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Am I enabling my boyfriend to continue addiction by staying with him?
February 2, 2007
1:04 pm
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Tilde
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I've tried so many times to break away from my boyfriend who's got an addiction to alcohol and coke. He always says he'll change but a week of sobriety usually ends with him disappearing on yet another binge.

I've got the classic codependency personality and know from previous relationship that I tend to put up with a lot before I finally leave. I really do love this guy but am beginning to realise that my being there for him actually is helping him to continue his destructive lifestyle.

What I really want is to stay with him but I know in my heart that I should get out. How do I make myself leave him? It cant get much worse than it already is but still I dont seem to be able to walk away.

He's hurt me so much already so why am I letting myself continue to get hurt?

February 2, 2007
3:26 pm
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AGODSGURL
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I'm in the same boat but yes, they say we are codependent and the best thing to do is stop enableing. It hurts me to pieces to leave him but deep down inside I know I have to for him to get better. Because if I don't he will probably leave us by something really bad happening to him or worst death.

February 2, 2007
4:22 pm
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CAMER
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its hard to break up, but you both know that the relationship is not good...one thing that did help me break from my past addictive relations was attending Coda meetings....www.coda.org
then i realized that there was help for me, and i became much stronger.

I think if you start thinking of yourself more, and how worthy you really are, it will boost your self esteem, and hopefully some day you
will just have the courage to walk away.

Time and time again, i have heard the same story, "yeah, i'll stop drinking" but it never ever happened, and the more you take him back and the more you accept his behavior, the deeper you may fall into the pattern of not wanting to break away, cuz you are so "used" to the way things are, sometimes becoming numb.

I wish you both strength and courage to at least take baby steps on breaking up and know that once you do you will feel so much better about yourself and life.

(((camer)))

February 2, 2007
5:23 pm
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nappy
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YOU ARE CO-DEPENDENT AND YOU NEED TO READ THE BOOK OR GET THE CD
"CO-DEPENDENCY NO MORE"
YOU WILL FIND YOUR ANSWERS THERE.
GOOD LUCK!

February 2, 2007
10:50 pm
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atalose
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When the pain of staying becomes greater then the pain of leaving, you'll leave.

Each of us has a different thresh hold for pain.

Fear is always another reason many stay in un-happy and un-healthy relationships. Fear of being alone, fear of not ever finding someone else, financial fears.
I think the key is to really look inside of yourselves and ask what your fears are? Then work on over coming those fears which will help you become stronger.

It always helps to put together an exit plan of sorts. While you are working on you and making yourself stronger, work on a plan. Where would you go, how much money would you need to support yourself, etc.etc. Set some goals and attempt to reach them.

Keep posting and venting, many here have or are going through the same thing.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

February 3, 2007
4:30 am
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passionflower
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"He's hurt me so much already so why am I letting myself continue to get hurt? "

You will find the answer to your question on another website:

http://www.empoweredrecovery.com

February 3, 2007
7:06 am
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Dear Tilde,

I too share your pain and frustration of being in an unhealthy relationship. Rescuers unite!

Their primary relationship is with their drugs of choice not us.

The question might be "Am I willing to continue in this unhealthy relationship or ... be healthy without him?

You will know when you are genuinely are ready to leave, and then begins the breaking up process, which is not easy either. Part of the difficulty for me was the disconnect between my heart and my head. I knew intellectually this was not good for me, yet my heart would say, "You still love him" I accepted that I had been primed for this type of relationship given my childhood (both parents alcoholic). My tolerance and patience knew no bounds ... boundaries. It is about setting boundaries of behaviour isn't it? I knew I would not do to him what I allowed him to do to me so it was my responsibility to fix myself not him.

Healthy lovers do not hurt each other by their behaviour but enrich each other's life and grow. Time to now focus on ourselves and do what is best for us letting go with love of the chaos and pain we are in.

Take great care of yourself and be well.

February 3, 2007
8:19 pm
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Tilde
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Thanks for your advice everyone,

I think that I know that leaving is the best thing I could do but as Littlespirit writes, it's not easy to disconnect heart and head. A voice in my head says that I should stay because I do love him, but rationally I know that it wont do any good.

I packed my bags and left yesterday and it's so very hard at the moment. He's begging me to come back but I'm starting to really understand that he wont stop. I am trying very hard not to pick up the phone but I find it incredibly difficult not to have any contact.I make up excuses in my head like: "It'll only be for a couple of days to show him that I'm serious about leaving." I'm basically lying to myself and people around me, in a sense I'm just like him: This time it'll be different and then it starts all over again with me going back and him back on the binges a couple of days later.

It hurts so much thinking that he'll probably find another girl in no time. I feel ill just thinking about it.Just like I'm codependent, he's actually very similar in that he's quite needy and he seems to always have someone there to pick up the pieces. It hurts me to think that I could've been anyone while I felt that he is or used to be the love of my life.

I just want my life back. I just hope that I'll be a bit stronger this time.

February 3, 2007
11:39 pm
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Hi Tilde

Good for you for getting out of an addictive relationship. Addicts have nothing to give you, they only take away from you.

