it doesn't it never was in the first place."


Give it some time and see what he does with the remaining months in his first year. Possibly not dating for now but remaining friends can be an option. You can still remain a support to him without enabling him.

Envelope 09-12-2009 11:27 AM

Wow!! Thank you to all for replying, I am overwhelmed with the responses!!

I have just returned from my 3rd Nar Alon meeting and feel energized!! I have decided not to call him, as I usually do after my meeting, to tell him what I have learned and share. This was a tough call, but Im sticking to it.

I have been thinking alot (which Im sure all of you do) about my reasons for persuing the relationship in the begining. Apart from his honesty, I mentioned that he had kept a level head by maintaing his job, paying the bills etc... while using. So the core of this man shows me strength and some common sence, right? Until today at my meeting, I chatted to another Nar Alon member and she said that he was a functional addict. For some reason I took about 10 steps back.

Some can function and others cant. Just because he could function didnt mean that his problem is not so serious. I have been saying to myself that at least he was maitaining, but it is a behavioural thing???

URMYEVERYTHING: You said that you experienced behaviour changes in a fuctional man before his relapse?? This is what i was seeing during his recovery!!

Laurie: Thank you for your usefull input on the 4th Step. You have encouraged me to feel that I did the right thing - but Im sure doubt will come and go still. But I wanted to ask you; staying focused in your 1st year kind of baffels me so maybe Im missing the boat?
He registered on the dating website
He wrote to me 1st
He asked to meet for coffee
He followed up to meet again
He wanted me to meet his dad and brothers
He spoke about the future together
He spoke about moving together
He insisted to take me away for a holiday, which he paid for
He was thinking of joining me on a trip to visit my folks
He told me that he loved me

Was everything a lie? Can I trust what he represtented?

What happens when there is a married couple and one partner is going through similiar things as my partner? Do they end the marriage just because they say the 1st year is when the recovery addict needs to focus??

hello-kitty 09-12-2009 12:31 PM

Was everything a lie? Can I trust what he represtented?
I don't know. Probably he meant what he said when he said it (you know guys). But he's sick. He's an addict. Addicts don't love themselves. And you have to love yourself first before you can truly love someone else.

(((hugs))) questions like that can make you crazy.

And AA does not make the recommendation that you end your marriage. It only makes the recommendation that you don't enter relationships in your first year of recovery. Addicts have this crazy tendency to transfer their addictions to anything. And new relationships can be so distracting and all consuming sometimes. It takes the focus off recovery. And without recovery, there can be nothing.

Envelope 09-13-2009 03:09 AM

Mmmm, you (Hellokitty) have said it. You cant love others if you cant love yourself.
He really has a low self esteem and nothing I have said made a difference.

He is attractive - and he disagrees
He is observant (when we went shopping, he saw me look at a neckless, so the following day he went back and bought it :day6
He would arrived with flowers behind his back
He would invite me on "dates" and cook dinner for me
He always made me tea in bed
He would buy me chocolates etc...

Im confused sometimes but hanging in... Thank you for writting to me!!

sleepygoat 09-13-2009 05:43 AM

Try not to figure everything out - they sometimes call that "analysis-paralysis" - and that's just what it does. Becomes an obsession. The 'no relationship' rule is a guideline actually. it'n not written in stone, in fact it's not written at all. It's an oral tradition in NA and AA. If he stays clean, revisit this after he celebrates his 1st year clean. Make a decision to NOT make a decision until then! If he is staying clean and working steps with a sponsor, you may have found a truly clean addict. No guarantees even then - relapse is still common, but not nearly as common as with those who don't go to meeting, have a sponsor, and work steps. BTW, I have heard the statistic from some reliable research group or other) that if an addict reached the 1 year clean mark in a 12 step recovery program, the odds of staying clean are 50/50. Prior to reaching the first year mark, they are lower than that, and after the 1st year, they get better and turn in favor of the addict staying clean. So the longer one is clean in recovery the better the odds they will stay that way. Just something else to consider. I wouldn't even think about marriage until those odds are solidly in favor of recovery (sometime after he celebrates year 2). But I don't mean to have you projecting on the future either! not easy, is it?:react

URMYEVERYTHING 09-13-2009 07:02 AM

Originally Posted by Envelope (Post 2363104)

URMYEVERYTHING: You said that you experienced behaviour changes in a fuctional man before his relapse?? This is what i was seeing during his recovery!!

From my experiences, I have learned that when I see these behaviors while recovering and/or not using, then I need to stay far away as I know a relapse is on the horizon or he simply isn't working his recovery program as he should. The biggest factor for an addict to relapse is the guilt associated with an addiction. If he's unable to overcome this feeling of guilt and shame and find peace, he will start to exhibit the same behaviors that make him an addict.

