Dating an Alcoholic? Run Like Hell! ~ Trista Hendren

Via Trista Hendren
on Sep 12, 2012
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alcoholism

I liken living with an alcoholic to living in a war-zone.

Like one who lives in deceit, I stone myself and call for help

Your wound grows and grows

It slits my throat from vein to vein.

I put sand in you wound,

I put in your wound a giant, and around myself I light the fire.

—Hoda Al-Namani, I remember I was a Point, I was a Circle

When I read this, I thought, this is me. This is my life. But, I’m not living in Beirut. What’s that about?

If you are an addict, I’m sorry. This story isn’t for you. There are hundreds of stories and resources for addicts. It often seems it’s the families of addicts who are forgotten and who largely suffer in silence.

There will always be another excuse, another mistake, another relapse, another addiction or anger about a parent’s addiction that they need their lifetime and yours to get over. With addicts there is just always something.

And if you’re reading this and you feel yourself getting angry perhaps you probably know that someone is finally telling the truth.

Of course, I have empathy for addicts too. So much in fact that I belittled myself by staying with one for seven years.

When my husband first relapsed after his mother died, my well-meaning Christian father told me to “just love him.” But that’s the problem with the addict; the more you love, the more they take of you and everything else, until there’s nothing left to give.

I remember the night I decided to stop walking on tip-toes.

I realized over the years I had become less of myself. I was worried about his anger, or that he would relapse, or be too stressed out or my actions would cause something bad to happen. Suddenly I realized how ridiculous this all was. It was his turn to learn to deal with the reality of our existence instead of us having to shrink because of the reality of his.

I remember before the first rehab, a very good friend looked me in the eyes and said, “Run.”

His mother had been an alcoholic and it had stunted his life. His comment affected our friendship for years. I didn’t want to run. I thought I could fix him. I thought my love would be enough.

Four years later, when I found out about my husband’s relapse, I thought about this friend and the courage it took him to say this and acknowledge my reality.

While most other people tried to be polite, or pray for me, their comments seemed to gently gloss over what was actually happening. When someone doesn’t fit into the perceived notion of what an addict is, it’s hard for people to know what to say.

“Run” was the best advice I received and it’s the advice I would give my daughter if she ever got involved with an addict.


Run. Run like hell.

The reason this advice hurt so much at the time was that it would have forced me to see my part in things. And when you are with an alcoholic, you are use to suffering in silence as the martyr, wondering why the alcoholic does what s/he does.

I wasted years of my life wondering why. I’ve come to realize it doesn’t matter.

Running would have taken courage. It would have said, “He cannot do this to me.” I am stronger than this. I can do better. Instead, I stayed, w—a—y too long.

The other part is that it would have forced me and others to acknowledge the truth.

Alcoholism remains hidden in the shadows. No one talks about it. We go to great lengths to avoid the subject altogether. Both the addict and the co-dependent will do anything to hide their sense of inadequacy. There is nobody that tries harder at being “normal” than an alcoholic and his/her family.

In running I would have to tell the truth. He drinks. All the time. It is not pleasant. He is verbally abusive. My life is out of control. And the hardest one, I need help.

When I finally left my husband, I was only able to do so after taking weeks to compose a list of facts. At my office, I began to put together a black and white list of the things in our relationship that I could not accept. This included that he did not go to my grandfather’s funeral, he did not come home all night long, and he brought cocaine into our home. After four and half pages of undeniable facts, I realized that there was no longer any question of whether or not I could stay with him. The list made that impossible, even laughable.

When you live with an addict, you are never quite certain about reality. Everything becomes blurred. By writing down the facts as they happened, he could not come back to me later with his own version of the truth.

In my case, there were months of lying about his sobriety when I just wasn’t sure whether he was drinking or not. Had I begun the list sooner, instead of listening to the words I so wanted to believe, I would have saved myself at least a year of heartbreak.

Before I left my husband, a dear friend from school sent me a quote from Maya Angelou. It said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them—the first time!” We must remember to trust our instincts and not wait for the people in our lives to change.

The truth was I knew what I thought the first time I met my ex-husband, but I gave him chance after chance despite it.

While I have seen some wonderful transformations in Alcoholics Anonymous, the statistics are not promising and I would not place any bets for my future on another addict.