I have learned a lot about myself and why I was always attracted to addicts when I started going to AlAnon. I attract them, and they are attracted to me. I make excuses for their faults, thinking their good qualities make up for the bad, but they really don't. And the worst thing is, they just take and take of you until there may not be much left.

If it helps to think of your split as only a few days, so be it. You are already smarter than a lot of us here - you got out. After the initial grieving, I think you will find a more peaceful life and get to know yourself better.

Good luck. You will be stronger this time. Try to avoid contact of any kind until you regain some strength.

February 3, 2007
11:41 pm
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startingover
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Hi Tilde

Good for you for getting out of an addictive relationship. Addicts have nothing to give you, they only take away from you.

I have learned a lot about myself and why I was always attracted to addicts when I started going to AlAnon. I attract them, and they are attracted to me. I make excuses for their faults, thinking their good qualities make up for the bad, but they really don't. And the worst thing is, they just take and take of you until there may not be much left.

If it helps to think of your split as only a few days, so be it. You are already smarter than a lot of us here - you got out. After the initial grieving, I think you will find a more peaceful life and get to know yourself better.

Good luck. You will be stronger this time. Try to avoid contact of any kind until you regain some strength.

February 4, 2007
5:32 am
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hopeful for change
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Have you read co-dependent no more? Or attended al-anon? It sometimes is more complex than just leaving an addict, because alot of times you'll end up with another one.

As far as the boyfriend goes...they usually have to hit bottom and sometims that doesn't sober them up either. The longer we take care of them, fix there screw ups, coddle them, blame them, etc etc - we are just being part of the cycle.

As codependent we learn to take care of everyone but ourselves. If we are focusing on fixing them, then we can take the focus off ourselves.Atleast that's my experience.

Be thankful you aren't married yet. The reason i am telling you this is I have been repeating the pattern forever. Even when I thought I for sure wasn't going to be dealing with drug addict I ended up with an alcholic. Completely diffenet packaging, social appearance, income level etc. but still an addict.

My dad an alcholic, my mom a codependent.

I don't know how old you are, or if you have already had this pattern.

I do know one of my biggest problems with my ex's was, I was in love with a dream. The dream that if he would just get off drugs, everything would be great. I believed his lies, and the few moments of good, which were lies. I was in love with a fantasy. I wasn't in love with the way things actually were, if that makes sense.

February 4, 2007
6:48 am
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Tilde
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I can identify with so many things that I read on this website. I always suspected that I attract addicts of all kinds but I didnt know anything about codependency, and am just starting to read up on it now but havent read any books so far.

Just like Hopefulforchange I have been in love with a dream. The person I fell in love with is not the same anymore. I asked him, how come he was able to control himself when we first met and he replied that he didnt want to scare me away, and then little by little it started getting worse. I'm 25 and although I've had some intense relationships (which were also unhealthy in various ways) before I've never been in love this passionately and I think that I ignored a lot of the signs early on.
It all started going downhill fast after I went away for a month and he went off the rails.

He's been sleeping with other women when he's been off his head, he's borrowed lots of money from me, one night he headbutted me in the face and tried to strangle me and then not even remembering what happened, the list goes on and on. I even moved out from the flat that we shared with a friend of mine because of his drinking/drugging and now that I've left I find myself homeless, am writing this from a friends living room.

No matter how bad things have become since things started to go really wrong, I have still been chasing after my initial feelings of being passionately in love and its hard to realise that this love will never come back, perhaps it never did exist and as absurd as it seems now I started believing in love again when I met this man.

Hope I'm not going on too much, there are so many people who've had it far worse and who have kids for example. For me it's easier, I can just take my things and leave, I only have to win the struggle with my own mind.

Although I see that it will be a long struggle, it feels like I'm starting to see things more clearly, before I felt that I was going mad, I didnt understand why I was clinging so desperately to such a destructive relationship. At least I know now that its because I'm codependendent. I'll definitely look up AlAnon and the books recommended.

Although sad, it really helps to hear that there are lots of people out there sharing the same pain and disappointment and grief.

February 4, 2007
1:55 pm
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Matteo
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hopeful for change
~ Sorry but I disagree with the “enabling” part and being a part of a cycle. If someone “enables” somebody else’s behavior, it would imply that stopping the “enabling” would stop that behaviour, which is not the case. Your father would keep drinking no matter how your mother would behave and Tilde’s boyfriend will not stop drinking if she leaves him. Drinking or any kind of other addiction is a personal issue and a choice of the person who is an addict; his or her behaviour will change only if the addicted person will decide to do so, and regardless of what whoever close to him/her will do. By staying in that kind of relationship you may be “enabling” your own codependent behaviour, but not anybody else’s” behaviour or addiction.

February 5, 2007
9:33 am
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hopeful for change
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Well in my case, enabling him to keep the pattern going. He would screw things up and I would over compensate, fix things etc so that he never felt the impact of the things he did, I fixed everything, made it better. I call that enabling him.

