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Unread 02-21-2009, 10:23 PM   #101
girlfriend67
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Hi SLynn,

Thanks for checking in. With my computer getting a virus, starting my university course, and taking care of some family health matters, I haven't had much of a chance to write.

I'm doing well, but I'm pretty busy. I'm still seeing a counsellor and going to Al-Anon, though - I'm trying not to let busy-ness prevent me from taking care of me.

Things have levelled off for me quite a bit since I last wrote. My ex is still my ex, although we do get together for dinner now and then. He seems to be doing better now that he's fully immersed in his college program. I say "seem" because I've let go of his drinking. I think I'm finding that detachment I was looking for - the ability to stay in touch and meet for dinner, but not "aid and abet" or let his issues become mine. Al-Anon has helped a great deal on that score. I've stopped wondering if/how much he's had to drink, and I've stopped worrying. I still love him and hope for his recovery, but my focus of late has been on me and what makes me happy.

Truth be told, he's been far more reliable, stable, and attentive...he almost seems to be wooing me. But as flattering as that is, I'm not convinced that anything more than the odd date is "doable" right now. He might be drinking less, but he still hasn't dealt with the causes of the drinking, so there's no moving forward as a couple.

That said, I'm feeling less stressed than I have in months. I enjoy the "dates" we have but without a committed relationship holding us together, I don't feel as wrapped up in his issues - and I certainly don't feel compelled to be his emotional/psychological barometer anymore. I'm feeling more like my old self - or rather a more empowered version of myself.

Thanks again for checking in...it's been a crazy month - but nothing I can't handle.

gf67

Last edited by girlfriend67; 02-21-2009 at 10:27 PM.. Reason: grammar
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Unread 03-04-2009, 07:52 AM   #102
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gf67

Sorry it's taken a few days to get back to you. So much has been going on I didn't get back to you right away because you seemed like you are in no distress.....and that's a good thing! Nice to be in that category??

You sound really good. I don't know how else to put it. Healthy both mentally and physically and making strides in your own life. Not living his.

If this 'wooing' is making you happy then I'm happy for you. And for him!

Keep us posted.

SLynn
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Unread 03-05-2009, 11:47 PM   #103
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Thanks, SLynn. Yes, it does feel good to be off the rollercoaster and back to feeling like "me" again. I don't really know what it was that got me here, but whatever it was, I'm grateful for it.

I don't know what the future holds for him or for us, but focusing on the here and now and avoiding the "what ifs" (or talking myself away from that thinking if I do venture into that territory) has given me more peace of mind than I had when I first came to this website.

Life goes on...

gf67
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Unread 03-08-2009, 01:02 PM   #104
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gf67,
It's good to hear how you are doing. You make a lot of sense and seem to be making use of what you have learned.
Good for you.
Jerry
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Unread 03-08-2009, 08:08 PM   #105
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Thanks, Jerry.

I think it comes down to part of what you said: sense. It took some time apart from my ex, some time to reflect, and going to Al-Anon to bring to make "sense" of him, his disease, and the role I let it play in my life (or at least, as much sense as one can make of all this). I've chosen loving detachment, and I have to say that for the first time in months, I feel so much more at ease with him, with the circumstances, and with myself.

I think the "a-ha" moment for me came when I realized that I wasn't second guessing or doubting myself anymore. And I think that's important for me and my personality type - to be able to feel and act without questioning myself. I feel secure in my motives and actions. It feels good to be in that place again.

I don't know what the future will bring, but I'm living lone day at a time.

I had an interesting conversation with my dad today. He'd been away for three weeks, and while we were catching up, he asked how things were with my ex. When I told him, he was pleased for both of us and said, "Y'know, I hope that someday his parents realize how much you've done to help him - that you didn't just walk away. I hope someday they look at you and thank you for actually helping and supportihg him."

Not that I'm looking for any kind of recognition (I'm doing what I'm doing because it feels "right"), but it highlights the kind of support my friends and family have offered both me and my ex: their trust and faith in me and my efforts, and their hope and compassion for him.

I've been learning a lot. I think what's surprised me the most is learning how re-humanizing it is to offer help instead of always asking for it. Al-Anon has been great for that.

And I've also been looking at my experiences as what they've done for me, as opposed to what they've done to me. There's a huge difference between those two mindsets, and seeing that difference has played a big role in my own path to recovering my self.

So thanks, Jerry. Even though I'm following my gut instincts and feel secure in them, it's always nice to have a cheering section.

gf67
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Unread 03-14-2009, 09:08 PM   #106
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gf67,

Way to go.
It's good to hear where you are at. This is the kind of growth and learning that can expand and help you in other areas of your life, that you never expected. Serendipity, my friend!
Sorry I took so long to respond. But you seem to be on a good track. Stay humble, honest and clear.
Jerry
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Unread 03-16-2009, 01:50 PM   #107
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Hey Girlfriend

Hope this note finds you continuing to do so well. I'm sure you have your moments/days but hope you're still on a path to finding what makes you happy.

SLynn
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Unread 03-16-2009, 07:10 PM   #108
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Hi Jerry and SLynn - thanks for checking in.

Things with the ex continue to flow along as before, although it's been one hell of a month. Four weeks ago, my mother ended up in hospital overnight for a transfusion. The following week, my grandfather broke his hip and needed surgery. During that whole time, my father was on vacation, so my mother was pretty dependent on me. The day before my father returned home, we started a week-long death watch for my grandfather. His funeral was today.

Through it all, my ex has been very supportive and patient - cooking dinner, getting goofy movies to distract me, sending my parents a plant basket when my grandfather died, letting my practise the eulogy I'd written, being at the visitation and the funeral - all despite having tests and assignments to prepare for. He's behaved the way any reasonable, responsible, loving, and unselfish person would. It's been a breath of fresh air compared to November/December.

He still drinks, but now it's one or two times a week, and no more than 2-3 glasses of wine over the course of an evening. I think being in college and having a purpose again has helped him. He still has some issues to work out, but for the most part, those issues haven't been put on for me during this six weeks. It's hard to believe he's the same man he was a few months ago.