There are millions of kind, whole and addiction-free men in the world. This story has a happy ending.

I happen to now be married to one of them.

 

 

~
Editor: Thaddeus Haas

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About Trista Hendren

Trista Hendren is the author of The Girl God. The second book in this series, Mother Earth, will be published in December. You can read more about her project with Elisabeth Slettnes at www.thegirlgod.com.

Comments

131 Responses to “Dating an Alcoholic? Run Like Hell! ~ Trista Hendren”

  1. Maria says:

    Yep, how I wish my mother had run, how I wish I had run.. It's the hardest thing when you love and hope and want to keep trying, but there's no doubt that staying in the relationship enables them. The support addicts need comes from objective, detached professionals.. if you love an addict get them that.

  2. Fracine says:

    The alcoholic has a DISEASE as do those who enable he or she. Statistics prove that the families of the alcoholic are even sicker than the alcoholic. Alanon is a fantastic resource for those who suffer from their disease of codependency. People do not CHOOSE to be alcoholics any more than people choose to have cancer. Treating codependency is your hope for change just as the alcoholic treating their alcoholism is their only hope for change.

  3. Trista says:

    I spent a year in Al-Anon and learned 2 things:

    1 Take what you like and leave the rest.
    2 I would never get better by staying with an alcoholic.

    I believe there is a genetic component to alcoholism, but there is also an equal amount of choice involved.

    What was making me sick was living with an addict. Codependency is not a disease. It is a condition many women are breed into being. I now believe in woman-centered recovery.

    "Most important is that we not identify ourselves with such labels as codependent or addict, or get stuck in chronic recovery as if we were constantly in need of fixing. The goal is to heal and move on, embrace life's ups and downs, and move from recovery to discovery. Then we can break through the limitation imposed by hierarchy, work together for a just society, and free our capacity for courage, joy, power, and love." – Charlotte Davis Kasl

  4. Trista says:

    That should say *bred* into being.

  5. Nicole says:

    Thanks for this. I ran but it took fifteen years. It came down to him or me, and i chose me.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I totally agree with you. Save yourself while you can.

  7. Laura says:

    Thank you. I needed this at exactly the right time. I have been in a relationship with a verbally abusive man for a couple of years now who refuses to get counseling or do any work on himself. There have been enough ‘good’ episodes and good memories to keep me here but I am leaving. Everything you say is true also of these kind of co-dependent relationships: you have grown up with stories so you think everything can improve if you just try hard enough, that if you leave you have failed. But you haven’t. You have to choose yourself. Thank you again, Trista. <3

  8. Anonymous says:

    .Wow, very well stated. It's so hard to believe when you are in this situation, but the stats show they rarely change much. This is true for substance or mentally disabled people like the bipolar, who refuse to get treated. I gave years of my precious life away and finally got free. I wish I had those prime years back. And they do sometimes try to hide it, so trust your instincts if you feel something is not right. Run, best advice, I wish someone had said that so bluntly to me.

  9. Pam says:

    Agreed! You cannot and will not help a person with addiction by staying engaged in the pattern/relationship; it keeps them entrenched in the addiction and will tear your life apart. It is hurtful and damaging to everyone. Strongly encourage them to seek professional help then pack your bags and run like hell for both of your sakes!

    I had one encounter with an addict and the thing that always sticks out in my mind about this person was the level of extreme guile he employed to keep his addiction hidden. The entire first year of dating him I never once saw him drunk or saw any evidence of a drinking problem – until that one night, right? I spent a handful of months after that trying to help him since he seemed to sincerely want to get better and it looked like he was earnestly trying but really he was just doing the same hiding routine (of course). A couple of months after we parted he called me to say hello and asked if I could meet him briefly since he was in town. He sounded stone, cold sober and lucid on the phone; he was far from sober when I stopped by the restaurant. I stayed briefly for small talk then left and did not answer his phone calls after that.

    I have compassion for him and I do think addiction is a disease. I also know I am in no way qualified to treat his disease and the best I can do is not contribute to it through good/helpful intentions or let myself get pulled down by it. I hope he gets help.

  10. Trista says:

    Yes, it does. But we do the best we can with what we know. Sending you (and your mother) strength, courage, wisdom and peace.

