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Is it possible to remain friends?

Old 05-04-2019, 03:58 PM
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Is it possible to remain friends?

I know many of you have read my other thread on this forum. I've accepted that the relationship is over, he is not ready to get/stay clean. I'm going to start therapy next week, but until then I'm still feeling very lost and rejected. Being tossed aside to pursue a career in drugs hardly builds ones self esteem.

I did tell him I want to be there to help him with recovery should he ever get clean. If there's one person he's ever turned to with things it's been me. I know his deepest, darkest secrets and regrets. I understand No Contact is necessary a lot of times, but it's difficult for us due to financial responsibilities, him still using this mailing address, and so on. Obviously contact needs to be limited though, to allow healing.

I just want to know if anyone can tell me their personal experiences with friendship following a break up with an addict. I know there can never be any more enabling, I'm hoping therapy can help me to become the strong woman I used to be. But how do you remain on a friendship level for an addict, so that should they decide to get clean you can keep your word and assist them in recovery?
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Old 05-04-2019, 04:39 PM
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First things first - You didn't Cause it, can't Control it and can't Cure it (the 3 Cs).

I don't have any experience with this.

First of all, I know for a fact that I am in no position to ever help someone with their recovery. I have learned a lot about alcoholism, known and know alcoholics and my Father was an alcoholic.

How on earth can I help any of them? I can't, I am not an alcoholic and i'm not a professional. Addiction requires professional help or at the very least the understanding of those that have been there (like AA).

I can't see a place for myself in anyone's addiction recovery.

It actually kind of sounds like you are trying to keep a place holder in this relationship? Trying to think of a way perhaps to keep a foot in the door? Why would you want to do that? You will be purposefully hurting yourself. You just get to ride the same rollercoaster but from a slight distance.

Let's say he sobers up for 2 months, are you then his support and friend? What if he then relapses for 6 months, are you then not his support and friend?

Anyway, I think you are setting yourself up for more hurt. Regardless of what you choose, you at least need some distance after a breakup, say a year at least to think clearly, to detach emotionally, to think about what you want.

Do you want to perhaps be in another relationship at some point? Being a support for your former boyfriend who is a recovering addict doesn't leave a lot of time for your own social life.

The more you focus on yourself, the happier you will be.
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Old 05-04-2019, 05:08 PM
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I think what I meant was that his family and I had talked about things. We've made it clear that when he decides to seek help, we will support him. Emotionally, that is, so he doesn't feel like he's alone. I know there is nothing I can physically do to cure him or push him into it. He's never been one to research anything so the one thing his parents and I agreed on long ago was that IF he decides to go into a rehab, we want it to be a good one. The last two were forced, state mandated and offered no therapy in addition to recovery.

I absolutely want a healthy relationship for myself in the future. I know it cannot be with him, I know the trust and damage done can never be repaired. I don't want to live playing "private eye" anymore or making myself insane looking for answers to everything he does. It's mentally and physically exhausting.

I guess I just try to imagine that if I were in his shoes, and actually did make a commitment to getting help, that I would want to have someone on my side to cheer me on, for lack of a better phrase. Maybe it's the guilt talking as I'm going through the stages of loss. I just can't imagine myself having to go through something like that alone without anyone on my side, offering faith. If that makes any sense.
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Old 05-04-2019, 05:12 PM
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i'm curious what you think assisting him with recovery looks like? you've BEEN there in the wings for a while now, ready to serve! and it has not affected his addiction one whit.

i think you are grasping at straws. wanting to remain involved. wanting to own a piece of it.

IF he decides to seek recovery, i hope he turns to recognized recovery programs, gets involved with other recovering addicts, and gets busy walking the path. there just isn't a lot for a "friend" to do in this case....

wish him well, and stay focused on the wonderful world of YOU!
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Old 05-04-2019, 05:18 PM
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Thanks, Anvil. Like I posted above (probably at the same time you posted, lol) was more in terms of helping him along with his family to find a very good rehab/program, as he's never been the time to research anything.

