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on the way to being the ex
July 13, 2007
12:53 am
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Anonymous
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I met T three months ago. He's in his late 30's and has a five year old child from a previous relationship. He's a very caring and loving man, and he's obviously done a lot of work on himself, in terms of facing some of his issues (unlike many men I've known), and we seem to want the same things in life. Namely, to live a balanced, healthy, happy life.

He introduced me to his parents, and we get along very well. He'd been staying with them, following his separation from his ex-wife (while he finds a new job and gets back on his feet after following a rehab treatment)

I realized within a few days of knowing him that he had a drinking problem after I saw that he started drinking one day and just kept going late into the night.

Turns out T is an occasional binge drinker, so he managed to convince me he wasn't an alcoholic for a couple of months, until it became clear he can't control his drinking at all once he starts. When he's sober, he's a lovely man. His ex is also an alcoholic and she's doing her best to push all his buttons. I was really apprehensive about all of this, but T seems very adamant about wanting to turn his life around, and I know he's got what it takes to do it.

He said he wanted to get better, partly because he really wants our relationship to work out (and mostly because he's recognized he can't control his problem) and he went into a rehab program three weeks ago (it's a month-long program). Now he's saying they are willing to release him a few days early since he's apparently doing so well with the program. His parents have told him they'll only help him out during the transition period if he finished the program till the very last day he was signed up for - as a symbol of his commitment to sobriety.

I was going to offer to stay with me for a while, but now that he's being so stubborn about leaving the program early, I'm not sure it's such a great idea as could spell disaster. I've said I'd stand by him during recovery only IF he shows concrete signs of his desire to stay sober because I don't see why I should continue being involved with a person who is not being serious about kicking their addiction.

T is the one who introduced me to his parents to begin with - he even asks me to pass on messages to them since he's only able to make limited amounts of calls. Now he's saying he can't pursue the relationship with me because he won't tolerate having his girlfriend being involved with his parents. I've noticed he has a lot of double-standards like that, and it makes me feel uneasy every time.

I tend to get sucked into co-dependent relationships, so I've recognized this whole dynamic as being unhealthy and I've told him he'll need lots of time to prove himself, and he gets mad at me when I say that, says he doesn't want to continue seeing me, then after he's had a few hours to think about it (or a day or two), he invariably apologizes and promises to do the right right.

My instinct at this point is - I haven't known him that long, I wanted to see him through his recovery and now he's not willing to take even small steps to show he can be trusted, then I should just walk away and not give him the time of day or the opportunity to try and sway me. He's a very charming fellow and very persuasive that way.

It's hard though, because I know he has so much potential and I don't want him to end up on the street... and I do believe some people ARE capable of turning their lives around. But shouldn't he as a recovering addict be more willing to work at regaining people's trust? Am I wrong in believing that if he's not wanting to do that then I probably shouldn't trust him?

I'm confused. Am I being too mistrusting or is this a clasic case of the addict displaying lack of morals or integrity? Does the saying "never trust an addict" ALWAYS have to be true? Don't some addicts actually manage to turn their lives around?

Any insights more than welcome.

July 13, 2007
6:48 am
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taj64
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Are you in love with the potential or the reality because the reality is that he is an alcholic. Some just never recover from it. Alcoholics are usually very charming people.As I read your post, you are headed for disaster. You said that he doesn't want a girlfriend that is close with his parents. Maybe his parents know about him too much and that is the reason why he wants to control the relationship. Relationships with alcholohics rarely work out. It has been 3 months for you, get out while you can. Wanting and doing are two different things. You are wanting sometihng that is not there. My suggestions is get out while you can and find a guy who has all these potential qualities. Just because you think he could be a good man doesn't mean he will become it. My ex husband was an alcholic. Sure I stood by him all three times he went to rehab and left me to take care of the kids. Yes I was but then later when he sucked my support right out of me because he could stay sober for awhile and then not. Just be careful. I see all too often women trying to rescue and give up a good life to take care and stand by these alcoholic men. It is all about them and their disease and where is the support for you, what about you? It is all about his problems. Just look out for what you need.

July 13, 2007
7:27 am
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sad sack
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Hi girlfriend,

Trust your instincts on this one.

There are way too many red flags here to ignore.