Yes, he would drink or do drugs wether I was around or not. But, if he had to face the loss of all the thing he did maybe it would have gotten him to his "bottom" sooner, maybe he could have realized what he was actually doing and pulled his head out and got help.

In my case I was killing myself trying to fix everything for everyone, do it all, make it all ok.

So I disagree with you, but that's ok.

For example, right now I know a guy who is a meth addict. He goes to jail, his parents bail him out. He is evicted, his parents pay his rent. He sells his car for crack, his parents buy him a new one. That is enabling, he is not suffering the consequences of his behaviours, and as long as someone is doing this...he will not ever have a chance of getting it together.

February 5, 2007
12:10 pm
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Matteo
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The guy you know has a chance to get it together every time he makes a decision to go ahead and use drugs, no matter what his parents will or won’t do for him. The parents are making his life easier, most probably for their own sake, but they are not making him use or not use whatever he is addicted to. Sure, some have to hit the bottom to wake up, but do you know when it will happen? For most of them the bottom is very low, or simply there is no bottom at all. There is a very small percentage of addicts who actually are successful with curing their addictions, please keep that in mind, no matter if they hit their bottom earlier or later or never at all. If you prefer thinking that your codependent behaviour is reinforcing someone’s addiction...I guess there is not much anyone can do about it. You could flip it over and blame the addict for your codependency, that his addiction is "enabling" your codependency if you thinking the other way around. I might agree if you are both not adults responsible for your choices, otherwise codependency is your issue and addiction is his issue.

I lived with an alcoholic. I never fixed anything for him, never covered up for him, and never helped him in any way. His drinking was his responsibility, for him to cover up if he wished so and for everyone to see if he didn’t. I left the first chance I had and I left forever. He married again, and kept doing what he was doing. His second wife left him. He lost his drivers license, his health, his apartment, his friends, family, and jobs one after another. He is practically almost on the streets now. Still drinking. Nobody was ever “enabling” him; he put himself in the hole where he is now. At the time, according to him, “I” was responsible for his drinking – because I did or not do whatever I did, then his second wife, always someone or something was "making him" or "helping him" drink. I am sure that his second wife felt that she was actually “enabling” him and was responsible for his behavior. I, for one, refuse to see it that way.

February 5, 2007
5:25 pm
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Hello Tilde

To begin I agree with Matteo that "enabling" is a concept which attaches a modicum of responsibility to an issue that has little to do with those of us in relationship with an addict. They may or may not deal with their addiction regardless of what we do. We too are powerless.

I don't know what your issues are yet for me I stuggle with abandonment. As a result I am tolerant of intolerable behaviour to a fault ... my own fault. I accept that when I remain in a relationship because I "love" I end up abandoning myself and my value system. I ask myself "Is this loving behaviour" from him or toward myself ... and can truely answer "No"

Attachment is a tricky concept Tilde and I encourage you to explore the different forms of attachment and see if it helps you to understand the disconnect between heart and head. In closing may I quote the saying ...

If I always do what I've always done ... I always get what I always got.

Be well and strong

February 6, 2007
8:51 am
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hopeful for change
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I agree that we are powerless over anyone else's addiction or anyone else's anything. The only person we have power over is ourselves. I don't blame someones addiction or on myself, but I do think that when people keep fixing it for them, its enabling.

I know that personally when I kept trying to give my all, take care of all the responsilbity, fix all the problems, and deal with the abuse physically and mentally it emotionally destroyed me. I thought that if he loved me he would choose me over the drugs. But like someone said asking a drug addict to choose you over the drug is like...saying to someone with pneumonia if you loved me you wouldn't cough.

And my personal favorite, trying to get love from an active addict, is like going to the hardware store for milk.

Tilde, I don't want this post to be about if someone agrees with me or not, this is about what's going on with you. And I know what you are going through is tough. Then when it escalates into violence, you have to realize that, that isn't love. Him hurting you physically regaurdless if his excuse is he was high or whatever, is not acceptable.

When i got the book codependent no more, someone gave it to me, and I thought it was going to teach me how to get him off drugs. They gave no explanation of the book, just gave it to me. I was floored when I read it. It seemed to be exactly about me, and I think alot of us have the same feeling. It really clicked in my head.

Al-anon was great, and it was so helpful to hear other people in the same boat. Their are usually many meetings all over at all different times and days and no cost. If you don't prefer one meeting go to a different one and see how you like it. Sometimes that was what held me together.

I am no expert, just been there.

I wish you the best.

February 6, 2007
9:43 am
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Hi Tilde,

I hope today you find some peace with your decision.

It is your life and you get to decide what feels right for you. I left my husband who drinks, many times to keep myself safe. I have learned that my past fears have prevented me from enjoying the moment. In Al-Anon, I learned to focus on myself. Doing that has helped me to take care of myself. I still live with my husband and sometimes I still want to leave. I hope that you can learn that you didn't cause it, you can't control it, or cure it. It being the addiction. The focus is on, YOU. You get to chose how to live your own life and who you want to live it with.

We are doing a book study on Codependent No More on the Liberation Side of this site, and would love for all to join!

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