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Sober-clean long enough for a relationship?

Old 05-13-2013, 05:01 PM
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Sober-clean long enough for a relationship?

Hello everyone,

I am new to this forum. I hope I am posting in the right section for the kind of advice I need.

My dilemma has 2 parts.

Part I:
I met a man a few weeks ago. We are both 46 and single. We feel a very strong attraction toward one another and just ache to be with each other. When we met he told me he was a recovering alcoholic-drug user and had been clean for 3 years. He is following the 12 step program, goes to many meetings, speaks regularly to his sponsor. I never had to deal with addiction, it's an unknown world for me. I don't care for alcohol or drugs so I didn't see this as a problem.

First I must say he is the most affectionate, respectful, tender man I have ever let in my life. I know I am about to fall head over heels for him.

My dilemma: I have noticed that when he talks he refers a lot to before he was sober. Example: he's telling a story about how he solved a problem at work, and will add that before he would have simply punch the guy in the face etc. Is him referring a lot to 'before' something common? is it indicative he's not far along enough in his recovery yet to be living in the moment?

Part II:
My best friend is a recovering alcoholic. He has been sober for 15 years. I did not know him back then. My friend rarely talks about 'before'. He still goes to meetings on weekly basis.

My dilemma: I've showed a picture of my love interest to my friend. My friend remembers my love interest from 3 years ago when he joined in. He told me he could not tell me why but to not get involved with this man. I asked why and he said he witnessed something 3 years ago and to not let him in my life. I asked that's it?? Don't you think people change in 3 years?? What would I have thought of you 15 years ago on the day you joined AA?

My friend told me if I am getting involved with this man I am on my own. He doesn't want to hear his name, or anything about him. My friend has abandoned me I don't understand why!!!

I hope you will be able to shed some light on what is going on here with my love interest and with my friend.

Thank you
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:07 PM
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Hi Charlotte

I think we know as much as you really - I don't believe there's an alcoholic archetype.

Lots of people I know refer to the before days - lots of others do not.

I haven't really noticed any real correlation with the quality of the recoveries.

Clearly your friend has grave reservations though.

I'm not sure why they would not give you details, but would rather cut you out of their life...

This boyfriend may be a great guy, he may not.

I think any relationship involves a little trust and faith, and whether you feel it's a safe bet.

In the end it's up to you - if you have any doubts at all, I think it's perfectly fine to slow things down.

D
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:11 PM
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I have no idea what's going on with your love interest or your friend. I'm not really sure what's stopping you from getting involved with him? It sounds like you have some reservations based on his comments and you might want to resolve that first? How much do you trust your friend? Personally I wouldn't call someone a friend who would rather dump me from his life, than tell me the truth.
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:16 PM
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Sounds like your new friend may have had violence issues before (I can't imagine punching someone in the face over a work "problem", ever), and your old friend may have seen something that suggests those issues are still possible even while sober. Be careful....

It seems strange your old friend won't tell you what's concerning him... it could pay to have a good talk to him to see if he will open up about it.
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:19 PM
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Concerning my love interest I just want to know if always referring to 'before' is something most recovering alcoholic do.

If my friend told me why he doesn't approve of my dating this man I would consider it. My friends says AA is anonymous therefore he cannot tell me why he doesn't want me to date him. Is the anonymity of AA more important than protecting a woman from an abuser? If my love interest talks about beating up his ex girlfriend during AA meetings would that be wrong to warn me?

I asked my friend if he feared for my security. He said no.
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:21 PM
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It seems rather odd that he is willing to ditch you rather than just be straight up with you and tell you what is up with this new guy! If my friend was dating somebody who i thought put them in danger and i knew about it? You best bet i would tell her/him the details!!
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:23 PM
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Yes, it doesn't make sense to me either.

And, as Dee said there is not an alcoholic archetype.
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:35 PM
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Ok so there is no AA police preventing my friend from giving me full details as to why he doesn't want me to date this man.

So looks like my friend's problem is not at that level. Has to be something personal then.

Also, my friend asked me to never tell my love interest I know him. So my friend doesn't fear from my security but he does for his....kind of.
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Charlotte1 View Post
Ok so there is no AA police preventing my friend from giving me full details as to why he doesn't want me to date this man.

So looks like my friend's problem is not at that level. Has to be something personal then.

Also, my friend asked me to never tell my love interest I know him. So my friend doesn't fear from my security but he does for his....kind of.
Well first, has you friend always been a good and trusted friend who has your back? If yes then if I were you I would truly listen.
Second, there might not be an AA police but your friend is doing what is ethically right by not gossiping about what that person shared at meetings.
Like we say: What you see here, what you hear here, let it stay here!

If he was the kind of person who ran his mouth about what happens in the rooms, he would be the kind of person to gossip about you wouldn't he?
If you trust your friend is a real friend and has your best interest at heart then follow his advice. For all you know, the guy might have a STD, ripped off his grandmother or maybe is a sex offender or God knows what.
If you are still ambivalent, you might want to run a background check on your love interest to see what you are getting yourself into.
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:47 PM
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I hate to put this out there but MAYBE your friend has somehow hurt this love interest of yours and he does not want you knowing about it!!!
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:48 PM
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It all sounds like too much drama for me.
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Old 05-13-2013, 06:12 PM
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Just throwing this out there- is there a chance that your Friend likes you romantically but is afraid to tell you and just doesn't want you dating anyone else? PG
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Old 05-13-2013, 06:15 PM
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My friend witnessed me dating a series of losers and jerks and be hurt over and over. Now this man comes into my life and treats me like gold but he doesn't see that part, he is fixated on what happened 3 years ago.