1. He lives with his parents.
2. HE BINGE DRINKS!!!!!!
3. He resents your relationship with his parents.
4. He is unemployed.
5. He has shown, through his unwillingness to complete the program, that he is not serious about his recovery. Actions do speak louder than words.
6. You're already playing the "helper" role. You planned on having him coming to stay with you. You act as the middle man (so to speak) between him and his parents.
7. He threatens to leave the relationship when things don't go his way. But then changes his mind. This is his way of controlling you.

The line "...he has so much potential...", is a classic codependent statement.
You said you tend to gravitate towards codependent relationships, and you are doing it again.

You need to step back from this unhealthy situation and focus on yourself. Why is it that you act codependently? If you don't address that issue, you will keep being attracted to (and attracting) these type of men.

You asked for opinions - well, my opinion is that you need to get out of this relationship.

I wish you the best.

sad

July 13, 2007
10:09 am
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turnabout
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Yeah, trust your instincts.

Do you want to spend the rest of your life, or heck, the next few months attached to a man's potential? Potential can be a wonderful thing, but only if they're are really working toward fulfilling it. Addicts and most people with whom codeps get involved are ALL potential, but very little work.

Let him fulfill his potential and THEN come back to you if he's interested. I mean, you don't want someone who is POTENTIALLY trustworthy, do you? You want someone who IS trustworthy. There are some potentials that a person just can't afford to wait around for their development. They need to BE their, already in place ... developed ... or you don't have a starting point for working on those other potentials that are supposed to be in development during a relationship ... like establishing mutual goals and dreams for home and family.

July 13, 2007
10:11 am
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horsefly
this is off....be on this forum for years....not just since last year..we can email each other Now? that Nappy is long gone....
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Hi the girlfriend, I have learned through my experiences with alcoholics/drugaddicts is they are the only one responsible for their recovery. He will have to make alot of changes that requires meeting and focusing on his own self and program. If he is serious about getting clean, this will be his main focus. Atleast one year of going to meetings and participating before he even starts to think a about a solid relationship. Anyone can change, if they are commited, but most go in and out and remain alcoholics ( there is a low recover rate). I suggest for you to focus on yourself and live your life. But if you find you are having a hard time with things, keep posting here. There are alot of people here who have go through alot of stuff. If you find yourself still with this guy, be sure to check out Alanon for yourself . Take Care, horsefly

July 13, 2007
11:01 am
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nappy
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The one thing that I have learned about a alcoholics or drug addicts is that they have to hit rock bottom. They have to hit it hard in order for them to say to themself that they want help. A recovering alcoholics knows that he/she can not take another drink once they are sober. They can't even convince themselves that they can take just one drink and be alright with it.
Take the time to really listen to what the other people on here have to say about what they went through with an addict. Some stories are not pretty. You as the kind person that you are can not change this man. You are not responsible for the out come of his life. Not even his parent.
I have a friend that is going through hell with a alcoholic, she thought very much that she could change him. I tried very much to tell her that she couldn't but you know how things goes, you have to test the water for yourself before you find out that it is to hot to stay in and you need to get out. She was once a beautiful person and now he has just drag her through the mud with his problems and she looks like she is the one that is drinking. When I was telling her about him, she just laugh, now he went from drinking beers to drinking hard alcohol.
Please don't settle for less just because you want a man. Be the strong woman that you are and take care of yourself. You only have one life to live, so please live it and enjoy yourself then to be stuck into something that you will wish that you never gotten yourself into.
Take care
Nappy!

July 13, 2007
11:16 am
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CAMER
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true what Nappy said about hitting rock bottom.

Did you ever find out the reason why him and his ex divorced? did alcohol have something to do with it?

Just be careful, he could be just wanting someone to stand by him, even if he leaves rehab early....stick with your instincts on this, I wish i did the same in the past with an bf who was alcoholic and went thru "many" rehabs and I saw too blind or in too much denail to want to get out...but i finally did.

Use that inner voice of yours and hear what it is saying. Sounds like you want out of this relationship, and yes, he may be a great guy when sober, but now he has to show you he can stay clean and sober.

((be careful with your heart)) Camer

July 13, 2007
11:28 am
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fantas
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As it has been said trust your insticts, wait until his full potential is actualized because that's what you deserve. We help children actualize their potential not adults.

