January 3, 2014 at 4:24 am #48228
I’m new here, having discovered this site while reading about recovering from co-dependency. I am a recovering alcoholic myself, with a strong program and good recovery…so I thought. For 2 years I have been in a relationship with another alcoholic, who was homeless when I met him. It has become more and more clear that he is still very unwell and I have had myself convinced that I was ‘helping’ him and that he would get better. I have done this financially, emotionally….every possible way. My whole life (I teach, go to university and have 2 young children) became about making him feel loved and happy, all the things I knew he had never been and I knew because we ‘were the same’. And of course it hasn’t worked, and I am now walking away – or trying to. I feel like there is nothing of me left…I now look back and realise I have avoided all conflict, let him choose everything, and I think the honest truth is probably that I have enabled him to carry on in his illness. I am rational enough to see this…but at the same time I feel damaged and I don’t know who I am or how to get that back. It feels overwhelming and I am lost. Can anyone identify? Or give me some hope that I can get better? I am very low, and it is making me physically ill. Thank you for listening…
JennyJanuary 3, 2014 at 8:07 am #48235MarkParticipant
You can get better Jenny. Right now you are still reeling from the aftereffects. Give yourself compassion, grace and time to heal. Can you look at yourself with caring as if you were someone else?
Melody Beattie has a classic book called “Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself” you might want to read.
MarkJanuary 3, 2014 at 8:51 am #48239NancyParticipant
I think probably you have helped him. He will take with him everything you did for him, including things he doesn’t recognize. Some of it he might recognize later, or he won’t, but that is his path. You have come to a point where his path and yours are diverging. He has to find his own way from here, and you need to find your own way from here.
We all sometimes hope for a better past, but our past is not going to change. It is what it is. You are already doing better because you recognize this is a difficult time, and you are responding to that by processing what has happened, allowing you to grow and learn from it, and you are responding by reaching out to others for help and information.
Keep taking care of yourself. Make sure you are eating nutritious food, getting enough sleep, and getting up in the morning. (With 2 young children that last one is probably a given.) Remember that you are a whole person. Maybe start a list of the ways you are healing and use it as a reminder when your head is screaming about damage. Only you will know if that idea will be helpful for you.
I trust you are on the right path for you, and that you will find your way through this challenging time. Be well.
January 3, 2014 at 10:12 am #48265
- This reply was modified 6 years, 9 months ago by Nancy.
Thank you both…I have avoided all contact since he failed to appear at a family lunch 2 days ago but have just had a text from him that sounds as if he thinks the past month of lying and drinking and letting people down hasn’t happened. I don’t know what to do. I’m scared of talking to him and fitting right back into my ‘role’ in this co-dependant dance…but I am on very wobbly ground still and don’t feel strong enough to tell him to leave me alone. He says he will call later..I have told him I am ill and can’t talk. This seems pathetic but the best I can do right now to keep myself safe. I know I will need to be clear and honest but its all very raw, I have only in the last 24 hours started being honest with myself. Thank you for making me feel less alone with it…I appreciate it xJanuary 3, 2014 at 10:22 am #48271Angie LynnParticipant
I am a recovering co-dependent as well. Not alcohol. My ex had a porn addiction that was my fault and there was something wrong with me, not him. Whew! It has been just over 2 years since the “big awakening.” It took me a year to leave. It took me yet another year to get on my feet. Here’s the one thing I remember most about the process. One. Minute. At. A. Time. Did I give in to his words the last minute? New minute! What am I going to do this minute? New minute! Every minute became a chance to stand my ground. If I didn’t, oh well, it’s gone, what about this minute. I learned not to beat myself up for the “missed” minutes and focus on this minute. I actually did a youtube video this morning on Breaking Free. Maybe it will help you? My account is brightpathwaysnet4u. Connect any way works for you if you would like. We’re never alone, even when we feel alone.January 3, 2014 at 3:30 pm #48307megynParticipant
I can totally identify with your story. I am a recovering codependent who dated a recovering alcoholic for two years. Our relationship was very abusive, I put up with so much in the name of “love.” My therapist told me I needed to go to Al anon to recover. Well she was right, partially. There was definitely the co dependent piece, I definitely needed the al anon tools to get stronger to leave the relationship and to set healthy boundaries for myself, but then there is the inner child or core wounding that needs to be taken care of as well. I don’t find this happening in going to Al anon meetings. I read up on traumatic bonding, inner child wounds and energetic healing. One website I find helpful is Robert Burney’s websites all of them, but particularly codependence recovery and healing inner child wounds. http://robertburneylive.com/my-other-sites
I started to get out of the relationship in April but found my self continually falling for the pleas, crying, and apologies which never amounted to any actual behavior change. I was addicted to the idea of this man actually being accountable, actually taking responsibility and giving me back my identity. I thought that if I just loved him and worked on my self, he would see how much I loved him and stop lying, manipulating, sleeping around, gambling etc. I totally abandoned my self and my higher power. I have had no contact with him since Oct, and yes it has been hard. I have grieved the loss of a dream, the loss of my self, but at the same time I knew it was all for a higher purpose. I found the childhood, core wounding issues I had that allowed me to co create that relationship which essentially were I was not worthy or lovable unless I was helping, rescuing, fixing someone else. It has gotten better, I focus on me and not him as much as possible. How did I create this situation? What beliefs are contributing to this situation? I also only do things for me, that don’t have any desired outcome of trying to get him back, prove him wrong, act out vengefully, get retribution etc. I journal a lot about my feelings, who I am and who I want to become. I am grateful that I got to see my blind spots and get back to loving me, from the inside out.
Its codependency in its purest form to look to anothers recovery, or healing in order to have validation of our selves as worthy or loving beings. It is also avoidance of what our issues are, and what pain we need to grieve from our failed relationship, or childhood wounding/core belief systems. I will tell you that the more space I got from him, the more I ignored him, the more I did what was healthy for me, the less I took his behavior personally, the faster I have healed. It is possible. I wish I hadn’t have fallen for the “ninth step amends” in April, but I guess you could say it cured me of ever trusting this man is anything remotely trust worthy again.
take care of your self, one day at a time, act your way into right thinking, You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it and you won’t cure it! Progress not perfection my friend. Go easy on yourself.
MegynJanuary 3, 2014 at 3:49 pm #48314MarkParticipant
You don’t even need to tell him to leave you alone if you block his calls, texts, and emails or don’t answer.
Keep breathing and have a loving kindness mantra for yourself to be strong for yourself.
First and foremost love yourself.
MarkJanuary 4, 2014 at 2:45 am #48369
Thank you so much for all of that. Today I am going back to one minute a time, never mind one day! And starting to try and be kind to myself. Describing it as being addicted to his chance of recovery, to him changing if I just loved him enough makes absolute sense. And I know I will be grieving the loss of what I believed could be…I am right now. Maybe he will find it on his own, maybe he won’t. He’s been so absent and it’s been so hard ‘walking on eggshells’ when he HAS been around that I know rationally part of this is relief. Unfortunately the rational side of me is having to shout very loud at the moment to drown out the old habits of thinking and believing in the hope of better…but you have given me some positive strength and some hope for MYSELF for once. Thank you,