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Relationship With Former Opiates Addict.

Old 01-17-2012, 10:32 PM
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Relationship With Former Opiates Addict.

I'm 37 year old male with a history of caregiving and codependency. I got out of an abusive/codependent marraige seven years ago and have done a lot of work on myself in the meantime. Recently thought I was strong enough and ready to start living a bit more and look for the relationship I feel I deserve. Met someone nice, we get along good but I have some doubts and no-one else I can talk about this stuff without breaking the 'confessional seal' on our relationship - she confessed to me she used to be an opiates addict but hasn't used consistently for about seven months except for a brief relapse about three months ago.

She has a regular job and has broken off contact with her former drug-using associates. It turns out the guy she used to be with was also an addict and he's the one who introduced her; he was manipulative, abusive etc. I think she's a bit of a 'caretaker' too in that way, like me, or like I was, only now I'm looking after myself better and aware of what happens when all that caretaking of another person starts to happen.

I don't want to go down that road again, but I don't want to not give her a chance. She hasn't done anything wrong or lied as far as I'm aware or crossed any boundary. Still, it's like i'm waiting for it to happen and I'm worried I'll invest time, energy etc., and when I start to really care - bang!

So, am I being realistic? Can I really build a relationship with this kind of beginning, this kind of mutual history? I'm willing to try, but is there anyone else who has a similar experience with a positive outcome? I can't tell whether I've slipped back into caregiving mode without even noticing, or whether I'm genuinely right to hope the best for us and to believe in the best in this person.

This is kind of another question, but I also worry that the romantic/phisical side of our relationship might just be a substitute for her addiction. i get the feeling sometimes I'm just a partner in that way and not so much me, the person; but then that could just be my own insecurity?

I'd be keen to get some feedback on all this from people who've been in similar boats and know how addicts/codependency works.

God bless and Thanks. H
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:31 PM
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Well, let's see:

She is only 3 months clean

She really needs to 'focus' on her recovery, not a relationship.

Addicts, using or sober and clean can be great manipulators.

You are already anxious and stressing over this.

Might it not be better for YOUR peace and serenity to wait and find someone with less problems, and especially 'problems' that could 'trigger' your codependency.

I may be way out in left field, however, this just does not seem to be the right situation for you to get into.

J M H O based on my 30+ years of continuous recovery from alcohol and drugs, and 27+ years in Alanon working on my codependency issues, and lots of sponsoring over those years.

Love and hugs,
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Old 01-18-2012, 04:51 AM
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What Laurie said. Three months does not make for recovery. With your codependency issues, I'd stay away from a relationship that involves a person with addiction problems.
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Old 01-18-2012, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by laurie6781 View Post
Well, let's see:

She is only 3 months clean...
And that's IF she's telling you the truth.

CLMI
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Astrosmurf View Post
She has a regular job and has broken off contact with her former drug-using associates. It turns out the guy she used to be with was also an addict and he's the one who introduced her; he was manipulative, abusive etc. I think she's a bit of a 'caretaker' too in that way, like me, or like I was, only now I'm looking after myself better and aware of what happens when all that caretaking of another person starts to happen.

Sounds like she is not taking responsibility for her addiction.

I don't want to go down that road again, but I don't want to not give her a chance.

This is a contradiction. If you don't want to go down this road again, then don't.

She hasn't done anything wrong or lied as far as I'm aware or crossed any boundary.

Pursuing a relationship with someone who was using just 3 months ago sounds like a sure fire trigger for codependency. In recovery speak, you are rationalizing your own relapse into full-blown codependency. Yeah, I know this time will be different and all that.
Lots of red flags, here. It's no accident that you find yourself in this situation.
What boundaries do you have in place?
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:56 AM
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My 24 year old recovering opiate addict daughter for 2 years now, is not ready for a relationship yet. I know this and, even better, she knows this. She has a friend with benefits thing going on, is very honest about it, and that's all she can handle for now. It's all on her terms. She's still figuring out who she is, developing self awareness and acceptance. She's only recently begun to address codependency issues and that's a long road all by itself.

