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When and how do I let go?
June 27, 2007
12:56 pm
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Lisa Ann
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I am in a very difficult situation. I have been in a relationship with someone for over a year now, and I have recently become sober. I have been sober for just over 5 months. However, this has changed our relationship. This person treats me so well, I absolutely love him. I have never been in a relationship where I have been treated so well and loved so much. But, now that I have become sober, I'm finding that there are more issues that I have to deal with. One of them, which I find to be the biggest issue of all is co-dependency. It's awful!!!

Here is what I have started to notice - I find myself totally caught up in what he is doing, where he is, who he is talking to on the phone, what they are talking about, etc. I find that I don't focus on the things I need to in life because I'm so caught up in his life. I need to let go of this obsession that I have with his life, but I don't want to lose him either. I love him so much and I want to be with him forever, but I need to be healthy emotionally for us both to be happy. How do I do that? I broke up with him last week, but I am hurting so much. I don't want to break up, I just want to get better and I don't know how to do it. I'm scared to do it without him.

Does anyone have any suggestions for me?

Confused and hurt......

June 27, 2007
1:13 pm
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truthBtold
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Lisa Ann,

Believe it or not....your simply just RECOGNIZING and BECOMING AWARE of your own patterns that your focus is on him rather than yourself is INCREDIBLE progress! (Give yourself a great, big pat on the back!!!)

You can't fix what you don't acknowlege...as Dr. Phil says....is half the battle.

We are so accustomed to putting other people's agenda ahead of our own thatover the years, it simply becomes first (not second) natured.

Just keep tuning into yourself as you have been and FORCE yourself to develop other interests which do not involve him if you can...even if it is something very, very samll.

Congrats on your sobriety for 5 months!!!!!!!!

Also, there is a great movie entitled: "When a Man Loves a Woman" with Meg Ryan and (hottie) Andy Garcia you may want to rent.

Great flick about getting sober.

June 27, 2007
1:29 pm
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Lisa Ann
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Thank you for the nice post. I have seen that movie a few times and I absolutely love it.

My boyfriend is actually out of the country fishing this week, and he should be back this weekend. I want to talk to him and tell him what I am finding out about myself. I want to tell him that I love him so much that I do not want to lose him. I want to ask him to be patient and wait for me. Is that fair? I guess I'm not sure how much time I should be spending with him, spending alone, spending with my daughter, etc. I have a daughter who will be 18 this year and she is going to be a senior in high school. I plan to make her my number 1 focus, but I want to include my boyfriend in my life too - but I guess I don't know or understand how much I should do that. I do not want to hurt him, but I want to be with him too. We moved in together and that did not seem to work - with my emotions all tied up in knots. But, I would like to still date and take things very slowly. I need to learn to focus on me and my life - but I want him in my life. Does that make sense? It's just so tough to know what or how to act. I don't need to push him totally out of my life to get better emotionally, do I?

June 27, 2007
1:48 pm
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making changes
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Hi Lisa Ann,
Congratulations on your sobriety.

I understand about being too obsessive in a relationship and yes, it is related to codependency.

I think you could stay in the relationship while you work on yourself as long as you do that. There are good books - Codependent No More and Facing Codependency. You'll also find more book recommendations posted on this stie. Another thing you might try is going to a Codependents Anonymous meeting. I hear they are great but haven't summoned the courage to attend one myself.

It sounds like you really love this man but being sober has forced you to take a closer look at yourself. That's a good thing though. Do you think some of the reasons you drank were to avoid that?

This is a good time to start finding you. Just be open with your bf about what you're going through. He sounds like he's a good guy.

MC

June 27, 2007
1:57 pm
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truthBtold
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MC,

Great insight - something that I can learn from myself.

This thread prompted me to do a fast search on the web - and I found a terrific site:

http://www.overhall.com

I think that there is some great stuff here - will start a new thread about it....

June 27, 2007
2:10 pm
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Lisa Ann
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You guys are wonderful. You have really made my day brighter - thank you. I feel like I have learned so much over the past week - just learning about me and what I need work on in order to make my life more content and happy. I truly believe that it is repairable and I will be happy - of course, I want it now, but I believe I have the tools to work on it and I will get there.

