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Hurt feelings over his making amends to ex

Old 03-02-2012, 10:02 AM
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Hurt feelings over his making amends to ex

Hi - I am new to this website and am hoping that what I have read and some insight from people here can help me deal with my feelings regarding the step for making amends.

I have been with my BF for 9 years. He was a recovering addict (heavy duty pills, cocaine, alcohol) when I met him (he had seven years clean and sober at that point, I think). We have had A LOT of ups and downs in those nine years but I attributed it mostly to two people trying to make a relationship for themselves. Things were getting steadily worse though. He was lying about work, couldnt seem to get or hold a steady job, money issues, he spent a lot of time "unavailable" to answer his cell, then when he was home he was mopey, grumpy and slept A LOT. I thought he was fighting a major bout of depression because even clean, life didnt seem to be going his way.

I found out seven months ago, by finding the paraphernalia, that he was smoking pot, a lot. He only admitted to doing it for a couple of years, but I believe it was longer, maybe even the entire time we have been dating. he lied to me, to my face, so convincingly, several times, before I caught him red-handed and he finally admitted. He knows that I am totally anti-drugs, especially for him, being a recovering addict. In my gut, I think he minimized it, and that I still dont know the whole truth. He says he didnt want to lose me, and didnt want to have me nagging him about it, it was just an experiment to see if it would help his migraines.. etc. All rubbish and now my trust in anything he says has been decimated. I thought we had actually built something in those nine years and now I have to face that it was built on a lie of him want to keep me strung along, and convenient, without having to give up his new habit.

Because I outed him to his family though, he did get back into a 12 step program and I can say that he does seem to be doing better. He has been very attentive and seems to be trying to be more honest. Its hard to know exactly what is truth is though and what I just want to believe, so that I can have hope that our relationship will survive. As it stands, I am not married to the guy, I dont live with him, I only see him for a few hours 3 or 4 days a week after work. I love the guy but our relationship never deepened to something more substantial because it just never seemed to be on the agenda for either of us and very convenient for him. But now I am thinking that I would like to have a real relationship, a normal one, but I am not sure that it can be with him, now that I know what I know.

I feel very unsure about a lot of things now, and how I should handle it. I dont want to seem like one of those crazy over jealous controlling girl friends just because I have lost trust in him, when he honestly seems to be trying to make the 12 steps work. I would like to think, maybe, he is really getting himself back on track and I sincerely want to be a support to him, and I hold back on a lot of my more extreme feelings because I dont think they would help either of us at this point.

Here is my biggest problem to date though that I have been struggling with and its overwhelming me because of the hurt and what I feel is a lack of respect for me and for our relationship... the amends that he wants to make, feels he needs to make... to people from his past. He feels that his previous cocaine addiction was far more harmful to his parents and his then girlfriend then the little bit of pot-smoking he has done recently. Though he admits that he caused me hurt, he feels what he did to others is far more substantial and more in need of immediate action and so he is starting his amends by visiting his ex-girlfriend of 15 years ago, who is still single, who lives three hours away, whom he has maintained a relationship (of friendship) all this time, and claims that he still loves her, but only as a friend, who he feels saved his life by helping him through his cocaine addiction years ago

I have always known about her and always been a little jealous of her. She was with him for seven years and I think there are still "feelings" there. Why is she the first he has to make amends to? he says his sponsor gave him the order, random names out of a hat sort of thing?

But it has hurt me that 1. he is compelled to drive all the way out to see her face to face for things that happened 15 years ago, without a thought as to how it may affect the feelings of his current girlfriend, and 2. am I being selfish by thinking that maybe he should have talked to me first, since I am the current and most involved in his life right now? I KNOW that he has to make amends where he feels the need is, and I dont begrudge him that, but couldnt he have just called her? why does he literally have to go and see her, and hurt my feelings in the process? I thought amends wasnt supposed to cause additional harm? I have not said too much about it to him other than I know he has to do what he has to do, but that this girlfriend in particular I have jealousy for (mostly because he cant seem to let her go). Part of me feels that this may also be part of his lies, trying to cover up feelings he still has for her in the guise of having to make amends.

Am I being overly paranoid/controlling here. Is this really how its done and I need to just be quiet and let it go and let him do his thing? Has anyone one else had to deal with the amends issue and ex'es?