I know it's tough but addicts have to realize that it's just not about staying clean from the substance but a complete personality, purpose, behavior, people, places and thing change. That's one hellavu change when you think about it. This is why I have a insurmountable respect for addicts that have years and years of sobriety. When you think about it, how hard would it be for you as the co-addict to make those changes. I struggle everyday with it. But I haven't fallen off the wagon yet. :scoregood

URMYEVERYTHING 09-13-2009 07:07 AM

Originally Posted by Envelope (Post 2363827)
He is attractive - and he disagrees
He is observant (when we went shopping, he saw me look at a neckless, so the following day he went back and bought it :day6
He would arrived with flowers behind his back
He would invite me on "dates" and cook dinner for me
He always made me tea in bed
He would buy me chocolates etc...

Im confused sometimes but hanging in... Thank you for writting to me!!

My RBF did the same thing. He would give me his kidney if he had to when sober. But when using, he was the most selfish and detached person you could imagine. It was hurtful. Addiction completely changed my man to this donkey butt (LOL) that I never figured would enter my life.

As we talked and became closer I started recognizing little comments he would make about his appearance and little comments about how he should be a better person, etc. I was always taken back because he is attractive and he was a good person and great father when sober. I always looked at him like, "Are you kidding me?"

He does have to be happy with himself. Like I said in the above post, shame and guilt, are the biggest monkeys on the addicts back which lowers self esteem even more. If they can't get them off, they will struggle with overcoming their addiction.

Envelope 09-14-2009 12:01 PM

This past weekend has kept me glued to this site and I must admit great therapy.

The saying is "you always give great advice but never take your own.." How true.

I had a quiet weekend and didnt do much. I was thinking about Mark and was tempted to call or sms, but didnt. And then, my phone got a message last night and it was him!! Well I was so pleased even though he asked how my weekend was and he was chilling at home. And then he wished me a great evening... Uh? Whats up with that??

Then Im thinking well he thought of me, Im so lucky :whoop

Im feeling like I'm not sure what to do. Call him and say listen, I am here as a friend and keep the line of communication open, the hope he knows Im still interested?
I often think how unfair an addicts life is. Just because they are the way they are doesnt mean they shouldnt have the same priveldges has "normal" people in relationships. Even "normal" people have their fair share of issues, right??

I have read that some of you feel that you should run to the hills if a recovering addict enters your life? They need a fair chance in experiencing a healthy relationship too, right???

Im feeling a little lost and maybe I need more than patience? Any advice guys??

hello-kitty 09-14-2009 12:22 PM

Call him and say listen, I am here as a friend and keep the line of communication open, the hope he knows Im still interested?
Envelope, obviously he knows the lines of communication are open or he wouldn't have called you in the first place right?

This is a good time to review your personal values and your personal boundaries. Assess reality. And then give it some time. You can always call him tomorrow or the next day. In the meantime, I think it would be good to try to think of something that you can do just for you. That doesn't involve him. And then do it.


Envelope 09-14-2009 12:40 PM

Too late, called him...:c033: It was nice chatting about all sorts of things. Actually he didnt answer and then called back!! YAY

I reinterated that I am here, and I know I have said it before. And that 1st and foremost we are friends and that there is no expectations. So he thanked me and seemed appreciative.

He was interested in my weekend and what i got up to (which I liked the fact he was genuinely interested..) I asked how the Step work is going and he and the sponsor have been working hard at it. I did say that I missed him - his response was, its hard he knows, but he is in a good space now and is pretty balanced. He is just working at recovering and wants to set an good example to his brothers and father (they are gamblers and alcholocs too) He called the clinic and asked if he could be on the rotation roster to share in the hope to help others too. He is amazing and so unselfish!!

Then I reminded him that he still has a few things at my place. He said he wasnt in a rush for them. It makes me feel that he asnt closed the door on me or us - he has just put a door stopper on for now...

I also told him that I have been on this site most of the weekend and he was pretty chuffed and that I went to my Nar Alnon meeting over the weekend. I hope this shows him how commited I am in understanding his disease...

Lets see...

So things are indefinate between us
It was a good chat and ended that he would call me later this week. I

Envelope 09-14-2009 01:02 PM

AVILHEAD Yup I made the 1st steps to discuss the relationship and then we agreed that it would be best to give it a break. Once he is stronger and ready he is in the hope that I will still be around...

I understand that they have the choice, but when a young boy of 10 years old has no parent to model good values and a crap upbringing its a little difficult to know what is right or wrong. The 1st few years of a childs growth is so easily influenced and when his parents were out drinking he was left to his own devices. Secondly, when he wanted to "try" the drinks his parents were drinking at their house parties they encouraged it. They thought it was funny to see their 10 year old throwing up in the living room because he had too much to drink is certainly not a choice a 10 year old can make.

Please excuse me if I seem on the defensive side, but he certainly didnt have the understanding about life and the choices that are made which has effected his young adult life. I understand that this is a disease - a hereditory one. So your chances are 50/50. He started too early and he was caught in a web.

In fairness, yes maybe I am reading too much between the lines, but I have ceratinly been realistic in the descion for the good of him. If I didnt take the step then he and I would be in a different predicament now...

I have not had to deal with an addict in my life before and was taken back when this wonderful man came into my life. Now I am here to understand and confirm my actions and understand what might have been going on in his head...

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