When I asked my friend if he was sure he had the right guy he said he wasn't at first but contacted another member and confirmed it was him. I think Chilledice is on to something,there was a conflict and my friend was directly involved.

I know the wise thing would be to listen to my friend but my love interest so far has been a complete gentleman and honest and open about his recovery. I cannot dismiss him just like that.
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Old 05-13-2013, 06:39 PM
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Okay, so 1) you have dated a series of losers and jerks, and 2) you have been warned about this guy. Please make sure that you are not repeating a pattern. Some of us take a long time to figure out who the nice guys REALLY are.
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Old 05-13-2013, 06:50 PM
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Forgetting about everything else...
Forgetting about your long time friend...
Forgetting AA and past or present sobriety...
Forgetting about how this new guy treats you now...
I would be VERY suspicious about a guy that says "before" he would have punched someone in the face over a work dispute.
That's violent, criminal behavior. That's the kind of thing you spend serious time in jail for.
That's not just a red flag - that's a flashing red warning sign saying DANGER.

Please be very careful.
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Old 05-13-2013, 07:13 PM
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Um, yeah. It's been said on here. For sure your friend got a little threatened. Otherwise, a friend doesn't cut a friend out of their life. Anyways...a true friend does not. There are many things I would have done in my heavy active use. The reason why you date is to determine the behaviors and things you like/don't like in a person. I was a mean, violent person when drinking, I may have tried to fight everyone. I think many people can say the same thing. This IS NOT WHO I AM SOBER!!! It is a pre-caution, but coming out and admitting that is common decency, at least he's not trying to hide the fact that he was just a really crazy stupid person while under the influence. It has a death grip so powerful and makes us do things, otherwise, sober minded, we would not do. Good Luck. Give the guy a chance, nothing more powerful than the feelings of being needed and wanted.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:58 PM
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My dilemma: I've showed a picture of my love interest to my friend. My friend remembers my love interest from 3 years ago when he joined in. He told me he could not tell me why but to not get involved with this man. I asked why and he said he witnessed something 3 years ago and to not let him in my life.
I don't really have any advice for you. IMO though your friend has already broken the anonymity of the program by telling you this guy is in the program. It doesn't matter if you know or not, It's none of his business. Me and my former boss went to some of the same AA meetings. The first time I saw him there we both had a look of surprise on our face. Ultimately it was his business who he told about AA and my business who I told about AA regardless if we knew other people were aware of it.

Have you given any thought that your friend has any ulterior motives for telling you to stay away from him? Have you thought about asking the guy you are interested in directly or indirectly what he was like before he got sober.

I know that in the past I have spoken in the past tense about things I did before I got sober. Not all of the time but occasionally. There is a saying that roughly goes like this: "those that fail to remember the past are doomed to repeat it".

AA/NA recommends that one should not start in a relationship until they have reached 1 year in sobriety. IMO this whole situation seems quite weird to me.
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Old 05-14-2013, 04:54 AM
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Before showing him a picture I had already told my friend that my love interest was a AA member.

My love interest told me how he was before he got sober. He was aggressive and had conflicts with everyone standing in his way.

Like committed2013 said it doesn't mean this is who he is sober.

My mind is made up, I will spend time with him and see how he is.

My friend did harbor some romantic feelings for me but that was a couple of years ago and he's met someone since, she is perfect for him and they're really into each other. My second guess is it's motivated by racism. My friend and I are white, my love interest is a black man. I hate pulling that card out but my friend is not the most open minded man.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:29 AM
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Your friend may be dropping you for self preservation.

Often people are advised to get folks out of their lives that could harm their sobriety. If your friend knows you very well he probably knew you would get together with this new guy once he warned you and you didn't react.

Now your friend has to get clear of what he sees as the drama and pain that he feels is sure to come. Those can be real triggers for relapse.

He was aggressive and had conflicts with everyone standing in his way.
You can't blame that behavior on alcohol. That's a whole different ball game. Punching folks out because of work conflicts is a violent felony offense. Dealing with that kind of "aggression" is waaaay outside of the realm of getting sober.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Charlotte1 View Post
I met a man a few weeks ago. We are both 46 and single. We feel a very strong attraction toward one another and just ache to be with each other. When we met he told me he was a recovering alcoholic-drug user and had been clean for 3 years. He is following the 12 step program, goes to many meetings, speaks regularly to his sponsor. I never had to deal with addiction, it's an unknown world for me. I don't care for alcohol or drugs so I didn't see this as a problem.

First I must say he is the most affectionate, respectful, tender man I have ever let in my life. I know I am about to fall head over heels for him.

My dilemma: I have noticed that when he talks he refers a lot to before he was sober. Example: he's telling a story about how he solved a problem at work, and will add that before he would have simply punch the guy in the face etc. Is him referring a lot to 'before' something common? is it indicative he's not far along enough in his recovery yet to be living in the moment?
You've only known each other for a few weeks.

I think it's a bad sign that he told you all of this right away. I mean, why would you need to know about it? I also think the sharing of 'before' versus 'after' is kind of strange. He needs to be telling this to his sponsor, not someone he just met.
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