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Old 11-05-2009, 10:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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break free


I don't even know where to start.

I'm Pandora, and I'm a co-dependent enabler of an alcoholic. What a clinical term, but that's what I feel I am. I was deeply deeply in love with an alcoholic but I finally had to break out of it.

Before we were together, I lived alone, had a decent financial foundation, was finishing grad school, had many friends and a promising career, but I was bulimic and played with cocaine and other things and partied like a wild woman. I met Derek at work, and he helped me sober up from all the wild partying and made me feel safe.

What I didn't know, was that he was very troubled in his own way, and as it progressed between the two of us, the problems manifested themselves one by one until it was unbearable.

The first six months were beautiful, then things started to go wrong. First he ran off my friends under the assumption that they were the source of My problems. Then he slowly told me how to dress, not to wear make up, checked my phone, wouldn't allow me out without him, and would not go anywhere with me unless it was to drink. He was very cold and withheld affection from me, belittling me, telling me how I was stupid, calling me flatchested, then too skinny, then fat, and never ever said anything positive to me unless he was completely drunk and got emotional. Then was apologetic and gentle.

He finally had gotten to the point where he drank all day, sometimes more than a fifth at a time, and his body shut down the first time. He spent five days in the hospital. He was sober but cruel for three months, then suddenly very sweet again when he started drinking in what I thought was a controlled way. little by little, it got worse again, and almost a year to the day later, we had both been really ill with a flu, and the dehydration from the sickness caused him to start to detox, he seizured at home. He spent five days in ICU with intense withdrawal and complications thereof. Sober again for about three months, then drunk again. Then he checked himself into rehab, left after a week and did great until we went on vacation, and after that all hell broke loose. he stayed trashed at the beach and did not sober up after we got home, and he lost his job.

I had him involuntarily committed because I was afraid he was going to die in our house. I'm in medical school, and I knew he was in serious distress. He got better again for about 30 days, then we suddenly had to move out of our house. Our roomate couldn't take it anymore and split, leaving us with one person paying rent on a four bedroom house in a downtown neighborhood. We lucked into a one bedroom I could handle alone, but he started drinking again because he was home alone all day in a house that was a block from a liquor store. He spent all the money we had saved on booze and there was liquor bottles hidden all over my house. Tiny airplane bottles, everywhere, I even found them stuffed down in MY shoes in our closet. He spent all of our backup cash on the last binge I could tolerate. I hid his debit card, but he just took out bill money from our cash. Then he lied to me about hiding the booze.

I was working 65+ hours a week, I was exhausted, and I knew he was going to die. I came home from work, and handed him the phone and told him he had ten minutes to call his mother, his grandparents or a hospital. He was not going to be with me anymore. The last hospitalization, he blew a 3.96 BAC, seizured, and detox delirium hallucinations for three days.

I was terrified because of not only what was happening to him, but because I realized who I had become.

I miss him in only limited ways, but I feel sorry for him because he's lost his job, his home, and his girl. I'm more angry that I allowed my co-dependency of wanting his love, completely take everything out of my life that I enjoyed.

As I recover, and he recovers, is it bad that I try to be friends with him? He needs a friend so badly, and I fought him so hard to try to keep him alive.

I'm new to to this, and I could use some guidance.
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Old 11-05-2009, 10:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by PandorasFate View Post
As I recover, and he recovers, is it bad that I try to be friends with him? He needs a friend so badly, and I fought him so hard to try to keep him alive.

I'm new to to this, and I could use some guidance.
I'm new to this too, so I may not know what I'm talking about. My gut instinct says (based on your entire post - which sounds like a nightmare), yes, I think it would be pretty bad for both of you.

Welcome (I've been posting here for 1 day so I can say that now lol).
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Old 11-05-2009, 11:07 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 11-05-2009, 11:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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It took a lot of courage for you to do what you did. I applaud you for that and for recognizing that YOU needed out of that situation.