I have to admit, I wonder now and then if alcohol really is a problem for him since he's been so much better. But then I remember some of the drinking episodes when he felt lost and powerless. Even if he's controlling his drinking now, a precedent of "drinking to cope" has been set, so I don't think it's wise to count any chickens just yet. I'll just continue to embrace each day as it comes.

As for me, with all the crises that have popped up in the past month, my focus has been on the day-to-day. Even though we spend time together and still love each other, I still can't quite bring myself to not refer to him here as "my ex" - or to say "Yes, let's have a full reconciliation, officially resume the relationship, and move forward." I'm happy taking it one day at a time. It just feels both right and good.

Jerry - you mentioned seredipity. A friend of mine also uses the term "synchronicity." Either way, I think I'm finding that. It's a balancing act to be sure, but I think I finally figured out that part of balance is doing what's best for me and making myself more of a priority.

I'll be at Al-Anon on Wednesday, and have a counselling appointment that morning too. Serendipitous timing after this past week!

Thanks for your continued support.

gf67
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Unread 03-18-2009, 02:12 AM   #109
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gf67,

Sorry to hear of the loss of your grandfather.
It is good from you that there is a bit more stability in your life.
Though he still drinks it sounds like things are a bit better. Just be mindful of what you have learned as you are grateful for the peace.

All the best,
Jerry
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Unread 03-28-2009, 09:40 PM   #110
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Thanks, Jerry.

Today has been an exhausting day with my ex. Last night, he cancelled our plans because he said he'd had a few drinks and felt altered enough that it wouldn't be fair on me. On the one hand, I was disappointed - that he'd relapsed, that our plans were cancelled. On the other hand, I was relieved that he was "honest" and respectful of my boundaries. We agreed that we'd wait to talk about it until today when he was sober. The call ended with his apologies and "I love you."

I went over to see him today to talk things out, only to have him suddenly announce that he doesn't want to be with me anymore. If there'd been an argument about the cancelled date or any recriminations, I wouldn't have felt so blindsided. I couldn't tell if it was an alcoholism-related/idle threat or if he was serious.

We talked for a while and although he expressed a number of things, they were all so contradictory. Ultimately he changed his mind about wanting to give up and agreed to keep our couple's counselling appointment on Monday, even suggesting that he see a counsellor himself. He said he'd call tomorrow, and then as I was leaving, said, "If you want to talk tonight, feel free to call."

So, in the midst of all this, something remarkable happened. He admitted he has a problem with alcohol. I encouraged him to talk about it and finally got some of the missing pieces of the puzzle.

He realized he had a problem a few years ago. He went to AA, but was still drinking. He quit AA after two months because "I realized I wasn't as bad off as most of the people there. I hadn't hit the skids: I hadn't lost a job from drinking. I wasn't pushing a shopping cart and drinking Aqua Velva. I felt like I still had control of my drinking and that it hadn't ruined my life, so I didn't think there was any point in continuing with AA."

When I asked him if alcohol was part of some of the strange phone arguments we've had, he admitted to that too.

I thanked him for his honesty and told him he would have my support if/when he decides to take the next step. I told him that I'd been going to Al-Anon since December, and he seemed almost comforted by what I've learned and gained. I think he was relieved that I didn't voice any recriminations or demands. It was an almost surreal conversation - very calm, matter-of-fact, and non-threatening. It sounds odd, but it was almost comfortable.

So as you can imagine, I'm emotionally exhausted tonight. It's all very bittersweet: I'm pleased and proud of him for admitting his problem, but I'm still struggling with his mindset about us. We'll see what happens in the next few days.

Anyway, it's been a long day full of surprises both good and bad. But through it all, I remained "humble, honest, and clear." Thanks, Jerry - those words have been something of a mantra since you wrote them and have been a blessing indeed.

Thanks for reading!
gf67
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Unread 03-31-2009, 07:18 AM   #111
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Hi gf67

Just wanted to see how things were going for you in the last few days since this discussion with your ex. Have you had any contact?

It just seems a little odd to me how it all went down. Sounds like a mixture of being sincere and spiteful all at the same time. What a roller coaster!

Also, sorry to hear about your grandfather, too. I lost my grandma a couple weeks ago and know it's hard. I apologize for the delay in telling you but things get a little crazy for all of us at times like this. I read the board all the time but sometimes don't have the time to read AND post.

SLynn
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Unread 03-31-2009, 06:54 PM   #112
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SLynn - thanks for your condolences. I'm sorry for your loss too. And I understand completely about things being "a little crazy" at times, so no worries there!

Yes, it was odd how it all went down. At first I thought he was just trying to deflect the "trouble" he thought he'd be in for cancelling...sort of a pre-emptive strike or a ploy to put me in the vulnerable position that he thought he was in.

We were both calm, although both in tears. That's when I said to him, "There are things I need to know, and since you have nothing left to lose, you might as well be honest with me. How long have you had a dinking problem?" He said, "I don't know." I asked, "How long ago was it identified?" And that was when he told me his story about AA and confirmed that the odd phone conversations had been caused by his use of alcohol.

After that we talked some more, and it was then that he said he didn't want me out of his life, that he was glad for what Al-Anon was doing for me, that he didn't know what was wrong with him, and that he was sorry for everything. He loves me, he doesn't want me out of his life, and is scared of messing up and losing me. He told me that part of the problem was with being in school and not knowing what his future held (if/where he'd find a job when he graduates a year from now). Because he can't envision a future for himself right now, he can't envision a future for us and figured we didn't have one at all. And while I admit that it's a valid concern for him to have, it's another example of that "all or nothing" thinking.

He came over the next day and we spent six hours just being together, putting of further discussion (by mutual agreement) until our counselling appointment. We went to the counselling appointment yesterday and I learned a bit more. Not that it made "sense" but at least there were some answers.

Apparently, his mum and sister have been advising him on love and relationships - that if he's not "pining" for me during the time we're not together, then he doesn't love me "enough" and shouldn't lead me on. Probably not the best advice to give to someone who sees things as "all or nothing" - and who's always worried that he's failing and not "doing enough." When the counellor asked if he ever does think of me when we're apart, he said that he does and that the things he associates with me (an ad about Ireland or a song) will get him thinking about me.