  11. Trista says:

    Yes, there is not an awareness of how hard it is to run. Addicts are not all bad or we wouldn't love them in the first place. There needs to be more open discussion about this issue and how it affects women.

  12. Trista says:

    Sending you strength, courage and wisdom on your journey Laura. I hope you have a good support system around you – you will need it. Remember to nourish yourself – and don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Big hugs to you!

  13. Trista says:

    Thank you. The years you have left will be your prime years. 🙂

  14. Trista says:

    Yes, people often blame women for staying with addicts. What people don't realize is the great lengths many people go to to hide their addiction. I have talked to many women who have lived with addicts for years and not known it. Sometimes even with hard drugs like heroin or cocaine in the house. If you don't grow up around drugs, you don't know the signs to look for.

    Thank you for sharing your story Pam!

  15. Karen S. says:

    Alcoholism is a family disease and all are affected whether you believe it or not. It's too bad that you weren't guided to Al Anon and that you didn't participate in your OWN recovery by attending that 12 step program where you can learn to 'be happy whether the alcoholic/addict is sober/clean or not". It's also never too late to recover from an unhealthy relationship even if you are with someone else now and years have passed. I hope that others who are in relationships with alcoholics who read this will learn about Al Anon, (and Nar Anon, etc which are 12 step groups for friends and families who love someone suffering from disease that is cunning, baffling and powerful). Running away is not the answer.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much for the article. While I agree it's mostly women on the other side as the co-dependent, I as a male was the one dating the alcoholic woman. My instincts were right in the beginning to want to stay away, and I did for a while, but gave in after she spent two months pursuing me, and because she was hot as hell. Even after we started dating she warned me about her "issues," yet I was awe struck, seduced by her beauty. Eventually she dumped me as I had become but a shell of what I once was, and she moved on to her next victim. The worst part was her coming back and basically wanting me to be her platonic friend/therapist. I declined. Unfortunately I work with her, and she still vacillates moods, either completely ignoring me or acting as sweet as can be, continually denying her actions from the day before, and worst of all blaming me for being "too sensitive" if I ever get upset at the way she treated me. She'd play the game of "come closer, so I can stab you." As I work in the social services field I always try and see the good in people and their ability to change and grow, but I get paid to do that and don't sleep with my clients. A good friend said I should charge her anytime she wants to talk, but no money could make up for the biting words and projection I'd put up with.

    So yes, run like hell, and thanks again for the article.

  17. Brett says:

    Thank you for this perspective, Trista. Untreated addiction is hell on everyone, as you so eloquently showed in this essay.

    And the disease is treatable. In my experience addicts in recovery are the most honest people I've ever met because their lives depend on it. Honesty and kindness are a practice for them.

    So I would just add a few more words to that title: "Dating An Alcoholic Who Is Not In Recovery? Run Like Hell."

  18. anonymous says:

    Yes, so true! This disease effects everyone around them. Loved ones/ enablers can run, but they too are sick, and are still going to have to deal with their own issues. They are usually sicker than the addict. This disease is not about the chemical, it's about how we think, feel and behave in life. Once the drug is removed, we must reconnect spiritually…with ourselves, others and the universe. For Trista, never say never…one can always learn a great deal from another person (especially those who have gone through living hell and come out survivors) if you open your mind to them and are willing to listen. It takes patience and tolerance- these principles by which we should all live and it's a difficult process.

  19. Trista says:

    Thank you for sharing your story – and giving us the guy side of it. I so relate to what you said, especially the last part – and this particular sentence: "She'd play the game of "come closer, so I can stab you."

    Yes, no money can make up for any of it.

  20. anonymous says:

    Also, maybe there should be a distinction between the individuals who work a diligent recovery program and LIVE by it vs th active addict who has no desire to get help.

  21. Trista says:

    I did a lot of work on myself over the years, and got the most from women-centered recovery. This article is one aspect of my story, certainly not all of it. I do not believe that Al-Anon is the cure-all for families of addicts. It can do more harm than good in my experience.

    And yes, certainly I have learned a great deal from my ex, but that learning came at a very high price. Had I stayed, I am not sure what my quality of life would be now, or if I would even have survived it. I can say with confidence that my life today is 300% better as a result of leaving a toxic situation.