If you were my daughter's 'friend', I'd advise you to expect and hope for absolutely nothing, take a huge step back, and find a recovery program for your own well being. That's what I told the last guy, when he spilled his guts to me.
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Astrosmurf View Post
This is kind of another question, but I also worry that the romantic/phisical side of our relationship might just be a substitute for her addiction. i get the feeling sometimes I'm just a partner in that way and not so much me, the person; but then that could just be my own insecurity?
This is telling you that she's not really all the way into this relationship--for whatever reason. Does the reason reallyl matter, if she's not all into the relationship, you are going to get hurt.

It took you seven years to recover, can she really recover in 3 months, 90 days?

Think carefully about this.
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:51 AM
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It's hard to walk away from someone we love---do you love her?---if no crisis has forced us to.

I agree with all the above responses....yet you may not be able to make a calculated logical decision to end things absolutely and forever with her.

It's all right to postpone a relationship for six months or more and then to re-assess based on what has unfolded in that time. Personally I think she needs a full year of vigorous DAILY recovery (daily meetings, service work, weekly counseling) to prove, with sober work and personal progress, she is capable of a mature, committed, consistent, long-term relationship with all the usual work that also involves. (Relationships do take work as we all know well).

Can you postpone and drop a hello letter now and then and allow her time to set her recovery in some solid concrete?

If not, and if you drift along with her, it is likely you are going to find your life consumed with drama and pain.

Wishing you the best outcome for a stable, healthy life.
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Old 01-19-2012, 04:49 PM
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Yikes. Thanks guys, some hard but wise advice. In ansewr to OutToLunch, the boundaries I've stated are that if she ever uses again I'm walking without discussion; and if things don't stay monogomous I'm also gone. But lots more to think about there anyway.

In answer to English Garden, I feel like I'm falling in love with her right now but keep yanking my heart back because of this gut feeling I get that she's not really there in the same way. If it keeps on the way it is now I expect it'll die a natural death anyway as that's not what I want, though it'll be hard to leave her or back right off.

The biggest thing I get from this is that three months really isn't long enough - but the underlying things are being addressed by her in counselling. Still, you are right about all the red flags.
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Old 01-19-2012, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Astrosmurf View Post
The biggest thing I get from this is that three months really isn't long enough - but the underlying things are being addressed by her in counselling. Still, you are right about all the red flags.
Believe me when I say that "addressing" underlying issues in counseling is going to take a long time.

I am a recovering addict/alcoholic, and I've been in therapy/counseling off and on for the past 17 years.

The worst thing an addict can do early in recovery is get into a relationship. I know that one from personal experience. I eventually used/drank again, and was extremely fortunate in that I made it back into recovery. Many don't after relapsing.

At 3 months clean/sober, I couldn't even identify the feelings that I was having 99% of the time.

What I did find is that relationships "felt good", but boy did I set myself up in the end, and it was not worth the relapse. Relationships distracted me from the work at hand in my recovery.

Just my two cents.
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Old 01-19-2012, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Astrosmurf View Post
Yikes. Thanks guys, some hard but wise advice. In ansewr to OutToLunch, the boundaries I've stated are that if she ever uses again I'm walking without discussion; and if things don't stay monogomous I'm also gone. But lots more to think about there anyway.
Consider reframing this to a self affirming statement:

" I will not be in a relationship with anyone who uses drugs or cheats".

When and if you are confronted with such a situation, you take responsibility for your boundary and exit.
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Old 01-19-2012, 07:29 PM
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Thanks Freedom1990 it sounds like you've hit the nail on the head with what's happening in our situation; I couldn't put my finger on it but that has quite a ring of truth to it. She does have trouble articulating how she feels. I'm a distraction for her and she's someone I'm caretaking/projecting onto. I'll have to talk with her about it and will perhaps employ EnglishGarden's practical ideas or something like that. I don't want to jeopordise her recovery.

Cheers OutToLunch - I'll practice doing that self affirming, wasn't aware how much I'd flipped it over to the other person.
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