Can someone who has gone through this give me some insight please? I do go to Al anon and from what I get there, I should act as if nothing is amiss here, but why should I invalidate the hurt that his actions are causing me? I dont get it.
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by crystafur View Post

But now I am thinking that I would like to have a real relationship, a normal one, but I am not sure that it can be with him, now that I know what I know.
Have you considered trusting your gut-that perhaps there's too much water under this bridge- that you deserve more than playing second fiddle to his addiction and whims?
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:15 PM
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I agree with outtolunch, trust your gut! If it doesn't feel right, its probably not. You are having a hard time trusting him because he violated your trust, he belittles your feelings. I can see why you don't feel valuble in this relationship. I'd be burned up too if I were you! But maybe its because I can so relate to how you feel, being betrayed by him. All I can say is don't bury your feelings, don't deny them. You don't have to react to them, but they may be telling you a message, a warning. You clearly don't feel this person has your best interest at heart. Make sure YOU do.

Take care of yourself.
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Old 03-02-2012, 03:17 PM
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If you re-read your post as a stranger or if your best friend wrote it, it might clear it up a bit. Here's what this stranger sees:

9 years…recovering addict…A LOT of ups and downs…he lied to me…several times…now my trust in anything he says has been decimated…keep me strung along…not married…I dont live with him…relationship never deepened…I would like to have a real relationship…crazy over jealous controlling girl friend…I have lost trust in him…I hold back on a lot of my more extreme feelings…lack of respect for me…visiting his ex-girlfriend…jealous…he cant seem to let her go…

He can do his "amends" any way he wants.
He just kicks you because you let him.

You may have been turned into that "crazy over jealous controlling girl friend" years ago and didn't even realize it.

I wish you well and hope you find that real relationship with someone who deserves you.
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Old 03-02-2012, 03:19 PM
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Yes, I think you are being jealous.

Step 8 is:

"Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all." (italics are mine).

Step 9 is:

"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others." (Now the 'injure' part has been explained over the years as harming someone with information they did not previously have, ie an affair, etc)

Sounds to me like your ABF is REALLY trying to WORK the program this time.

Am I being overly paranoid/controlling here. Is this really how its done and I need to just be quiet and let it go and let him do his thing?
Yep you are. When I did my first Step 8 and 9, many years ago, I had a 'list' of over 60 people on it (there were more later when I redid Step 4 and 5 as I 'remembered' more 'stuff' from my past). I started with the earliest on the list and worked my way forward. There was one person on that list that it took me 20 years to find.

But now I am thinking that I would like to have a real relationship, a normal one, but I am not sure that it can be with him, now that I know what I know.
I think you just answered your own questions. You DON'T TRUST HIM now. That trust will take a long time for him to earn back, and it will only be possible at all if his ACTIONS match HIS WORDS. This ACTION of his of wanting to make AMENDS to his very old girlfriend is part of the 'new' him. Your being 'jealous' of this and this girl is on you, and something you need to work on when you do your own step work. It is part of 'your own insecurities' and you will have to work through that one.

Right now, since he is still in step work and work on himself, I am not sure that he even has any 'time' away from his recovery work for a 'serious relationship.'

J M H O

Please keep posting and let us know how you are doing as we do care.

Love and hugs,
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Old 03-06-2012, 02:15 PM
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Thank you all

thank you all very much for your words of encouragement. As it turned out her new boyfriend didnt want her left alone with my BF anyway and gave them very little time to chat or for him to make amends. She let him know that she is still "searching" and that she feels a hole inside of her.. all this while her boyfriend was getting food. Still seems a little hinky to me, but I did let it go.

I have been to multiple al-anon meetings. Have not found one yet that does serious step work with sponsors. I am traveling tonight over 20 miles to a new meeting that is specifically geared to Adult Children, of which I am one, and hopefully will help me with my severe co-dependency issues.

I KNOW that I have serious trust issues and for the most part, with him, they are legit. Another question for the people that have more experience than I with the AA program.... it was my impression that someone in recovery was supposed to stay away from those that are actively using. My BF still works with his friend that gets drunk and high on the job while he is there (they are tradesmen) and also still regularly contacts (phone and text) the friend that regularly supplied him with drugs while he was supposed to be "recovering".

I am not approaching him about this as I am trying to let him work his own program as I am developing mine. (its really hard to change one's nature) But I also really dont want to be misled again, lied to again. Is it possible for an addict to be so good at lying and on the fence about recovering that he can keep his feet in both worlds? Im thinking not, but do I just sit back and let him do what he wants and hope I dont get burned again? He says that he is more willing to work on all those things that have just been sitting on the back burner all these years... like a real relationship.. one with depth and substance... I do want to support him and I do hope that there is a rainbow at the end of all these bumps. How does one tell what is truth? what exactly am I looking for in his actions that let me know its going well? I am not privy to all aspects of his recovery and I know he needs to have privacy with some of that.. so what is my cue to keep trying?
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