Thanks for the recommendations, I plan to start attending a CODA meeting very soon, and I'm seeing a counselor every week now to help me with my recovery.

This has been a great post. Any more ideas on activities to get involved in would be great.

Thanks again!

June 27, 2007
2:21 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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Lisa Ann -

what you are dealing with may not really be codependency.

In that - what you may be dealing with is insecurity - which you previously drowned with the alcohol.

You may be aware of certain behaviours of his, that previously you weren't, because you weren't sober...so you didn't have the clear frame of mind to notice some things.

You may be insecure - again - something you medicated with alcohol.

You may not want to FACE your own issues - so you face HIS issues instead...take the focus off of yourself and put it on him is a quick way to avoid facing your own recovery and problems that need solving.

Are you in counseling or going to AA? AA would help teach you how to focus on YOUR stuff and leave their stuff to them. It would help you learn how to balance things.

In meetings, it's recommended to NOT make any life altering decisions for one year, until you work the full set of 12 steps...until you are clear enough to make a decision and STICK to it.

Congratulations on five months...that is an incredible accomplishment.

I wonder tho - could HE be codependent? IF he is, and it's possible he is, perhaps THAT alone will change the dynamics...as he may be used to caring for you, and now you no longer NEED him to take care of you...he may feel uneasy with the shift...he may feel unsure of the changes in the dynamics...he was used to you with a certain pattern of behaviour and now you are changing it....so that could rock the boat.

You mention watching him like a hawk....have you found anything that indicates he may be cheating (assuming that's what you were looking for)....or did he do anything to warrant such vigilance? Or do you think it's just easier to focus on him instead of you?

June 27, 2007
2:30 pm
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Lisa Ann
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Hi Risingfromtheashes,

Great points. I have considered all of them. I have been attending AA meetings, but not as many as some people suggest that I should. It's not that I dislike them, but sometimes I get bored and tired of hearing the same old stuff all the time. But, I think I'm much more open to checking out new meetings and making at least one or two a week. I would also like to attend the COPA meeting weekly.

That is a great question about my insecurity - I have been in terrible relationships in the past. I have been hurt many times. That is why I am so excited to be with someone who actually loves me and will never hurt me - intentionally, that is. I know he has never, nor would he cheat on me. He has never done that to anyone. He was married for 20 years, and his wife died about 2 1/2 years ago of cancer. They had a wonderful relationship. But, my past relationships have been awful and I think it's taking me some time to adjust or even understand what it is like to be in a relationship with someone who isn't going to hurt me. I always feel like there is something going on behind my back. I'm very scared of getting hurt again, so I do some dumb things. I really need to learn how to trust and just love and be loved unconditionally. Life is too short to live anxious and not trusting all the time.

I do agree that my boyfriend might have a bit of co-dependency in him because he loves to take care of me. I think that it's going to be different having me be my own person and focusing on my life, as well as a life together (hopefully), but overall, it will be much better than me being so needy all the time. That can not be a fun life to live. But, with all of this change, comes a new person who doesn't need to be taken care of either. So, there is give and take with this situation. But, I believe that it is well worth it for everyone involved.

Thank you!

June 27, 2007
3:36 pm
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lettingo
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Lisa Ann,
Do you have an AA sponsor? I think getting a sponsor and working the 12 steps where the focus is kept on you will help alot. You may have heard alcohol is only a symptom of that is wrong. Congrats on five months. I hope you can get in ther an really work the program. I am 7+ years since my last drink and I can tell you, just putting down the drink was only the beginning.

June 27, 2007
4:30 pm
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Lisa Ann
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Hi Lettingo,

Yes, I do have a sponsor, but I have not been very good about meeting with her. I'm actually interested in finding someone new, but without going to meetings, it's hard to find one. The one I have now is more recovering from drugs, rather than alcohol, and my drug of choice was alcohol. So, I'm kind of interested in finding someone new, and I might make that a priority now. I need to get working on my program - not just say it, do it! Thank you for the post.