We talked about his drinking in the session. He wasn't defensive at all, but he did try to "justify" certain things (not surprisingly). It was decided that we would have individual sessions with this counsellor followed by another couple's session. He readily agreed. She advised that he have the first individual session, and that he book the first available appointment. He did so, and is booked for April 22.

When we left, he asked "Would it be okay if I stopped by your work in between my classes tomorrow and dropped off a homemade lunch for you?" Today, there was a lunch waiting for me, complete with cutlery, napkins, and a little note.

A complete turn around from Friday/Saturday...and yes, SLynn, a rollercoaster. I'm confused to be sure, but oddly enough, I'm doing fine.

I'm not getting my hopes up, but I feel better now that the main issues have been aired. I hope he'll take the opportunity to deal with his issues, but I'm also aware that this may be as far as he ever goes with his problem - admitting it to himself and to me may be the only step he ever takes. That's his choice. Mine is to continue going to Al-Anon (which he respects) and to take it one day at a time.

Sorry this is so long - and thanks for reading. I'll keep you posted.
gf67
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Unread 05-04-2009, 07:29 AM   #113
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Hi gf67

How are things? Update when you can.

SLynn
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Unread 05-04-2009, 09:19 AM   #114
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Hi SLynn,

There's not really much to update - I'm still taking things one day at a time.

We've been to some counselling, both together and individually. He's starting to listen to what the counsellor says, but we haven't really dealt with his drinking per se as much as the fallout (the thoughts/behaviours that alcoholics are prone to whether drinking or not). He's made no further step since his last revelation, but I wasn't expecting overnight miracles. The counsellor says that I'm doing everything right as far as he's concerned, but reminds me not to let that overshadow doing right by myself too.

In the meantime, I'm moving forward with life. I've finished my university course and am now planning my summer vacation. He won't be able to join me (as a full-time college student, he has neither the time nor money), but that's not stopping me from doing the travelling that I usually do every summer.

I'm still going to Al-Anon, and he knows that I go.

That's about all there is to report.

gf67
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Unread 05-09-2009, 08:31 AM   #115
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Gf

Love to hear you pushing forward with your life. While he may still be in your life, he is not the 'ruler' of your life. It's an important breakaway that you seem to be managing quite well.

I appreciate the updates and hope your summer travels are fun and refreshing. Going anywhere exotic or fun??

Slynn
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Unread 05-09-2009, 10:35 AM   #116
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SLynn,

I think a turning point for me was when someone commented that I was becoming consumed by his problems. The idea that I'd become "consumed" was a real kick in the butt, and it's what compelled me to look more closely at my own emotional health and to go to Al-Anon.

That's not to say that I don't have a wobble now and then. I still have moments of worry that I have to talk myself out of, and I still have moments of sadness when I see him struggle. And while it seems counter-intuitive, I work on taking that step back and doing/saying nothing. And on the occasions when that's particularly difficult, I remind myself how useless (and in some cases, more detrimental) it was when I used to do/say something.

As for my travels, I'm heading to some islands off the coast of Quebec to spend a week hiking, kayaking, cave exploring, and learning how to kite-surf. That last one will be interesting - I've never tried anything like that before. It should be a real adventure!

I'm sad that he can't join me - he loves the same activities and although I'm used to travelling solo, it would be nice to have his company. But then I remember our last vacation together (Labour Day weekend by the lake) when he downed a 1.5 litre bottle of wine, and while it might seem unfair to assume the same would happen, I have to be realistic. "One day at a time" seems to be working, but to be honest, the hard part for me is applying that outside of day-to-day life...trying not to anticipate what might happen if we go away for a weekend together.

Alcoholism doesn't take a vacation, but there's no reason why I can't take a vacation from it.

Hmmm...re-reading that last line makes me realize that I should try to apply that all the time, not just when I'm enjoying myself on a sunny archipelago!

So, yes, I'm moving forward and dealing with my own wobbles as they happen. Hehehe - as you can see, I'm still a work in progress!

Thanks for your continued support.

gf67
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Unread 06-29-2009, 07:44 PM   #117
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Hi gf

How has your summer been and how was the vacation? Would love an update when you can.

SLynn
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Unread 06-30-2009, 01:23 PM   #118
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Hi SLynn,

My vacation isn't until the end of August, and while I wish it was tomorrow, I'm glad for the time to prepare and do some "training" for the physical demands of the hikes and kite-surfing.

There haven't been any developments with my ex, but I've been making some progress. I've been trying to keep Franklin's definition of insanity in mind (doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results). There's been a pattern that hasn't worked for me, so instead of reacting or letting him use my weakness against me, I've started changing my reactions. I still have relapses, but changing my reactions has helped maintain my sanity a bit. As for my ex - well, I think it just confuses him. Then again, the pause that results from his confusion could be a good thing too.

I'm still going to Al-Anon and receiving great support. He's not pleased with that, saying that even though he's doesn't have a drinking problem, he's embarrassed that I'm going (the denial is still ramapant!) and that every Wednesday night is a reminder of what I think of him. Knowing there was no way to placate him, I simply told him, "You've been telling me for a long time that I have "issues" with drinking. I've finally admitted to that and am getting support for it. You can either respect my attempt to deal with that issue, or you can examine why you feel the way you do about it. It's your choice."

So while there hasn't been a change in him, there's been a change in me. I've finally accepted Franklin's definition of insanity and am changing how I look at myself and how I respond. I still have relapses (mostly when he throws something completely unexpected at me) but I have to remember that I'm human and allowed to make (and learn from) mistakes. The most important thing I've learned recently is that I don't have to answer everything. That in itself takes a huge burden off me.

So that's where things stand. It's hard sometimes to remember that he's ill, especially when he's in the throes of it. I still think a lot - about whether there's any hope for him or for us. I'm still trying to figure things out about myself. It's a process, indeed.