I am seriously thinking about taking a vacation soon, I could really use some time away from this place. I'm reaching out to old friends I've lost because of this addictive relationship, making plans to go out and keep busy. I deserve that, especially since he's had two "vacations" (benders) now on my dime. It makes me insanely mad that he's enjoying himself! The last time we talked he was snacking, playing video games, watching movies, going fishing...and of course drugging it up. I deserve to be happy, too, and that's just what I'm going to do.
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Old 05-04-2019, 06:22 PM
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Yes, a vacation sounds like a great idea.

I hear what you are saying and I don't know that it's a bad thing but I think you should think long and hard about your motives.

He does have his family to help him research rehab, plus he is a grown man, he should be able to get help if he needs it. He would probably start in a detox facility anyway and they can assist him in getting help as well.

What if 6 months from now you are seeing someone that is amazing and wonderful and you are incredibly happy with them? Do you want to take time away from that and all the other good things in your life to hold your ex ABFs hand?

It's not selfish and it's not mean to want to start fresh with your new life, to pursue what you want to. This is all so new, so you can't clearly make decisions like this if you know what I mean? You haven't even been out of the tornado of drama long enough to let your emotions settle a bit. Time will tell you whether or not you want to get involved back in his drama. He may never seek recovery so it may never come up, I hope he does, but he might not, or maybe not for years.

In the meantime, I really hope you will go and have a terrific vacation and plan a lot of fun things just for you.
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Old 05-04-2019, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Katerina1072 View Post
Being tossed aside to pursue a career in drugs hardly builds ones self esteem.
Not true. Not your fault. Not personal.
Alcoholism/Addiction is a mental illness.
Insurance companies pay out mega medical costs for treatment.
The active alcoholic/addict is delusional,
a basic concept in recovery.
You are free to move on now.
That is a positive direction.

You can't remain friends or have a any type of relationship with an active user.
Not your job to assist them in recovery.
You are not a professional.
Seems like an enabler setup/pitfall.
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Old 05-04-2019, 08:10 PM
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Thanks everyone. Like I said, I'm just going through all the many stages and in no particular order...sometimes everything all at once. I do appreciate all of your words and advice.

I've been doing a lot of thinking now that I've been alone for days, thinking about how many things that bothered me, being with an addict. The distrust, the way it made me feel, the uncertainty, the future. Yet every time I think of all the reasons why I should be feeling relief, the good times and the memories jump up and bite me in the arse. And there were good times and a lot of things I'm going to miss. I know the list of bad things outweighs the good things, it's just so hard to let go of those good times. The talking, the laughing, the cuddling, planning the future, the trips...the life we had created together. I've stopped romanticizing about the future that we'll never have. Now I just need to find a way to put all of the good times in the rear view so that I can move forward. Constantly thinking of them makes it that much harder. I'm sure you all know where I'm coming from.
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Old 05-04-2019, 11:20 PM
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Yes, those first few days even a week or two can be rough. It's pretty much impossible to not have those "good times" thoughts appear. Try to just shoo them away as much as possible and not dwell because they are not reality - well they are and they aren't.

Fun concert and being abandoned for a week. Needing support and finding someone too high to really talk to vs a relaxing weekend, that's the reality.

He has run off because he doesn't want recovery, it's pretty much that simple. Nothing to do with you personally. You represent the "normal" the "i should stop being a drug addict" - that's not what he wants, he might want you and a normal life but he can't have that and the drugs - so he chooses the drugs, there aren't that many addicts that wouldn't.

If there were, these forums would not exist.