I am yet to hear anyone released from a program early because they are doing so well. Perhaps it happens but there is a reason they have the days set at they are in these places. They cannot make anyone stay so they will let him go if that is what he wants. Those coming out of the program are advised to stay out of relationships for atleast one yeat afte they come out, if they aren't in any at the time they enter. There is a reason for that too because it takes about that time to go through the steps and be able to look at themselves honestly.

Most addicts are pleasant manipulators. They know how to get what they want and have mastered the art of guilt tripping so you are headed for a whirlwind if you let him move in with you.

Have you considered attending Alanon?
All the best to you. Keep posting.

July 13, 2007
1:04 pm
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StronginHim77
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I have only known TWO recovered addicts in my entire life. (I am 57 and a minister, so I see ALOT.)

Only TWO. And both of them had nearly "miraculous" interventions which delivered them from their addictions (one was addicted to crack; one to alcohol). But the vast majority of addicts do not make it.

And they make life hell for anyone around them. They are master manipulators and attract people who are codependent and want to "fix" them...who see the "potential" in them.

OK. He is trying to bail out of rehab, before completing the program. BAD NEWS.

He gets angry with you being the intermediary with his parents. (Translation: You will know too much and none of you will be as easily manipulated by him). MORE BAD NEWS.

He is unemployed. BAD NEWS.

He already has one failed marriage. BAD NEWS.

He wants a relationship with you now, although most rehab programs advise waiting a MINIMUM of one (1) YEAR, before entering into a personal relationship. BAD NEWS.

I see nothing but problems here. I don't care how charming he is (on his sober days) or how much "potential" you see in him. Step back. Let him complete his rehab. Let him do the work. Let him get a home of his own and fulltime employment. Let him establish a sober life for a year, while being self-supporting.

Then -- and only then -- could you even remotely consider allowing this man into your life.

Since you have only known him a few months, I would advise you to leave now, before any more "history" takes place. The longer you wait, the harder it will get.

This guy is NOT nice, my friend. You deserve better.

- Ma Strong

July 13, 2007
1:37 pm
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Your line "It's hard though, because I know he has so much potential and I don't want him to end up on the street" This is a huge red flag that is going to end in heartache. I speak from experience. I was married to an alcholic/addict who was sober for years and then went off the deep end. This man is NOT working on his issues he needs to be in a program for the rest of this life and I do not believe at this point he should even be in a relationship. I am also a recovering alcoholic (7 yrs). It sounds like you are more into what he could be and how some people do change. IT IS RARE. I want to say, living with an alcoholic active or someone trying to get sober is the most painful thing I have ever lived through and I am just going to say, get out of this relationship and if and that is a big IF this person gets at LEAST a year of sobriety then maybe you can try. You can save yourself SOOO much heartache. We all (co-dependant women) think but WE will make the difference. BELIEVE ME WE DON'T! We just become another willing victim. I would highly advise Alanon meeting or even go to open AA meeting. This disease is very serious.

July 13, 2007
2:37 pm
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You... all of you are offering amazing insight and support. THANK YOU SO MUCH. I only just discovered this discussion board yesterday as I was doing research about co-dependency, because it's finally occurred to me, that may just be the key to many of my problems.

Thanks so much to you all for reminding me of all the red flags. Of course I saw them, and of course I was aprehensive, but I guess I was focusing too much on the potential.

The ex has already called four more times since I posted here, and I didn't answer any of his calls save for one. Last night he left a message saying "we should end this, I can't trust you anymore" (isn't THAT ironic?) and then this morning he called very early to say "I don't want to leave things this way without us at least talking it out". I saw it for what it was, i.e. BIG TIME MANIPULATION, and held my ground. Aparently his parents have agreed to pick him up at the rehab centre, which is really unfortunate, since the way I see it, they are just allowing him to get his way and not being helpful in his recovery at all.

I'm going through my own mental health issues - and have gone on and off my meds since they didn't seem to help... am highly functional and managed to get a great career going, though I'm seriously questioning all of that at this point. Seems a lot of my choices were motivated by my need to prove myself because the fact of the matter is I have very low self-esteem (even though people keep telling me how beautiful and kind and smart and talented I am, which somehow makes it WORSE), and I suspect a lot of it has to do with the whole Co-dependency issue.