    To say that loved ones are sicker than the addict seems both unfair and untrue. If this is the case, why is it only addicts who are sent off for 90 days of "rehab" and not their sicker families?

  22. Trista says:

    Your comment is filled with a lot of assumptions. I spent a year in Al-Anon and learned 2 things:

    1 Take what you like and leave the rest.
    2 I would never get better by staying with an alcoholic.

    I believe there is a genetic component to alcoholism, but there is also an equal amount of choice involved.

    What was making me sick was living with an addict. Codependency is not a disease. It is a condition many women are bred into being. I now believe in woman-centered recovery.

    "Most important is that we not identify ourselves with such labels as codependent or addict, or get stuck in chronic recovery as if we were constantly in need of fixing. The goal is to heal and move on, embrace life's ups and downs, and move from recovery to discovery. Then we can break through the limitation imposed by hierarchy, work together for a just society, and free our capacity for courage, joy, power, and love." – Charlotte Davis Kasl

  23. p2bkk says:

    Al Anon is for people that are sick enough to want to live with alcoholic.

  24. Trista says:

    Thank you for your comment Brett. The only issue I take with this new title is that my ex was in recovery when we married. I didn't know enough about recovery then to know how common relapse is. Three years and another child later, all our lives were turned upside down (again).

    And yes, you are correct in saying that addicts in recovery are some of the most honest people out there. Addicts (recovered or not) are often kind, wonderful and charming – or none of us would fall in love with them in the first place. However, if they do relapse, you are right back to living in hell.

    The reason I wrote this specifically to people who are dating is to bring greater awareness of what life can be like living with an addict before they jump into a more serious relationship.

  25. Trista says:

    I think there's a lot of truth to this, however, Al-Anon is what people usually try to shove down your throat once you tell anyone you are living with an addict.

    I had made a commitment to attend Al-Anon for a year when I went to the Betty Ford Family program (which could be another 1-2 articles at least!).

    I don't regret the time I spent at meetings because it ultimately led me to leaving the relationship. Seeing the same people crying week after week about the same BS I was experiencing made me realize there had to be a better way.

    We need more – and better – options. AA & Al-Anon have a monopoly on the recovery business. These programs are 80 years old and very resistant to change despite the fact that we know so much more about recovery today.

  26. Karen S. says:

    Can you explain 'but there is also an equal amount of choice involved'? I would dare to say that what was making you sick was your reaction to living with an alcoholic, not simply living with one. Living with someone with cancer doesn't give you cancer.

  27. p2bkk says:

    It is all about focus on the solution instead of being part of the problem me thinks.

  28. Trista says:

    You can choose to take a drink (or drugs) or not. You don't have that simple choice with cancer.

    Also, let's say for the sake of argument, you chose to marry someone who has cancer. There is much more information available on cancer, and one would have a better idea of what they are getting into. People also have much more empathy for people with cancer, so you would likely have a better support system.

    Alcoholism is still, for the most part, a secretive problem. Knowing what I know today, I would tell anyone living with an addict to get out ASAP.

    Telling someone not to react to their living situation is like advising them to go swim in toxic sewage and then blaming them for getting sick. You have to get out of the toxic situation (or not get into it in the first place). The longer you stay in, the harder it will be to heal.

    In all my life, I have yet to hear a happy life story from someone living with an alcoholic. Sure, people can and do get by. But life shouldn't be just about getting by.

    And speaking of cancer, how many "co-dependents" do you know who cringe it out and end up with cancer? I can think of many just off the top of my head, including my grandmother.

  29. Karen S. says:

    There are plenty of ways and places to learn about the disease of addiction support systems abound. There aren't any charity walks (yet) as far as I know to raise awareness about addiction vs cancer but it's certainly a mainstream topic. There's still stigma, I agree but it's much less than it was just 10 years ago. Just consider all the reality tv shows about it! Celebrity Rehab, Intervention, etc…
    There are plenty of people who have happy lives who live with alcoholics and addicts, especially those in recovery. I don't think you even used that word in your article! Recovery makes all the difference! It's unfortunate that you don't seem to understand what that means or entails. Just go to an AA or Al Anon meeting and ask to meet people in recovery who are happy! And they are not just getting by!
    Reacting to a situation is different than responding. Running away is reaction, sudden and without reflection. Educating oneself and making a rational decision about whether to leave or stay with someone with a chronic and deadly disease is a response. I hope that you continue your investigation into what the disease really is, there are some gaps in your understanding.

