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If You Love Someone...

answered 11:24 AM EST, Wed February 10, 2016
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Hi Jim,

I wanted to ask you for your advice on how best to support my girlfriend who is in recovery. We met almost five years ago, she was 35 and I was 45. At that time she was living in an SLE, and I was divorced with my pre teen living with me. I didn't really understand the depth and history of her drinking problems the first year we knew each other. She was mostly sober and we developed a wonderful love for each other. Even through the years of ups and downs in our relationship, I do believe to this day, we both feel each other is a soulmate.

Which brings me to today, and her recent release from a 30 day program she voluntarily entered with my help. When she was admitted only her mother and myself were authorized to call and check on her. We wrote letters to each other during the blackout. The first couple from her explained how her detox went, how she was feeling, how she was doing etcetera, and she let me know that I was no longer allowed to call only her mother could. The rationale was so that she could focus on her treatment, and I let her know I understood. The last letter I received she says that she felt it would be best for her to not be in a relationship anymore.

You can imagine how difficult it is for me to reconcile that. I do understand that most recovery centers advise their clients do not enter into a relationship for one year. My problem is that we were already in a relationship. I am and have been her closest ally during her drinking episodes. And I want to be there for her during her recovery.

I am diligently reading about the 12 step program, refuge recovery, meditation mindfulness and other modalities. We are meant to celebrate our 5th anniversary in a couple days. I want to do the right thing by her. I love her more and respect her courage, and I need some advice on how to approach her and support her. I don't want to drift apart, and lose all that we have worked so hard for together.

- Adder

Jim LaPierre Says...

Hi Adder, Thank you for connecting with me and for bringing such a painful situation to light. By doing so, you open door for countless others who struggle similarly. I hear the heartbreak in your words. More than that I see the powerlessness you're confronted with. As you expressed, "The last letter I received she says that she felt it would be best for her to not be in a relationship anymore."

I would encourage you ti state very simply what it is that you want and to express your earnest desire to support her in the way that she feels would work best for her. Sometimes people push us away just to see if we come back.

Ok, your hope spiked as you read that last line. What I urge you to do is to express your views and desires very simply and directly but to do so (this is the hard part) without expectation.

The suggestion we give folks is not only no new relationships but also no relational changes in the first year. Now, if she hs decided that her sobriety and/or her life are better without you, there is nothing for you to do except wait - it is possible that she will change her mind in the future.

I urge you to seek support for yourself. Powerlessness is painful sometimes and you deserve to focus on yourself and not simply on her. Turn your energies toward what you can do and away from what you cannot. The rest is waiting. If you choose to wait that's fine - but go invest in yourself during the interim. Everything else is a lousy option

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Page last updated Feb 10, 2016

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