Thanks for asking SLynn - how are things for you?

gf67
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Unread 06-30-2009, 11:07 PM   #119
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Stay strong girlfriend67, You are on the right path with Al-Alon. When you have a setback responding the wrong way. Pick youself up & keep going. We strive for progress not perfection. Good luck. R. Lee
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Unread 07-01-2009, 06:14 PM   #120
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Thanks for the reminder, R. Lee.

I've found a bi-weekly meeting in my area for friends/family of those who suffer mental illness, and I'll be going the the next meeting a week from Thursday. In the meantime, does anyone know of any mental health sites like this that offer support for family/friends? At present, the bigger issue seems to be his mental health (major deflection/blame mode, hypersensitivity, etc).

It's hard - I'm reminded that he's sick and not to take it personally, but sometimes it seems like an easy out - especially since he's undiagnosed and in denial of needing help - and has decided to quit couple's counselling. I hate to be skeptical, but I can't help but wonder where to draw the line between compassionate/patient and being a doormat.

So any recommendations for support sites would be most welcome!

Thanks!
gf67

Last edited by girlfriend67; 07-01-2009 at 06:19 PM.. Reason: clarity
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Unread 07-05-2009, 11:23 AM   #121
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How'd your July 4th celebration go? I hope well.....................
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Unread 07-05-2009, 02:36 PM   #122
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gf67, My brother showed up at a birthday party for our grandson at my daughter's house. He brings his son & a cooler full of beer. My brother drinks like I use to. I had asked him earlier if he wanted to bring his family to our house to go out on the boat to watch the fire works. By the time we left because of his behavior. My wife who was celebrating he 10th year of soberity on the 4th said no way was he coming over to our place drunk. I was reluctant to call him & tell him not to come over but I had too. This will probably end up with a big family issue but it comes down to people places & things. At least I went to bed sober. R. Lee
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Unread 07-05-2009, 09:11 PM   #123
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Doug - I'm in Canada, so we celebrate Canada Day on July 1st. It went fine - as per his police training requirements (40 hours of community service), he was volunteering at the local festivities, so there was no opportunity for him to drink (or at least, drink too much). Me - I went to an Al-Anon meeting and then watched some fireworks with friends.

But thanks for asking - hope your holiday went well!

R. Lee - I'm glad that you and your wife made choices that protect your sobriety (congrats on your wife's 10th on the 4th - truly an "independence day" for her), but I can understand your concerns about the fallout from your brother. In my experience (with other relatives, with my 9-years sober friend, and now with my guy), family is a tricky thing between the enabling and the denial.

I remember family reunions where I went knowing who'd be drunk and by what time - so I did my visiting with Grampa or Uncle Hank while it was still "safe." Of course, I was only a kid then - my main concern was the marshmallow roast rather than dealing with the sloppy/sulky drunks.

I've set up boundaries mostly around surly behaviour. Once he gets sulky, I try to make a graceful exit - or if he's at my place, I just ask him kindly if he thinks he'd be more comfortable at his own house. So far, the results have been mixed.

The bottom line for me is staying out of the line of fire and protecting my emotional well-being. Even if it's "just the alcohol talking," I don't need to let myself be a target. Like the family reunions, I'd much rather deal with the marshmallow roast.

Thanks for your posts,
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Unread 07-05-2009, 09:23 PM   #124
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Thanks gf67. This is the 1st time I have told my brother to stay away. I have gone through several emotional feelings today, even getting on the pity pot with the poor me. He 1st supported me but over the years he has been less & less careful on how he drinks around me. R. Lee
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Unread 07-06-2009, 07:47 AM   #125
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R. Lee

You know you did the right thing but there are times when the right thing doesn't feel good. I would guess that whats making you feel uncomfortable is that your brother put you in that position and not the position itself? You knew what to do....but you were forced to do it? Either way, you and your wife must come first and you made the right decision.

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Unread 07-06-2009, 07:53 AM   #126
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gf67

Glad to hear your vacation is coming soon. I give you a lot of credit for taking on a vacation that's so physical. I'm sure it'll be very good for you. I admire your strength both physical and mental, which is stronger than you know, IMO. You work hard on yourself.

I don't know of any sites like this one that's specifically for mental support. I'll do a little research on it (Google) and see what comes up!

Thanks for your update.

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Unread 07-06-2009, 01:48 PM   #127
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Thanks for the kind words, SLynn.

I haven't felt too strong this week. We had an argument on the phone last weekend, and he was absolutely intent on pushing buttons - and boy, did he pick the right ones!

I went to an Al-Anon meeting this week and called one of the members on Saturday to talk some more, which has helped some - if only to see that this is "standard practice" among alcoholics. Needless to say, I'm learning a lot about alcoholic psychology.

On Thursday, he said this in an e-mail: "I have been doing alot of thinking and trying to figure out where I'm going wrong and why I can't get my act together. I do love you and think you are very special. I sorry that I am not treating you in the way that you need in order to realize that."

Unfortunately, he's said this numerous times before, so I can't put too much stock in it. For now, I can only take it one day at a time.

R. Lee and Doug - I'd be interested in your perspective. I mean, I know the "whys" - I guess I'd like to know what kind of effect I might be causing or having on him/his illness.

Thanks muchly!
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Unread 07-07-2009, 10:31 PM   #128
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gf67, wow are you a rock or what? I really admire you! Anyway, when I was drinking everything was very different. I did not need anyone for an emotional relationship. I would just drink, and that's all I needed. I was a different person, and in some ways when I drank I went to a different place. I loved to be alone, to do anything. Watch TV, yard work, walk the dogs, hike in the mountains, shop, anything. All I needed was to be drunk. My wife only mattered when I was sober for a few hours a day, in which I was @ work, and she was @ home. After I stopped drinking(it's been three weeks now), I realize how much I needed her emotionally. Like I said before, there was never any abuse while I was drunk, but I guess the isolation I put myself into was effectivly some kind of abuse. I'm very lucky she hasn't dumped my sorry ass for someone she deserves. I very much admire you for going to al-anon metings alone, wow what guts you have. I hope I have helped a little. Chow.
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Unread 07-08-2009, 10:37 AM   #129
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Thanks for your support and your insight, Doug - but as for being a rock and having guts, some days it doesn't feel that way. That's why I went to Al-Anon to begin with - it was just the right (and at the time, the only) thing to do.