I'm trying very hard to break all these cycles. And yes, I do understand I have to drop this guy. Have already put my foot down, now I just have to stand my ground because I'll no doubt be hearing more from him. Thank you all for reminding me that I don't need to be playing that kind of lottery with my own heart (because no, I have no intention of being his long-suffering enabler), and yes, the only way I'll even CONSIDER getting back with him is if he's still sober and has gotten his house in order in a year's time (IF I'm still single by then).

The danger isn't so much him. It's ME I don't trust. Because... I just get so lonely and so scared, and I guess much in the same way an alcoholic has a hard time NOT picking up that drink, I have a hard time NOT picking up the phone, or NOT responding to that email... and then if it's not T, then it'll be the next guy and... I'm just so tired of repeating the same old pattern over and over again.

I'm really hurting today. I know I deserve so much better, and yes, I'm back on the meds now... but it's not really taking away this pain of course. I know I need to be patient, but it's hard.

July 13, 2007
2:43 pm
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nappy
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An addict or a recovering addict has a lot of work to do on themselves and it still don't stop. This is a lifetime thing for them.
My ex was a recovering addict for several years, never went back to doing those things but I didn't have a clue what a dry drunk was until I did some research because I thought for a long time that it was me but found out that it was him. He may have stop using and drinking but he still had more work to do on himself because he still had those traits of an addict.
I let that go real fast once we separated, love didn't have nothing to do with it. I loved myself more then him.
Nappy!

July 13, 2007
2:52 pm
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turnabout
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You know what an addict means when they say they can't trust you anymore? It isn't like normal people who will say that when trust is truly betrayed. What an addict saying this really means is that they can't trust you to enable them anymore, to accommodate their addiction.

... and THAT, of course, is a good kind of trust to be lost!

July 13, 2007
4:06 pm
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Turnaround: thanks so much for that most enlightening translation of addict-speak. That really makes sense, actually, that he'd be upset to find that he can't count on me to enable him anymore. Yet... at the same time, he's insightful enough to know that this is one of the reasons he's attracted to me to begin with (he's said so in so many words, which was part of the attraction for me).

Of course I've often heard that you can't believe a word coming out of an addict's mouth, but I hadn't realized that literally meant that EVERY SINGLE WORD takes on a different meaning! But of course... that makes sense too, now that I think about it.

Anyobody else have useful translations they care to share with this newbie over here?

How about when an addict says: "you are the woman I've always wanted to meet, you are a true inspirations, so spiritual and so strong - I want to marry you someday - I want to get better because you are my dream come true".

July 13, 2007
4:11 pm
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lettingo
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You are right to say saying away from him is an addiction and just like an addict who get help and remain sober, the longer you can do it the easier it gets. You are also right to say if you don't get help with why you are in this in the first place, you will keep finding yourself with the same type. They see us as someone they can use and will put on the charm and use all the words we want to hear. He is just like you said before manipulating you. Get out before you get in a real mess. Take it from me a broken marriage horrible debts and a shattered heart. It took me a long time to get away and in some ways I am still dealing with and might be for the rest of my life. Sounds dramatic but addicts/alcholics can cause such emotional damage. Do yourself a huge favor, when you get sad or lonley take a list of all the reason you are not with him and if you can get to a meeting. Any open 12 step meeting will do.

July 13, 2007
4:41 pm
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turnabout
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That one's a tough one, huh? I think this statement follows the "Watch what he DOESN'T say" rule.

Addicts will fill your heart with their pie in the sky ideals and make you put all your hope in them making them happen.

But making things happen requires a plan, and you'll notice what they never have, no matter how often they project ahead to this great ideal of theirs, is a plan for getting there. There are only vague ideas, and nothing specific.

"I want to get better..." Yeah? So, what do you think that's gonna take? What is "getting better", exactly?

"I want to marry you someday..." Yeah? So, what do you think needs to happen before that can happen? What do we need to talk about first? What do we need to take care of?

Problem is, we're satisfied with the vague ideas b/c our self-esteem is so damaged, we're just grateful someone even vaguely wants to be with us. We're afraid specifics would make them run away, which it would ... because the vagueness they're offering isn't worth having.

