The end, or the beginning? Starting from square 1..

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    It’s been 2 weeks. 2 weeks since I lied – 2 weeks since I quit drinking, smoking, and zoning out on life – and two weeks into starting all over. I’ve spent too much time defending things I knew we’re wrong and unhealthy – not sure if its due to defiance or if it was just easier. I’m a single mom of an amazing 4 1/2 yr old. Her father and I had a toxic relationship and it was over by the time she was 1. Please note that i have kept the below away from her,I have raised a polite, loving, beautiful girl, although no doubt in my mind that it has effected her… When we broke up I started drinking and smoking weed, a way to escape, to combat loneliness. Needless to say I had a few short relationships, but kept them away from my daughter because they weren’t the right one. I met an amazing man when I started working in an office, we went out, and a month later we were an “insta-family”. He is a cowboy with strong morals, a solid upbringing, exudes self confidence, and is the epitome of hard work, dedication, and passion. He and I were great, I had so much confidence and we enjoyed each others company immensely. The weed became a problem, which it should be, and so I claimed I would quit. Somehow along the way I began to depend on him to make me happy, and when anything didn’t go right I was mean to him. This man woke up every morning and brought coffee to me, took care of everything he possibly could, loved my daughter, myself, and my dog to the end of the world. But he didn’t speak up when he was hurt. It came to the point where he was going to leave because he was so upset. We went to counselling. The last big fight he told me he has no more passion or drive, that he’s not happy, and he can’t do this. So I said I’d try…the next night he came home and found out I had smoked. He packed his things and left. You don’t know what you had until you lose it – and I understand most of what I read says to move on and as long as you correct your mistakes and learn its ok. I’m trying. I really trying. I’ve quit drinking, deleted Facebook, quit smoking, all because those are things I started to rely on and to zone out on rather than dealing with life. I would be angry with him due to my insecurities, from shyness and no self confidence to feeling as though things werent progressing fast enough. i would drink every single night, and not pay attention to him except to pick something apart. I treated every bump in e road as a personal attack.I feel as though i went from being so self sufficient to having someone do EVERYTHING for me and somehow lost myself. have been trying to find myself again, to become confident, positive, and not so negative. Yes he had issues and some things he did irritated me – but that’s going to happen in every relationship. He has suggested coming to see me daughter once a week while i see my counsellor – and that if we dont get back together it will easily transition my daughter from seeing him everyday to once in a while to whatever happens in the future. i told him I needed to work on me – to fix these areas in my life – to love myself and not depend on any crutches (alcohol/weed/Facebook/etc) – and to change my perception. To make myself happy. To quit being negative. I asked him if we could try again if he can see these changes in the future, and he says he doesn’t know. He doesn’t know how, if ever, I could earn his trust back. He’s just as heartbroken as me – but am I holding onto something that is just damaging me further? I’ve read everything about forgiving, forgetting, learning…but I absolutely believe he is the one. Do I fight for him? Or do I let him go…because if its meant to Be it will be? How could I have lost myself so badly? How can I be so confused, mixed up, and broken? I believe is is something I need to do for me and my little girl regardless of how it ends up with him, but I can’t quit hoping we will again be a family. I messed up, terribly, but am committed to making myself a better person…but what do I do about him???


    Dear Ash,

    There is a lot in your post. Making the changes you desire for yourself and for your daughter will take some time. Facing additive behaviors, not just substance use, but the addiction to anger, to meanness, to victim hood, is hard without a loving support system. Making the commitment is great, living it out may require you to reach out to a larger support system.

    My brother just got his 30 year chip in AA. He has applied the 12 steps to many aspects of his life and has shared the steps and his experiences with me. Have you considered finding this sort of support system? Going somewhere where you can allow yourself to be accountable to a sponsor? This is not a sign of failure or weakness, but of finding strength.

    Perhaps making a commitment to a program will give you the place to explore those tricky personal issues, without burdening a relationship. Maybe if you can make such a commitment, you can go ask for another chance. But be careful that you are making the choice to get help for you, not as a lever to get him back.

    You and your daughter (ain’t they great!) will be in my prayers tonight.




    In addition to Jerry’s well considered words about the benefits of group support, also consider that you are being extra hard with yourself. You already have patterns of addiction to overcome, no need for self-blame on top of it. If you consider how many people have joined AA, you can see just how many people have fallen into patterns like you’ve had! You’re not especially broken or somehow unworthy… you are quite ordinary in the way you fell into unskillful habits. Its happened to us all of us in one way or another.

    What I ask you to consider is this: perhaps our bodies and minds need fuel, and you were just filling up with icky food. This wasn’t just drinking and smoking, but perhaps in negative self talk. Pia Melody and Melody Beattie have great books on codependency which can help us find food which is genuinely nourishing. Then, we no longer have the empty feeling inside which pushes us to get fuel from our partners and intoxication. Instead, we remain buoyant and well fueled so we don’t crave/get pissed when our craving isn’t fed.

    In regards to your cowboy prince, it seems like you have to let go. If he is the one, don’t be afraid he will end up with someone else. If he isn’t, then he isn’t. Either way, you have a duty to yourself, your future partner, and your child to find that spark inside yourself and turn it into a flame. Then you will naturally and authentically give and receive love, because it will be driven by joy, rather than craving.

    Healing requires patience and deep looking. If you ask yourself “what is really here” and try to let go of the old patterns, healing will occur naturally without a need to force it. You will see what actions lead to what results, and then it is worth a laugh and a “well, I’ll not do it that way again.” Then the clouds drift away, and we are left with peace and authenticity.

    With warmth,

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