I can see a bit of my story in yours. When he's drinking, he too goes into isolation mode, finding things he "has to get done" or other places he "has to be."

I think part of it is that he realizes he's not always easy to be around when he's been drinking and doesn't want to impose that on me - but then he feels guilty - and sorry for himself that he's alone - so he drinks to soothe himself. Or maybe it's also a bit of shame. I think that even if an alcoholic doesn't think he has a problem (denial), he can still feel that he does.

After all, he's told me that he's embarrassed that I go to Al-Anon, so I think that the shame is emphasized by the fact that, even though he's in denial, he's aware that I'm not fooled, so he has to go to more extreme measures (more isolation, deflecting blame) to protect his drinking. Not to mention the shame he must feel that I'm the one doing something while he remains helpless.

I've often wondered why, if I'm such a "killjoy" and if my knowing is a threat to him, he hasn't just run away. Perhaps it's love, perhaps it's need. Or perhaps it's a case of "keeping your enemies" closer - that he fears that I am more of a "threat" if I'm out of reach (LoL - you can see how the alcoholic's distorted thinking can be contagious!). And while he accuses me for "ruining his enjoyment of drinking," it certainly doesn't stop him from drinking around me...though it seems to curb how much he drinks.

Does that make sense or ring true?

I'm sorry, Doug - and please don't take offence - but isolation, even if unintentional and as a symptom of the disease, is definitely a form of emotional abuse, especially for those unaware of the real problem. But...I'm impressed to see you coming to these revelations about yourself and your relationship. As painful these discoveries are, they will serve you well - and I think any understanding you gain will strengthen your relationship.

By the way...how is your wife coping through the changes? Is she going to Al-Anon?

Speaking of Al-Anon, I have a meeting tonight. I look forward to them not just as a means of support, but because of the potential to help others - even if I can't always help myself.

gf67

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Unread 07-09-2009, 09:57 PM   #130
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gf67 - you are mch stronger than you think. Anyway, Not sure if your man is like me, but I loved to drink. Like I may have said before, I could not think of one day of my life not drinking. I did not want my wife to do anything to get in the way of drinking. It was who I was. I can tell you that if my wife went to a support group and I did not, I would have been ashamed as well as embarassed. We are very private people, and would never think of taking this public, weather it would make things easier. She is still not to sure about this whole not getting wasted everynight. She asked me if I was doing this because I was having an affair?? Where the hell did THAT come from? I think she is generally happy, but still not sure. I'm a different person sober, and she is still trying to adjust to this new man in her life. I was a drinker since the night we met. Hell, I was drunk the night I met her. It was cool then. I guess I was supposed to grow out of that. Well early day tomorrow. I hope I have goten you a little more inside the head of a drunk. I'm glad I know you, and I hope I'm helping ou at least a little. Chow my friend.
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Unread 07-10-2009, 04:52 PM   #131
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Yes, Doug, you are helping

I don't know - maybe strength isn't all it's cracked up to be.

On the one hand, I'm hearing "You're doing great, keep it up," but on the other hand, I'm hearing "It's ultimatum time."

It's confusing and heartbreaking. I'm coming to realizations that I don't want to. I don't want to lose him, but I may have to. I don't want him to spend the rest of his life this way with no one but a family of enablers, but that's what he wants. But I also don't want to live my life this way indefinitely - or if there's no hope. I want the man I fell in love with to return.

So don't praise my strength just yet - I just hope you'll still be glad to know me if I have to bail out on him.

And yes, he likes his wine. In fact, he's told me, "Your issues with alcohol take away from my enjoyment of drinking" - yet it doesn't stop him. He's also said that he sometimes drinks to spite me/my issues - to prove that he doesn't have a problem. He truly has no clue how "alcoholic sounding" he is.

Doug, I can see where your wife came up with the idea of the affair. For years, you gave her the old you - the unhappy you - and she got used to that. Suddenly there's a change and you're happy. You've left her wondering, "If he's never been this happy around me before, what - or who - has him so happy now?" In a way, you're wife is in recovery too, and it will take a while for her to adjust to the new you. You're both going to need a lot of patience with each other, but I have faith in you.

I respect that you're both private people, but the second part of "AA" and "Al-Anon" is "anonymous." I hope that you'll both consider it. Of course, your wife could also post here if she wanted to!

gf67

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Unread 08-03-2009, 07:56 AM   #132
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HI gf67

Just wanted to say hello and hope all is going well for you. You've seemed to be at a turning point lately and I have to wonder what's going on.

SLynn
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Unread 08-03-2009, 11:11 AM   #133
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Hi SLynn - thanks for checking in.

A few things have happened in the past three weeks.

He made a bit of a reconnection with an old friend who he'd been avoiding for the past year (almost two). Around the same time, another of our mutual friends was going to be in town on vacation. With his birthday approaching, I thought it would be nice to get everyone together for a mini-reunion and to recognize his birthday.

I called P (the reconnected friend) to set up a reunion/birthday dinner - what an eye opener. He and his wife had been concerned and wanted to talk. I went over the next night. First we just caught up - in almost two years, we've never hung out despite the friendship they had and my own acquaintance with P. I knew there'd been tension between them and had stayed out of it, trying to respect their privacy, not realizing that P had been trying in vain for almost two years to stay in his life. I was gobsmacked to learn the extent of the behaviours and avoidance - but then I guess it's easier to be in denial one person at a time than in a group of friends.

Then P brought up his concerns. The first was about the possibility of mental illness. Then P said, "My other concern is that he was hitting the sauce again." P said that four years ago, he admitted to P that he was drinking a bottle of wine a night and that it might have contributed to the end of his marriage.

P also mentioned that there are other friends who've expressed concern/questions about the mental health/drinking issues, as well as the concern that his parents are enabling him.

Mostly I just listened (P had been feeling low, wondering what he'd done wrong, etc). At one point, I told P that I might not be able to stick around, and he said, "I'm not going to tell you how to live your life, but if you can just hold on until we get him back in our lives, then we don't have to worry about him slipping completely away," and that if anything happens, he wants to know.