July 13, 2007
5:11 pm
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lettingo
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turnabout,
Great post! You hit the nail on the head. They do talk talk and talk some more but the key is not to hear what they say but what what they do. I unforunatley, learned the hard way.

July 13, 2007
5:41 pm
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Anonymous
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HEEEEELPPP!!!

He's out of rehab! Early! His father got him out of there himself this afternoon and gave him the keys to their house! Now he's sending me emails asking how I'm doing, where am I at, am I mad at him, why won't I respond... He still loves me, do I hate him, he's so hurt and on and on and on.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!

Do I keep ignoring him? Do I respond and let him know I can't have anything to do with him? Do I give him the benefit of the doubt as his parents are doing?

This is so hard.

I think I'll just take a sleeping pill and take myself to bed. I can't deal with this anymore.

HEEEELLLPPP!!!

July 13, 2007
5:50 pm
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nappy
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"you are the woman I've always wanted to meet"

You should of ask him what type of woman is that. Someone that is not going to take his stuff or a woman that will enable him.

"you are a true inspirations"

Yeah, when you not drinking and can hear me, my words sound so sweet but when you have been drinking, you don't hear a word I say.

"so spiritual and so strong"

Yeah until I let you break me down to where I am so weak I can't see straight.

"I want to marry you someday"

Hopefully you will be the one person that don't see all of my faults.

"I want to get better because you are my dream come true".

You should of ask him do he want to get better for himself or do he want to wake up from that dream and find out that all it was a dream because you is gone.

Nappy

July 13, 2007
6:00 pm
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Tiger Trainer
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Girlfriend,
YOu have a good head on your shoulders and I am impressed that you have listened and learned from all of these people. Think of what you want in the relationship right now. Are you willing to settle for what he is right now. If not get out or back off a long ways. he may change but like everyone said, he wil own change for himself.

July 14, 2007
12:32 am
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Anonymous
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nappy, what do you mean when you talk about a "dry drunk"?

July 14, 2007
12:34 am
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Anonymous
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... and also what traits of an addict are you refering to when thay are sober? can't they work on being better people once they've stopped using? T is very spiritual... isn't that something that might help him in his recovery?

July 14, 2007
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startingover
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Hi Girlfriend

Have been reading your post and wanted to respond since I'm awake in an insomniac hot-flashing moment...I learned after twenty-something years of marriage hell with an alcoholic that they have certain traits whether or not they are drinking. Manipulation and blaming others are biggies. My husband was a binge drinker, too, but he was always manipulative, thought he was a little smarter than everyone else, and he never took the blame for any of his actions. If he drank, it was "because I was a b****", or "gone too much" or "too boring". And no, he "couldn't change" after all, I "knew what he was when I married him", so why should he?" Sound familiar? Games, very hurtful ones, they destroy your self-esteem, and potentially happy times like holidays and vacations, family times together. Oh,no, they can't change...they have no desire to. Buy you can change (as can any human being who is blessed with the ability to do so), and you are staring to see his red flags.

I will never again date a man who has a drinking problem or who is unemployed. Can you think of some "absolute requirements" you have regarding dating or friendships? Think about it, what do YOU really want or not want in a man, then don't settle for anything less.

He has his parents as enablers, so he will be OK. My boyfriend alcoholic / addict (yes, after the husband) used to tell me he would be "living on the streets if it weren't for me". Well, I don't need that level of caretaking of another. I got nothing in return, except dumped when the newest victim came along. These guys want something from us, and it is draining and dangerous.

Good luck to you. You are insightful, trust your feelings.