You are doing well, try not to isolate too much, I know it's tempting, who wants to go out and struggle to put on a brave face, but it can really make you feel better, even if you don't want to socialize it's better to drive over and buy yourself a cup of coffee and even sit and drink all or part of it in a coffee shop than to stay home alone too much.
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Old 05-04-2019, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by trailmix View Post
He has run off because he doesn't want recovery, it's pretty much that simple. Nothing to do with you personally. You represent the "normal" the "i should stop being a drug addict" - that's not what he wants, he might want you and a normal life but he can't have that and the drugs - so he chooses the drugs, there aren't that many addicts that wouldn't.
Trailmix, you're the best. Thank you so much for that. I keep playing the tape over and over in my head wondering why he left, why didn't his selfish attitude that wants to keep using even think of being selfish about keeping me (I know that sounds foolish) but everything you wrote gave me a sigh of relief. I know everything will get easier in time. I've been working all day trying to get his things together so he can finally take them all, no excuses. If I have to, I'll drive the crap to where he's staying myself just because it's too painful to "see" him living here when he's not here at all.

I keep praying for closure, but your words are probably the best closure I could ever hope to hear. I can't thank you enough.

On a positive note, I sat down to watch TV a little while ago. I was surprised I was actually focused on it for a change. It gave me a moment (however so brief) to realize there was no stress, just peace. I can't wait till those moments are more frequent and the pain disappears. I plan on getting out a lot this week. I'm not sure what I am going to do, but I sat around all day today and it made things worse. The evening hours are the hardest, as those hours were always spent (every night for years!) watching movies with each other, talking and having fun.

I read in another thread somewhere about those leaving addictive relationships needing to take it day by day. It really is the truth. Too many times this week I've found myself thinking ahead to the future, a future without him, without our upcoming wedding, without us retiring...it sucks. Then I try to replace it with thoughts of where will I be a month from now, a year from now, that sucks too. Right now a large part of me feels that I'll never meet another guy, and if I do I'll never trust. I don't even want to think about things like that. So I'm going to treat this as if I was the addict (being co-dependent I technically was) and try to take each hour, each day as it comes.

I don't know where I would be without these forums. It's almost scary how much we all have in common. Not just because of the addicts in our lives, but all of the same emotions regardless of what the substance of choice is. We're all feeling the same things, just some of us at different stages in our own personal recoveries.
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Old 05-05-2019, 12:13 AM
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You're welcome I'm glad it helped and I do believe it's the truth.

I was just reviewing your threads and this is a particularly important time for you so I think this is worth mentioning. When things start to upswing a bit (he tries to get sober or he comes back without even being sober at all) you stop posting. Now lol - posting is not mandatory! - but I think it is worth mentioning because you know he is probably going to show up again when the money runs out. He will need more drugs, he has no job. Right now he is having the drug infused time of his life, but that will end shortly (he, of course, is not thinking about that at all). I wonder how welcoming his Sister will be when he runs out of money.

If you think he won't, remember, this is the guy that stole your medication after your surgery. There isn't much he won't do for some pills. The only reason you had to have your surgery so soon was to pay off his bills. Those are his actions, not his words, his actions, so right now he is all confident with a few dollars in his pocket and he's high and he's having fun, that's going to end shortly.

So, back to my point! Not mandatory to post but I hope you will and I am glad you are seeking therapy and please keep seeking support, whatever that means. Don't isolate, not now, not if he shows up again. When you get stuck in your own head with things like this it is so easy to justify horrible treatment, it becomes normal, it's not.

You also have so much experience to share here.

On a positive note, I sat down to watch TV a little while ago. I was surprised I was actually focused on it for a change. It gave me a moment (however so brief) to realize there was no stress, just peace. I can't wait till those moments are more frequent and the pain disappears
This! Hard to believe but this will start happening more frequently. You will think, wow, I've been awake for 10 minutes and didn't even remember, or like tonight, wow I haven't even thought about that for half an hour and the sense of peace you had tonight, the relief, will come in longer periods, it's great.
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Old 05-06-2019, 10:05 AM
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In my case when she finally understood that the flow of help & money from me was over she simply up & vanished. We didn't have a fight or even any bad words about it - just poof gone. June 2019 will be a year since she vanished.