In the end, we decided to maintain things as they have been. We're not going to stage anything or ambush him. We all recognize that there's nothing any of us can do until he makes the decision to get help. As it happens, the dinner party couldn't be arranged, but the guys were able to go out to the driving range one evening.

The past three weeks have been pretty good. He's still drinking but his state of mind has been okay. Of course, it's all one day at a time. The next three weeks could turn around completely.

But at least I now know that I'm not alone in all this - or rather, that he's not alone. It sounds selfish, but if I have to leave, at least I know there are people who will keep an eye on him (that is, if he'll let them).

As for me, I'm continuing to live my life. I've been given a new work assignment for September that makes use of the university course that I did in the spring, so that's pretty exciting (and a bit daunting too - LoL). I've also gotten re-involved in some community theatre (I have one of the lead roles - yikes!) and will be busy with that from September to the end of November. And of course I'm heading off on vacation in three weeks. I continue to go to counselling and Al-Anon, and have been making contact with group members as needed. I've been visiting friends and have two theatre outings planned for the next two weeks. I'm busy and looking forward to my future. I'd prefer to look forward to OUR future, but as long as he keeps making his decisions (drinking, not getting help, etc), I'm going to make mine.

So, that's the latest from this end. Thanks again for checking in.

gf67

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Unread 09-10-2009, 07:25 PM   #134
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I went on vacation and had a blast, and now it's back to reality and work.

On reflection, I realized that this summer was far less stressful than last summer. His attitude toward drinking hasn't changed (he's still in denial), but his circumstances have been different and he hasn't relied as much on numbing himself or self-medicating. I don't know if he's still binge-drinking, because he's not doing it around me or in a way that affects me (as per the boundary that I established). Between that and the help of Al-Anon, I've been able to let go of those worries and "live and let live."

Life has been moving forward for me, and in some ways, for him as well. He's been more even-keeled and has made more effort to socialize outside of me and his family. I recognize that these positives are somewhat fragile - that they might not be permanent or even "real" steps toward his recovery - but I continue to live one day at a time.

Hope you are all well and happy,
K
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Unread 09-11-2009, 03:07 PM   #135
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K, I'm glad your summer has been less stressful. I guess he has to do some more controled drinking. Some get it some don't. Lets hope he wakes up. R. Lee
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Unread 09-11-2009, 05:29 PM   #136
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Thanks, R. Lee.
I agree - he doesn't get it. I hope he wakes up too - before it's too late for him, his kids, and us.
In the meantime (and as selfish as this sounds), I'm glad that he's observing/respecting my boundaries. I'll keep you posted as things happen.
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Unread 01-07-2010, 09:32 AM   #137
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Hi gf67

Wondering how you're doing and how things were over the holidays. It's such a stressful time and a 'pro drinking' time...hope you had peace.

SLynn
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Unread 01-13-2010, 08:55 PM   #138
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Hi SLynn,

Thanks for checking in.

As it happens, in October he decided he didn't "love me in the special way that he should" and he walked away. I told him that I knew I was a threat to his way of life and his future career (he once said that he was concerned about using me as a reference because I'd "have to tell the truth"). Of course he steadfastly denied it.

I didn't try to talk him out of it. I'd been having a full life, letting him in where he wanted to be let in. I started a new phase in my career and was involved in community theatre, so I was busy and I wasn't "fussing" over him the way he was used to. I wasn't chasing or cajoling, and I'd learned not to be baited. It was the right thing to do for myself, but I think it bothered him that I wasn't as focussed on him anymore and maybe even contributed to his sense that it was "too much work". I'd become the centre of my own world and he had to compete for MY time and attention. And I have to agree with him - it IS too much work when he has to work so hard at his denial and deflecting and hiding his drinking.

So while my holidays were peaceful, they were sad. For him too. On New Year's Day, he started sending "I miss you, I love you, can we talk" e-mails. I agreed to talk to him - but I did the calling and I chose a time when I knew he wouldn't be drinking.

He said he's now kicking himself for walking away even though he knew he wasn't good enough for me, that he's confused and sorry for all the hurt he's caused, that he wanted to be friends now, etc. There wasn't really much I could say to him other than that when he forfeited the relationship, he also forfeited the right to expect anything from me - that I needed time.

It was a kind and gentle conversation with a bit of catching up. He wants to maintain contact, but I told him to be patient.

I'm healing one day at a time. I was less affected by his love e-mails than I thought I would be. But then again, it's been three months, and in those three months, I've gained a different perspective. I'm not sure if I still love him, but I am sure of this: for me to be able to be in his life, I'd need real proof that he's on the road to recovery. The way I see it, I would have continued to offer my support for as long as I could - but since he rejected that, I'm not prepared to offer anything unconditional to him.

I have a question for everyone...

At present, the DUI limit in my province has been reduced. It's now illegal to have a blood-alcohol level of .05 or higher. There are media campaigns asking the public to call 911 and report impaired drivers on the road, and to call the local police station if someone you know is habitually driving under the influence. I've been encouraged to contact the police with my ex's name and license plate number so that he's in the system. I know that I shouldn't interfere in his path to rock bottom, but it has been pointed out that his rock bottom (or even his pre-rock bottom) could result in other people being hurt or killed. Would you make the call?

Hmm...maybe I should start a new thread on that just for the sake of discussion...?

Anyway, that's where things sit at present. I'm starting another course next week (jewellery making and silver-smithing) and continuing to enjoy the company of friends and family. I'm even researching my next vacation for the summer. Life goes on...

gf67
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Unread 01-13-2010, 10:02 PM   #139
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gf67-
Hi, I am one of the moderators- nice to meet you. Good for you taking control of your life!