  30. Trista says:

    I have been to AA meetings and know many people in recovery.

    That said, I still would not chose to be married to one, whether they are in recovery or not. Recovery is a slippery slope for many. Some even say "relapse is part of recovery."

    I would not put my life or my children's lives at risk again.

    I spent years reflecting before leaving my marriage. It was not something reactionary that I just did. I don't know that there is a recovery or AA book out there that I have not read.

    My only regret is that I spent so long reflecting.

    I don't think we are going to come to any sort of agreement here. I don't really wish to understand anymore about addicts. They have taken up too much space in my life as it is. I have come to believe I will never fully understand addicts. I'm on to happier times.

    If you have a cheery addict story to tell, perhaps you should publish it.

  31. Anonymous says:

    But she said she did go to Al-Anon meetings. I got out of the article, and she in her responses as well that the article was for people going into a relationship with an addict. We don't choose our family members, but we choose our dates. And a lot of the responders here said they spent a lot of time with the addict already, so when they finally do run, it has been a well-thought out response. I agree with you that there are people who live happy lives with addicts, but they seem to be the exception not the norm. Also the article seemed to be especially helpful for those who have co-dependent tendencies, as a warning to them.

  32. Abe says:

    Exactly – do you work for Al-Anon or something Karen? Let it go!

  33. Abe says:

    Agree 200%.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this simple and truthful message. I can relate, my husband (soon to be ex) is bi-polar. I've heard (and witnessed) many stories about living with an alcoholic. It mimics mine and others experiences of living with someone who is bi-polar. If they are irresponsible and don't take their treatment seriously… run.

  35. Trista says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I imagine there are similarities – I had not thought of that. 🙂 Sending you strength, courage and wisdom on your journey!

  36. holly troy says:

    i married a man with anxiety disorder. same thing. he didn't take his treatment seriously and i walked on eggshells for years. it's a slow creeping in. i am so glad i left!

  37. LynnBonelli says:

    Thanks for this article. One reason Al-Anon didn't work for me was because of the same sentiment that I am reading here by people claiming the family is "sicker" than the addict. I was born into an alcoholic family so any "sickness" I developed was at the hands of my alcoholic father. I will not take the blame for enabling his behavior. I also attended Al-Anon & found it another form of enabling having to listening to the stories of people who still couldn't heal after decades of attending meetings and decades of "their" alcoholic being out of their lives (some had even died long ago). It was as if reliving their pain was all they lived for. I felt helpless & hopeless, if they couldn't heal after 20 years of 'doing the 12 steps' then how could I?? (cont)

  38. LynnBonelli says:

    (cont) That doesn't mean Al-Anon doesn't work for some people. But it isn't NECESSARY for healing. Over and over we hear the saying to remove the negative out of our lives to make room for the positive…if we've tried & tried & the situation is still toxic then the only thing left to do is leave. Leaving a toxic relationship doesn't mean that one is still "sicker"…it's self-preservation.

  39. Anon says:

    My brother is an alcoholic & whilst sober for 14 years, for the first time in about 8 years, I am feeling relaxed around him. There is a definitive connection between him being a much nicer person to be around the last 7 months & his return to his AA meetings. Without them he became a ‘dry drunk’ & I, once again, became scared of him. What I have witnessed before my very eyes recently is a complete change of character, the whole family has breathed a sigh of relief. That said, after many years of our family experience with my brother, and also working in the field of recovery from addiction, I agree with Trista, recovery can be a slippery slope. Just when you think all is going well, and bang, back to where we started. I feel privileged to do my job & to share in people’s spiritual transformations, to be a part of something that may contribute to people’s & societies improved happiness is an honor for me… But it is my job, I have learnt to leave it behind when Si come home after work. My brother is my family, I will always love him. But would I want to be in a relationship with an alcoholic/ addict recovering or not??? NO, I have come to realise that my personal happiness needs to be my priority, I was in some sort of toxic relationships for many years, maybe I’m bred into it, maybe sick, I’m not too fussed on why. What I do know is that I am not now & have no desire whatsoever to return to one. I guess I would rather be with someone who is willing to look at themselves and personally develop & this certainly can come with addicts in recovery, an admirable & attractive quality, but for me it does not make up for their ability to, sometimes years later & out of the blue, quickly return to type. Finding someone who is emotionally mature, ie willing to look at themselves and experience personal growth, who is not an addict is preferable. I wish anyone, whatever their choices, happiness & inner peace, but for me their the very things I lose when dealing with toxic relationships & the toxicity of addicts can be intense a lot of the time. I will always be there for my brother as long as there is no emotional abuse, & right now I live my job, but personally, I’m going to stick with the run theory for me, Ive come through difficult times & I deserve the easiest life I can give myself.