As far as being friends with him I can only tell you what I think I would do in that situation. He has to want to get help for himself...he can be forced, but in the end unless he wants the help he will end up going back to the way he was. I would ask myself if I really wanted to be apart of that again. And why would I want to be friends with someone who wasn't nice to me even when he was sober? I don't know about you, but I would think twice. Right now I believe you need to make decisions based on what will be best for you as you recover. Just my thoughts.
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Old 11-05-2009, 11:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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He does seem genuinely different living with his mother, she's a devout christian and he's going to church and to therapy. Two things he never did with me. Watching these new behaviours manifest themselves raises both sides for decision making. Is this bait to draw me back into co-dependency, or is this a legitimate focus on recovery.

I've already reconnected with my friends, who are all quite stable and productive happy people, gone to a real party (one with friends and food and cake, not coke and booze), and went on weekend holiday with my recovery/accountability partner. I don't want to loose my progress because I'm so sympathetic.

You always hear stupid women in abusive relationships give the, "but i love him...." cry, get back into the codependency and screw themselves over. it's so difficult to be objective, but after a four year relationship I think some residual feelings are normal. My therapist isn't quite as aggressive as I'd hoped. I just feel that he shouldn't feel as alone I felt when he was in the deep part of the problem

My mother thinks I began the path to dissociation behaviours while we were at the beach together, since I started to detach before the last three hospitalizations, she thinks I'm further through the process than I'm giving myself credit for. I'm still pretty sad. I feel like my actions to help him are going to seem pointless to him if I cut him out completely, and he'll relapse. Guess that's part of the codependency that still needs working on.
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Old 11-05-2009, 11:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Welcome!

After the way he treated you even when he was sober, you want to make sure he has a friend now. You must be one hell of a good person.

Alcoholism is one thing. To some extent the disease takes over and makes us into people we do not want to be. That doesn't make it excusable, but it at least makes an allowance for the character of the alcoholic once he's sober. But I have a real hard time with men who treat women like that when they are sober.

My advice would be to ditch the bum I think he got way more of your care and love than he deserved, and now you need to focus that care and love on yourself.

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Old 11-05-2009, 11:42 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I feel like my actions to help him are going to seem pointless to him if I cut him out completely, and he'll relapse. Guess that's part of the codependency that still needs working on.
So I'm a recovering alcoholic, and my response to this is that it's not your job to keep him from relapsing. In fact until HE makes the decision for himself and by himself to be completely sober, there's not a lot you can do.

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Old 11-05-2009, 11:53 AM   #8 (permalink)
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As a recovering alcoholic, did you find yourself latching on to the people who helped you, becoming kinder and thankful, or did you have a sense that you could manipulate them if you felt weak?
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Old 11-05-2009, 12:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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As a recovering alcoholic, did you find yourself latching on to the people who helped you, becoming kinder and thankful, or did you have a sense that you could manipulate them if you felt weak?
Hm... interesting question. Neither, I think. I appreciate those who attempted to guide me in the right direction, but I'm kind of a nice guy, drunk or sober.

And I was more of a lying drunk than a manipulating drunk.

If I get correctly what you are really getting at, however, I think my gut tells me that he is the latter, unfortunately. When you said his behavior is better when with his mother, it reminded me of a very manipulative ex of mine, who was all sweetness and light at her mom's house. But when we were alone, she was a totally different person.

And I think the bottom line is that he is going to do what he is going to do. For now, today, the focus should be on you. Let tomorrow take care of itself. If he gets sober and turns out to be prince charming, that's great. But I wouldn't count on it, and I certainly wouldn't spend any time worrying about that right now.

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Old 11-05-2009, 12:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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As a recovering alcoholic, did you find yourself latching on to the people who helped you, becoming kinder and thankful, or did you have a sense that you could manipulate them if you felt weak?
before I read the rest of your sentence, I was going to reply to this with, no, not latching on, but using, manipulating, ... I didn't have a sense that I could use or manipulate, I KNEW I could.. and it was not because I felt weak, it's because I knew they were.

you finished the thought yourself.

I wasn't able to give a rats ass about anyone but my liquor when I was active in addiction. I can't even say I cared about myself, clearly I didn't.

He'll relapse with or without you, if that's what he chooses to do.

If he's actively as consumed by alcohol as you write, he can't care about much, not you, not anyone.. just the liquor. And that is how it will be until HE decides to recover.
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