June of 2017 is when I detached from her. We had a few interactions & longer periods of not talking at all for a year. The contacts which did take place were all bad - all major problems going on with her.

When you finally stop enabling he may vanish too.
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Old 05-06-2019, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by HardLessons View Post
In my case when she finally understood that the flow of help & money from me was over she simply up & vanished. We didn't have a fight or even any bad words about it - just poof gone. June 2019 will be a year since she vanished.

June of 2017 is when I detached from her. We had a few interactions & longer periods of not talking at all for a year. The contacts which did take place were all bad - all major problems going on with her.

When you finally stop enabling he may vanish too.
I'm sorry you had to go through that. I know it's the truth. I told him I was done enabling, and I set boundaries. Guess he didn't like that, so he left. But he insists on telling me he does have hope that things will work out, and that even though I've lost hope, he's going to carry it for both of us and that he is going to get help. It may be months, it may be weeks, but I still feel like a yo-yo because of it.

I know that I don't want the fear, the panic and the distrust in my future. It's just hard letting go of the past is all....those good times when his addiction wasn't ruining things.
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Old 05-06-2019, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Katerina1072 View Post
But he insists on telling me he does have hope that things will work out, and that even though I've lost hope, he's going to carry it for both of us and that he is going to get help. It may be months, it may be weeks, but I still feel like a yo-yo because of it.
And it may be years or decades. Or never.

And even if he does get help, there is no guarantee that he will embrace it. Or that he won't relapse. Addiction is for life.

Words are easy. Actions are what matter.
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Old 05-06-2019, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by SparkleKitty View Post
And it may be years or decades. Or never.

And even if he does get help, there is no guarantee that he will embrace it. Or that he won't relapse. Addiction is for life.

Words are easy. Actions are what matter.
Thanks, Sparkle. I do realize that, but it's good to see it as a reminder. He has this bad habit of trying to "psych" himself into things (I can do it, I'll stay clean) and making promises but when the time comes, he always lacks at the willpower to follow through.

I just can't wait to stop feeling so crappy. I have been through many relationships in my lifetime, including divorce, but this one has really knocked me off me feet. Addiction makes things so much worse because while you want to hate the person, you still feel sorry for them.
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Old 05-06-2019, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Katerina1072 View Post
I just can't wait to stop feeling so crappy. I have been through many relationships in my lifetime, including divorce, but this one has really knocked me off me feet. Addiction makes things so much worse because while you want to hate the person, you still feel sorry for them.
All dysfunctional relationships are hard to recover from, whether that is with a narcissist or someone with other mental health issues or addiction.

The reason why, in my opinion, is you are presented with two people. Great, kind, good hearted guy and mean, thoughtless, selfish etc guy.

So which guy is he?

I dated a narcissist for about a year and a half and I found myself doing this, I mean all people have good days and bad but these folks, like addicts, are extreme.

I could excuse the yelling, screaming, blaming and poor treatment because the rest of the time it was great! The sun shone from me pretty much according to him when he wasn't screaming at me on the phone or making up stupid stories to try to make me jealous.

Anyway, my point is, it can be tough to meld these "two" personalities. The person, like all people is the good and the not so good, or in some cases the bad. Not two people, not two personalities, one person, one personality.

So, I wouldn't worry to much about feeling sorry for him. There are a hundred places probably within a 100 mile radius where he could go for help and he chooses not to, he chooses that, no one is holding a gun to his head.

There is a saying around here, let go or be dragged, don't let him drag you down with him.

Do you not believe you deserve better than this?
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Old 05-07-2019, 07:18 AM
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It's a novel idea, remaining friends, helping with recovery. The reality is, it's a bad idea. No contact is healing for YOU. His recovery if he would choose it, belongs to HIM.

Take all of this focus and put it on you and your own wellbeing.
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