  40. Trista says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. You said it so very well. I think the hardest relationships are those we can not run from – children, parents, siblings. I wish you all the very best on your path.

  41. Trista says:

    Oh, I so relate. Thank you for sharing Lynn.

  42. Guest says:

    This is the story of my 19 year marriage. I'm still here but I'm working towards ending it. This essay gives me courage and sanity as did your response. Thank you Laura.

  43. Trista says:

    Thank you for sharing. Sending you lots of love as you get through this last stretch. It will get better, that much I know for certain. 🙂

  44. Brandi says:

    So at what point does a person who has recovered from an addiction deserve to be in a loving partnership? Have we found the one type of person on this earth that doesn't deserve that? I'm recovered from an eating disorder, and my fiance is recovered from alcoholism. We are both dedicated to our spiritual growth, the growth of our relationship, and our yoga/meditation. I've been in so many horrible relationships, none before with a former addict. I've been with men who were abusive, rude, immature, incapable of forming deep connections, cold, etc. My partner now has done his work, probably more work on himself than anyone who has commented negatively in the forum. I couldn't ask for a better partner; always understanding, always sensitive, always respectful. If he slips back into his addiction… well it's no different than someone slipping back into a horrible depression, or me slipping back into my eating disorder, or someone having an affair or multiple affairs, or someone slipping back into any not so great habit that is damaging to self and others. In any relationship, you deal with that when it comes. Most of us are risks waiting to happen. In a partnership, you have to decide if you are willing to trust, open up, and give it all that you've got. Are we all just supposed to look for partners who are completely normal, disease free, without any flaws in their past? Everyone is lovable, worthy of being loved, and most of all everyone deserves a fair shot. And people ARE capable of changing. It takes hard work and a lot of support. If you've had a bad experience with being with a recovered addict, than that is really awful and I'm happy you saw yourself out of that situation. But to draw the conclusion then that anyone who has suffered from mental illness in the past shouldn't be in a relationship ever in their lives is a bit ridiculous and really offensive to those of us who are awesome, mature, lovely people.

  45. Trista says:

    I don't know that you are in a position to say what it is like to live with someone who is an active alcoholic. Yes, people can recover, and I hope for your sake, your partner stays in recovery.

    If you relapsed into your eating disorder, you would hurt primarily yourself. Living with someone who has a drug and alcohol problem is different. Instances of verbal and physical abuse are heightened. Your finances would likely tank. There is not an area of your life that would not be affected.

    Everyone deserves love. That's not the point of my article though. I wrote the article to cause those dating an addict to pause and consider if this is a path they want to take or not.

  46. Tanya L. says:

    Great article, Trista. I couldn't agree more.

    People rarely change. They are who they are because they chose it every day. Every damn day.

    The stories of sober, sane people who went through "recovery" are few. And with all the whole people in the world I think I will save myself the misery.

  47. margaret clapp says:

    BULLS EYE. Why isn't here more "real" support available for the wives of addicts? I'm saddened by your story; and, bolstered by your resolve. Keep writing.

  48. William Space says:

    The new age tendency to run and buy a new yoga mat and find all the material things that equate with happiness and to have multiple orgasms only then to slow down and evaluate why we are faced with our own particular challenges in life needs to be watched because we can't take back the past. We may only have one chance at true love and if we run out on that because we don't his or her shoes, how they order food, or because can't buy us a house right now we might lose the only chance we ever get at a real love. Also sometimes people have an addiction they need to overcome and you know what? If you live in the moment with them and if they are committed to overcoming it then they will never run out on you.

