I had a completely unexpected, honest, eye-opening and non-manipulative conversation with my alcoholic/drug addict boyfriend.
I love an alcoholic/addict who has been in and out of the program for most of his life. He’s 54 and this is not his first rodeo in terms of relapsing. This stint, he was sober for 6 years (with prison being 3 of them… and BTW, it’s not ‘a piece of cake to stay sober in prison).
This was a pretty good relapse run and the first time I was so close to it.
His completely ‘uncovered-in-desperate-need-of-Al-Anon’ sister (and anyone she could get on the phone) went a little Tasmanian and without pausing, I jumped in for the ride. For me, my Tasmanian spin directly came out of extreme fear and sickening disappointment. I continued to spin as in between engaging in upsetting, morbidly forecast-ed-threat-filled conversations with the sister, I redialed him every 5 minutes. I felt as though I HAD to spin with in the event she heard from him before I did. I needed to know that he was safe, alive, and not in jail. I felt as though she was my only life-line to him. A crazy untreated Al-Anon-er was my life-line? YIKES. When he finally called to tell me he was home, I calmly set a boundary and said “Don’t call me until you’re sober”….
That boundary lasted through the night until the next afternoon when I called and went to see him. (my relapse)
Where was my HP? He was lovingly watching, holding my hand allowing me to go through what I needed to go through.
Back to the situation:
My BF he lives in his sister’s back house. He and pays rent, is expected to follow her two rules:
You pay rent on time
You don’t bring paraphernalia or use on my property
Notorious for addicts, he elected to use his rent money on crack. Was that against the rules? Absolutely. But, this is none of my business and thankfully not my problem.
So I saw him and happened to be there when the inevitable conversation with his sister took place. As this isn’t HIS first rodeo, it wasn’t hers either. She has picked up his pieces before, along with the two other brothers, her ex husband and her daughter’s. It’s sad, but not my problem.
It started with her sarcastic “Well, I’m glad you’re alive”, and spun into both trying to be the loudest. Then came her (again in sarcastic, belittling inflection) “what are you going to do now, and where the fuck is my rent?” His voice raised and she threw up from her mouth using loud stabbing words such as:
You’re a piece of shit. Fuck you loser. You are a sick fuck. You’re pathetic. Fucking loser. Fuck you because you’re worthless. Etc. etc.
She didn’t need to spat those words out because it just reiterated how he already feels about himself. I don’t talk to people like that, I don’t yell and for me, it’s unacceptable. But I’m not in the business of protecting people, and it wasn’t my conversation, so for my emotional sanity, I walked out of the house.
FAST FORWARD TO TALK WITH BF:
The next day to the talk with my BF, the conversation started with him saying
“I don’t understand why everything is so punitive. I went out and used. I didn’t die, I didn’t hurt anyone (thank God) – I used. I will take responsibility for my actions and missing the rent date, but it happened. I relapsed. If I went out and drank beer would I have gotten the same reaction as smoking crack?”
This struck me because although I completely 100% disagree with his behavior, it’s HIS behavior, HIS choice, HIS problem. Did / does it affect me? If I let it, yes. Is it possible to NOT let it? Just for today – yes.
My punitive “call me when you’re sober” remark didn’t come out of setting a honest boundary. Although it wasn’t a threat, and I really felt that way at that time, it came out of MY EXPECTATIONS of being with a recovering alcoholic/addict. I expected him to be sober. I expected him to call his sponsor if he wanted to use. I expected him to stay on a straight path.
Where does this take me today? I don’t know. But the valuable lessons I’ve learned from this experience will stay with me forever.
I have choices – to be with an alcoholic or not.
I don’t have to make a decision today – more will be revealed and it’s not my will but my Higher Power’s will.
I do have the courage and strength to carry HIS will out, but in order to do so I have to keep my emotional serenity in check and that means not jumping on any rides with anyone who is not in recovery.
I must continue to LIVE AND LET LIVE by putting myself first.
I will continue to LET GO AND LET GOD because it can be too much for me.
Just as the alcoholic can relapse, I can too. Gratefully, I have the tools this amazing program has gifted me.
Just for Today I will not spin with anyone – not even myself. In order to keep my emotional serenity, I will detach with love from those that can hinder it.