Yes, I would make that call.The way I see it- what if he killed someone, a child? a mother? It would be awful. As I see it, he already knew he was risking his freedoms the minute he drove intoxicated, and if it is habitual then he should be off the road.
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Unread 01-14-2010, 07:56 AM   #140
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gf67

Wow...you've quietly been through a lot in the last couple months. And you seem peaceful to me. I know you've been slowly letting go for quite some time and it's interesting that he was the one to pull the plug. And so typical that after doing so, he has regret and wants to recant the decision. I think it's a huge sign that you can't be sure if you love him and his emails don't stir you in any particular way. I think our girl has moved on! I'm sorry the alcohol was his choice but it makes me happy that YOU were your choice.

As for reporting him to the police department, I would think it's a better option than not alerting them. I don't care if anyone hurts themselves BUT when you will more than likely add in someone totally innocent in your decision to drink...that's just not fair. Still....a very hard decision. I find it interesting that your province is encouraging this. Let us know what happens. I would start a separate thread on it, too.

Good luck with your classes. They sound very interesting! You're keeping yourself busy in such a well rounded way....very healthy. I hope the readers of this site take away something from your choices and implement them in their own lives.

I appreciate the update. Keep them coming.

SLynn
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Unread 01-14-2010, 06:42 PM   #141
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Magda and SLynn - thanks for your replies.

Re: peace...I think that came to me in early August. SLynn, you commented on how I'd been letting go for some time. For the most part, what I was trying to let go of was the hold that his drinking had on me. The last couple months of our relationship had been quite calm and I was hopeful (but not unrealistically so) that we'd found some middle ground. I think I'd finally embraced "Live and let live" and had finally conquered the guilt (of abandoning him, his kids, etc).

So it was quite a shock when out of the blue he announced it was over. Just the week before he hired a babysitter to spend some time with me - something he hadn't done in over a year. At the time, it was a hopeful sign that he was making an effort, but one week later he was gone.

He has made a few references to not wanting to be saved, that he has to fix it himself, etc so I don't think he's totally unaware. Just running scared - and perhaps miffed because I wouldn't play along or be manipulated.

He also said that there were so many times when he "could/should have" been with me, but chose not to. And while he denies it, I'm sure that it was a choice FOR alcohol, not AGAINST me.

Yes, he regrets leaving me but isn't looking to get back together. He has another four months at college and he's broke - on top of all the confusion that his addiction and mental health issues have created. He's lonely and misses me. Whether he's still "truly" in love with me or just nostalgic is hard to say. We all know the "value" of an addict's love.

I'd like to think that he was being selfless ("saving" me from his issues), but I know how selfish an addict is. Add to that his psych issues, and I'm left to believe that he acted in his own best interest (to save his relationship with alcohol at all costs). In a strange way, that has made it a bit easier for me.

Re: DUI in my province...It's only been in the last two months that I've heard ads on the radio encouraging people to report "anything that appears to be driving under the influence". I spoke to our campus police officer about the ads, and it was he who told me that the police would welcome information about people who are known to drive while impaired. He gave the same examples that Magda did.

I don't know how "habitual" my ex's impaired driving is. A lot of people can drive after two drinks and still be "legal" - but those are standard servings. My ex doesn't drink standard servings, so his idea that two drinks wouldn't put him over the limit is a fallacy.

Then there's "morning after" driving. If he drinks one litre of wine from 7pm to midnight and then gets in the car seven hours later, there's a chance that he's still impaired.

As you can imagine, my police officer colleague gave me a lot of food for thought.

Anyway, thanks for the support. I may have been quiet on here, but I can tell you that I spent many evenings sobbing and ranting at the realization that his addiction is stronger than our love. But as I said, three months puts things into perspective. I don't know what will happen down the line. Obviously I'd love for him to get help and get sober, but I'm not living for that. Just living for me.

gf67
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Unread 01-20-2010, 12:49 AM   #142
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GF67,

If you know someone is driving drunk - by all means let the Police know. How would you feel if someone was hurt or killed because you chose not to act. Just my opinion.

When I was drinking my universe centered around my ability to plan my next drink(s). Sad but true. Your boyfriend may care for you but as you mentioned he cares for alcohol more. Also quite sad and also quite true;
in my opinion.

Good luck with your classes.

Regards
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Unread 01-20-2010, 09:36 AM   #143
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Thanks for your response, Saint.

I think that, for the most part, the recent campaign against DUI has focused on seeing actual impaired driving on the road - or seeing someone under the influence get behind the wheel.

In my case, it's more a case of presuming (albeit, the presuming is based on the change in my ex's attitude toward what constitutes "too much"). That's what was giving me pause, not to mention having to search within myself to ensure that it was a choice made out of concern and not anger or spite.

In the end, I did give my ex's name/license plate number to the police. I thought I'd feel like a rat, but the "what ifs" (the safety of others, in particular his kids) have outweighed that.

Thanks for your support!
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Unread 01-20-2010, 08:58 PM   #144
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Hi gf67

Let us know if anything happens with the police notification. I would be interested to hear how that plays out.

I have high hopes for you, gf. Even though you spend time ranting, raving and sobbing over his decisions, you are choosing yourself first and hopefully those times will get fewer and farther between. You are a testament that it can be done.

Slynn
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Unread 01-20-2010, 09:37 PM   #145
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Thanks, SLynn. Those times have already been fewer and farther between. Like I said, three months allows for a different perspective, and while I miss the good in him, I haven't missed the hard stuff.

He realizes that leaving me was the biggest mistake he's made and wants to put it right. He wants to see me, to "go on a date and talk about us and see where that goes."

I told him I'm not ready for that yet.

What I haven't told him (yet) is that I can't go back to the way things are - and the way he is. That I need him to be sober and getting help. That I need his family to be on board.

That if he thought being in our relationship was "hard work", it will be even harder work to win me back or start over, knowing what I now know.

I think it's naive to think that I love him enough to go back to him as he is - or that I love him more than I love myself or my own peace of mind. Or maybe it's not naivete - maybe it's part of the denial, entitlement, etc.

When we reconciled last year, we'd only been apart one month. My feelings of love and loss were too keen to let my common sense prevail. This time, we're almost at the four-month point since the break-up. My heart has started healing - and perhaps hardened a bit. I feel like I'm both incapable and unwilling to offer unconditional love and support, especially since *he* rejected both when he walked away.