SO

July 14, 2007
7:19 am
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taj64
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Try not to open that door even if very hard. He needs to realize the mess he is. As soon as you give him, he will feel instantly better. But this is a trap because he will have no idea of what he has lost or how badly he truly is. He got out early, seems he talked his way out of it. Probably talked a good one too. Which is what he is doing to you now. You said your self esteem is low, this is what he is counting on for you to feel sorry for him. You're three months into this and this is no joke, not a good healthy relationship. Most relationships start out good but you have it all in front of you and though the decision seems hard, it should be easy. Should though is not the way it is for codependents. We need that reassurance and this is what he is doing however if you look closely this reassurance is more for him than you. Love yourself more, ask yourself do you need all this. Your life needs to be peaceful so you can concentrate on you, the beautiful person with a great job and all this going for you. This guy is totally going drain you in the long run, financially and mentally. I was there once myself, married to an alcoholic. Both my parents were alcoholics and so is my sister. My father died because of an accient (caused by drinking of course). And I have a sister who is a binge drinker who just now got her life back together. Am I close with them, no, not all, not for a long time. Any time I had a problem there were not there. So you see I turned the focus on me and when I feel low about this, I have me to pick me up. If something is bothering me, I deal with it on my own and think positive even if it does feel lonely at times. It is better than getting turned away or ignore. Alcholics don't have time for anyone but their own problems. They are charming when they need to be. You deserve support all the time and you deserve to be out of this drama. Actions speak louder than words. I say this to myself all the time. I observe. Words do not mean much if there is much to be backing it up. If you cannot have a full devoted partner, then chances are the relationship is not going to be successful. If you cannot have trust in a relationship, the relationship will most likely be unsuccessful. Very few are. And he is already telling you he doesn't trust you. And deep down you know this is not true, that you cannot be trusted. Because he wants to compromise you in order to get what he wants. It is a good thing you found this site when you did. I wish I had found this site way back then. Nobody in my life wanted to deal with or be honest with me. It just kept going on until finally I just got tired of hearing the same old speech, I am going to get better now. Well thanks again for leaving again for a month while I pay the bill and take care of the kids. We had toddlers back then. They he blew the tax refund, signed my name to it and spent most of it. That was the end of the straw for me. He did not work half the time either. It was always his problems that took over the marriage and relationship. Where was I in this? Nothing but a fixer. Are you prepared to put your life aside to be taking care of him?

Also a dry drunk is someone that is sober but suffers from many of the effects of a person who drinks. They are depressive, angry, mean, needs lots of space, controlling, selfish and do not make good partners. To me a dry drunk is someone who is not happy most of the time.

July 14, 2007
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September 24, 2010
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I'm so scared. I'm just so scared. I'm on leave from work right now. Have what is considered and "amazing" career, but it's incredibly stresful and competitive and I was working for a boss who made life very hard for me.

I was diagnosed as bipolar about a decade ago and I've been on and off the meds and in and out of treatment. I live in Canada so we have universal care, but this also means we don't get to choose our doctors and there are very few good psychiatrists out there who actually care WHAT the side effects of the meds are or if they are even being effective.

I've had some good counsel from doctors and loving family members as well as trusted mentors, but in the course of my leave from work, I've been reshuffling my priorities in life and re-establishing my values, and I realized that I'd been running all these years because of my career and not taking care me ME and what I truly NEED.

One thing is clear: I need to take care of my mental health and figure out how to use my talents in a much slower paced, wholesome envirmonment. Also, I decided to stop going out with guys just because "they have a great job and look good on paper". I met T in the midst of all that. You could say I met him when I was at my most vulnerable, but then again, I realized he has qualities that I never would have stopped to consider as something I need to be happy in a relationship, and now I know that is the case... that's what's keeping me hooked on him.

For instance, I'd always been attracted to go-getter, A-type personalites, the kind of men who are considered very "succesful" in life but also don't communicate their emotions and are very distant, and basically want a "trophy" girlfriend.

I'm tired of that. I want my partner to be my best friend, lover, equal, I want him to be caring and sensitive too!

But then again... I'm bipolar (something which I was adamantly refusing to accept) which means... I'm probably one of those "toxic" people myself. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to find there are message boards where exes of MINE are saying "stay away from women like that".

However... I'm always working on myself and very earnest about trying to get better. I've stoped drinking or taking drugs altogether (although I was a very occasional user), and I'm in regular counseling and therapy, and taking meds now...

But my greatest fear is nobody will want me. And with every thread I read here, this question keeps coming to mind:

Everybody has problems, whether it be with addiction, or mental or health problems, or co-dependency issues... so what does that mean... does that mean everybody should be alone??? I've spend the better part of my 20's & 30's being alone... I feel like I'm wasting away my youth trying to become a perfect being.

And then T came along and I thought... finally, someone who can just accept me as I am. And I really thought my renewed spirituality combined with his will to get better... I thought we could help each other stay strong, maybe complement each other. He could help me be more accepting and less of a perfectionist, and I could help him stay on the right track.

This is all so depressing. Going back to bed.

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