    Have you ever heard the expression hang their self with another rope? I know I would not have gone out with who I was when I met her. The amount of growth and learning I've done in the last year and a half is astounding. Unfortunately I think she is probably still in the same place and blaming it all on me. Going through the recovery process with an alcoholic is as healing for the partner as it is for the alcoholic. Congratulations on running away from the alcoholic but if you got involved with one you were messed up too. You might have enjoyed yoga more than dealing directly with your codependency or what have you but then again you might still have those issues. The point is if you love someone and they really want to get better than you should feel grateful for that love and try and it see it through. You pose a happy ending to the story but to that I would say maybe.

    Often times the recovered alcoholic is ten times the man of an ordinary man. He's spiritual, understanding, caring, tempered, and full of encouragement.

    There are a lot of men who don't realize there drinking is a problem but when faced with the ultimatum of the booze or her turn it around. A.A. meetings are full of men that were given the choice and stopped. I know because I have been a very active participant. My love sadly left me before I got it right. It took about a year for me to learn all my triggers and stop relapsing.

    The relationship we could have had would have been very deep. The gratefulness to her for standing by me and believing in me would have been unparalleled.

    As it stands she is still the same person she was when we met. She wakes up and she smoke two American Spirits and has her coffee before she starts her day and is probably making plans with another guy to start healthy habits after she quits. I haven't had a cigarette or used cocaine in two years and I haven't had a drink in a year. All the while I've been doing yoga and practicing meditation. I've finished school, started graduate school, and repaired my relationships with my entire family as well as taking a prominent role in my nephew's life who is coming from a broken home. I'm working and have started writing and started an online business.

    I wouldn't be surprised if she was with another person who is in the exact same place I was when we met. Myself and her serious relationships before all fit a a very similar profile. Some has much more money than me and less behaviors people would say run to but she loved me much more for who I was and how I treated her.

    All of the confusion and fear surrounding alcoholism led to a deep mistrust and near impossibility for communication in the relationship when I was coming to grips with my addiction. All she could focus all of the white noise of people saying run run run and how whether I had relapsed or not and how many days I had been sober. Sobriety isn't a number. It's not numerical. Someone can be sober four years and not be healing at all. The mind isn't a steal trap. It doesn't work in and on and off switches or black and white. Long after I had become sober I would drink if alcohol was under my nose for too long.

    The point is if you love someone you should listen to them. Love them. Grow with them. Be a part of them. Four years later when her husband relapsed I'm sure not all was right home. Too much blame is put on alcoholism and not enough emphasis on real communication between people. Be mindful it's not that hard to get published on some website or even pose as some advice guru. Even then a lot of the so called experts are just talking out of their asses and don't stand up when the cards down. Live your own life. Listen to your own heart. If you can't hear it then do more work on yourself and don't be afraid to find that ability to listen when with somebody else before your perfect. <3

  49. Anon says:

    I think we all need to respect each others feelings and choices as we are all entitled to them. I see some sense and logic in all of the blogs, as polarised as they are. We are all on our own personal journeys that tend to shape who we are, how we feel, our opinions etc. In my previous blog to Tristas article I write that I would prefer my partner not to be an addict or alcoholic whether in active addiction or recovery. Right now I stand by that and my stance is no doubt derived from my journey so far – I feel I need to minimise my risks of any more hurt from an unhealthy relationship & one with an active addict in my opinion would be unhealthy; unless they were totally committed to change; and one with an addict in recovery could have the potential to be or become unhealthy/ controlling etc. That said if my gut instinct was that this person had the potential to be a supportive, loving and healthy partner to me, and me to him, then I would not judge anyone on what they have been through and I would give the relationship my all. I am not 100% certain if my opinion is completely realistic or whether it is laced with cynicism… if the latter then I look forward to continued healing and my change of heart when my journey further unfolds; if it’s the former my feelings won’t change; time will tell and for now I will just keep trying my best. Wishing all well, Namaste :))

  50. Trista says:

    Thank you Margaret!

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