Am I falling out of love with him? Perhaps. Or maybe I've just reclaimed myself.

What I find interesting is that there seems to be a seasonal cycle attached to his behaviours and decisions. January is his time of confusion and/or remorse, mid-spring is his time of doubt, summer is his time of being lost, and other than the autimn when we first started out, the autumn seems to be his time of running away and denial. And I can't help wonder sometimes if starting our relationship was a form of denial (or at least a distraction) from his problems.

So, the sobbing and ranting has subsided. In some ways, my life has gone back to the way it was before "us". It's a bit sad that it took just a few months to settle into life without him, but I think that's normal. in other ways, my life won't be the same. For now, I'm trying not to think what loving an addict has done TO me, but rather what it has done FOR me.

Thanks again

gf67

p.s. A college strike is looming so my course was cancelled. Guess I can't use that as an excuse to avoid the gym now!
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Unread 08-07-2010, 09:59 AM   #146
SLynn
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gf67~

I wanted to check in with you...it's been a long time. Would love to hear how things are going.

SLynn
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Unread 08-07-2010, 11:22 AM   #147
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Hi SLynn,

Thanks for checking in. I might not have been posting, but I've been checking in and reading others' posts. I guess I've been at that stage where I need to work through things on my own - take off the training wheels, so to speak.

A couple months (and a few heart-to-heart talks) after my last post, we did start dating again and continue to do so. I know, I know - I must look like a fool for giving him another chance.

But things *have* changed. I continue to be successfully involved in community theatre and have made new friends through that. I'm busy and happy. And while he's still in my life, I feel free!

I'm so much stronger than I was. It's so much easier for me to walk away, or hang up, if he's impaired...and I worry less about whether or not he's drinking. I think I finally understand Live and Let Live - it's not about "letting" him live the way he chooses; it's about being accepting his choices. The sense of guilt and responsiblity have faded, and I've discovered acceptance and serenity. It's still work to maintain it, but I'm feeling good.

I think part of it is that I know I *can* walk away of I have to - and not only will I survive, I will thrive. Not that I see the relationship (or him) as dispensible...just that I feel like I have options, and even if I have to pick the unhappy option, I know I'll be okay.

To his credit, he's given more creedance to my needs. He avoids excessive drinking around me. But to *my* credit, I've stood firm about my needs . I think the time I chose the one-hour drive home at 11:30 pm over seeing him drink had an impact. How much remains to be seen...but the really important thing is that I *used my option*. And while I was disappointed to have a cottage-weekend shortened, I wasn't angry or upset as I drove home. I felt at peace. I felt in control of myself.

I still see Joan (my counsellor) every two months or so, but I've stopped going to Al-Anon. I think I needed to focus on me as "me" rather than the friend of an alcoholic. But I keep what I learned in Al-Anon close to my heart and head, and I know that it's there if I feel the need to go again.

Sometimes I feel like a bit of a fool - going back after all my protestations. And I continue to ask myself why I'm with him when I know that he'll never make the move toward recovery. I guess the simple answer is that I love him. As for the really hard answers, I'm still working on those

Thanks for checking in - hope you are well
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Unread 08-10-2010, 08:44 AM   #148
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gf67

So glad to hear from you. You sound good...I don't know how else to say it. Your choices are your own, what's right for you at this time in your life. Only you can decide what you want for yourself. It seems you've taken control of this uncontrollable situation the best way you know how. You can't fix him but you CAN fix yourself and how you deal with it...and that's exactly what you've done.

It's a fine line or a "gray area" when loving someone with alcohol misuse. Don't consider yourself a fool. These are the questions that go through my mind: Do you love them enough to stay with them knowing they are sick? Or do you love yourself enough to pick yourself over the other person? So many factors play into this and the main thing is safety and security. Are you safe and living a life that doesn't abuse you, as well? It seems you've chosen yourself first with very clear boundaries when it comes to how he fits in your life. If you're both happy this way...then it's works for you. We can't help who we love....but we can choose how to love them.

I'm happy for you, gf. You seem to be staying busy and living/loving life. THAT'S what it's all about.

SLynn
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Important disclaimer: Any information in this post is not and does not constitute medical advice under any circumstances. Addiction Survivors, Inc. does not warranty or guarantee the accurateness, completeness, adequacy or currency of the information contained in or linked to the Site. Your use of information on the Site or materials linked to the Site is entirely at your own risk. NEVER take any online advice over that of a qualified healthcare provider. Any information contained on AddictionSurvivors.org should only serve to inspire further investigation with credible, verifiable references sources such as your physician or therapist.
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Unread 08-10-2010, 11:01 AM   #149
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As always, SLynn...thanks for the support.

You're so right about that gray area. I don't really like the hard-ass role I have to adopt at times, but it does get results. I've learned that keeping it short ("That's not acceptable/appropriate") and direct ("This is the consequence of your actions") is the best way to go.

It seems to be sinking in that he's free to make his own choices, but that *I* am also free to make (and enact) my own choices. And regardless of the level of "success", I feel much more peace and contentment. And I feel healthy.

It's funny - for so long, I thought the best course of action was to try to control the situation. Now I see that the best thing is to put the ball in his court - let him make his decisions and let him deal with the consequence of them. It's all about accountability.

I can't say that *he* is entirely happy with this change in me, but he has the choice to reject that and walk away. I sometimes wonder if he's staying *because* I haven't backed down...almost as if he wants some control in his life but can't quite get it for himself. That's the one thing I don't think even he can answer. I know he loves me, but I also think he's fully aware that I'm the only person in his life who hasn't given up on him (either through enabling or abandoning him), and I don't think he wants to lose that.

But despite the role that he might see me in, my first duty is to myself. I'm not his saviour or his moral compass. I'm just a woman who loves a man with a problem, hoping for (but not living for) the day that he will take care of his problem, but making sure that *I* don't get sucked into it.

Thanks again for checking in! Hope you're well and happy
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Unread 08-10-2010, 09:44 PM   #150
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K, I think you are right about him wanting you to control things so he has a reason to drink. Let him dig that hole deeper. He has to want sobriety for himself 1st & foremost.
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