June 27, 2007
4:44 pm
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lettingo
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LisaAnn,

I really hope you don't think I am lecturing you but 1 or 2 meetings a week and you're only five months sober. I might be out of line to say this but I think you are going to find yourself on thin ice. I used to go ever day on the way home from work. It kept me sane. I would do you you suggested and find different meeting. At 5 months, I doubt you have heard it all. Many sponsors for newcomers require them to do 90 in 90 and there is a reason for that. I turely believe if you hit more meeting you would have less unbalance with you relationships.

June 27, 2007
4:58 pm
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Lisa Ann
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That's okay, I don't mind your suggestions at all. I just don't enjoy the meetings, for some reason. I think I will start looking for some new meetings - in fact, I do enjoy a women's group that meets once a week. But, there are a lot of meetings that I just don't enjoy. I find myself forcing myself to go, and then I do feel better some times, but for the most part, I'm watching the clock tick. I'm not sure if it's just me, but AA meetings don't do a whole lot for me. My recovery is based a lot on all the good things that have come out of my sobriety. Does that make sense?

June 27, 2007
5:03 pm
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lettingo
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Lisa Ann,
Not sure who actually "likes" meetings but we are to go to ANY lengths if we want to stay sober. I guess everyone is different so my hat is off to you if you find a different way. It's just statistically, people in early sobriety who don't go to alot of meetings tend to relapse. Lets just say this person in your life leaves or breaks things off, will you run back to the bottole for relief or will you get to a meeting. When I first started going I also hated them. I would bitch the who way there and actually only lasted 9 months the first time. Then I went back and instead of getting there late and leaving early I slowly made friends. Do I "enjoy" them today? Not all the time and I don't go every night but I can tell when I've missed too many because alcoholism is a phyiscal, spiritual and mental disease. I believe AA meeting help with all three especially the mental part.

June 27, 2007
5:07 pm
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nappy
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It is a very sad situation when two people love each other, yet cannot make a success of the relationship.
While in the land of fantasy, each of you can envision a future with the other. The vision is bittersweet, tainted with pain.
You is heading in the right direction because you are helping your self to stay sober but you also need more help in getting an understanding of your feeling.
Even though you are currently in a relationship with this person, it appears that you are merely going through the motions. You have to get an understanding so you can balance your life and your relationship.
It has only been 5 months and you still have a lifetime to stay sober, so please if you want help then seek it.
Nappy!

June 27, 2007
5:45 pm
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Lisa Ann
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Nappy,

I totally agree with you. I don't know if we are going to be able to make our relationship work, but what I do know is that I am going to get healthy emotionally - try to understand what has hurt me so much in the past and try to leave it behind me and move forward with a happy and loving life. This person that I have been with for the past year has made me realize what true love is all about, but I have also realized that I have some unfinished business that I need to address before I can be a good girlfriend, mother, daughter, etc. Once I am able to deal with those issues and become the person that I know I can be, I am hoping that he will be there for me. If not, than it was never meant to be, but I truly believe that deep in my heart, we were meant to be together. This is the first time in my life that I have been able to let something so wonderful go because I was not ready for it - for both of us. This is the toughest thing I have ever done, but I'm hoping that he will be patient and watch me grow and love me just the same as he does now.

June 27, 2007
5:55 pm
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nappy
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I hope that you are able to make your relationship work but only you know.
I truly believe that you will suceed in your journey because you sound so positive.
Don't be so hard on yourself and don't be hard on him either. And don't put so much expectation on him as being a man because he has feeling also and he is human.
Give the meeting a chance. You never know what might happen while you are there sitting watching the clock (smile)
I believe in you and I hope you believe in yourself also.
Nappy!

June 27, 2007
6:06 pm
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Lisa Ann
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Thank you - hearing that someone believes in me really helps. I know I have a long road ahead of me, but something tells me I'm doing it right this time. There is a happy future out there for me - finally! Now, I just need to put the tools I have to work and pray that I find the happiness I'm looking for. Thank you!

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