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Old 09-20-2009, 09:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Can those with addiction ever have a healthy relationship?

I have been reading a lot in various sections of the forum. And one thing I've read over and over is that those with addiction only change when they are ready -- AND, there is always the risk that they will relapse. There is always the behavior that over and over damages relationships.

As far as potential healthy partners of these people, it asks a lot (and I do understand the co-dependent aspect of this, but some do get healthy and want to have a relationship with someone who has addiction issues). To put up with the myriad of risks and behaviors of those with addiction. To always have the risk of relapse looming just as you are enjoying the relationship. I guess it would take a tolerant person, someone partially detached and putting up many boundaries, to stay with someone who had addiction issues.

This leads me to think that is it almost impossible for those with addiction to actually attract and stay with healthy partners. So, does this mean they're all just doomed to be by themselves or have superficial relationships? I sometimes wonder what is the percentage of relationships that actually survived and moved to a place long-term where they are healthy and addiction is no longer ruling the relationship.

It makes me sad because I feel addiction changes so many otherwise very intelligent, cool, and caring people (like my ex-BF was). That it destroys, not only their potential love relationship, but other relationships in life. Are they just doomed to have an albatross around their neck for life? There must be hope out there...I refuse to believe there isn't. I am sort of ignorant around various aspects of addiction and maybe there are a large group that permanently move to healthier ways of relating to the world. Maybe someone can shed some light on this all for me.
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Old 09-20-2009, 02:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Personally, I think that a healthy person lives in the present and doesn't spend his/her life futurizing and catastrophizing. If an A has been sober (and I do mean "sober," not "dry") awhile and is working a strong program of recovery, why should he/she be any more risky to be in relationship with than anyone else?

Actually, at this point in my life, I tend to believe that people who are aware of and seriously working on their sh*t -- whatever that sh*t is and however they are working on it -- are far and away the best prospects when it comes to a strong, healthy relationship.

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Old 09-20-2009, 03:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by freya View Post
Personally, I think that a healthy person lives in the present and doesn't spend his/her life futurizing and catastrophizing. If an A has been sober (and I do mean "sober," not "dry") awhile and is working a strong program of recovery, why should he/she be any more risky to be in relationship with than anyone else?

Actually, at this point in my life, I tend to believe that people who are aware of and seriously working on their sh*t -- whatever that sh*t is and however they are working on it -- are far and away the best prospects when it comes to a strong, healthy relationship.

freya
Good point, Freya. However, I respectfully disagree to a certain point. Healthy people do live in the present, but realize they live in the world and are realists as well. They aren't just blind idealists. But I wouldn't say substance abuse is on par with some other "issues" (or "sh*t," as you put it) and even with other substances there is variation as to the degree of damage each one can cause. For example, a smoker, should they relapse isn't as toxic and as devastating to the relationship as perhaps a herion addict. With some substances, relapse come with a very high price. Some substances totally alter a person's personality and psychologically (and perhaps physically) remove them from their loved one.

I guess it all comes down to one understanding the risks and being fully aware and responsible in making a decision to stay with the person. I am not saying the "healthy" person doesn't have their own issues, but IMO, it isn't as devastating to the relationship (hence why they are healthy).

But, being somewhat of a romantic, I do believe love can conquer all. But I am also a pragmatist realizing that this is a very unique situation and takes two committed people who also act on their commitments.

Not sure what the answer is here, just exploring ideas in my head...
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Im getting married on October 25, and my soon to be husband is an Alcoholic with 41/2 years of soberiy and works a strong program.

We have issues, of course... but he is also the most amazing man I have ever had a relationship with... Yes there is a chance the could relasp and start drinking again. If I dwell on that I could drive myself crazy... we have been dating 3 years now and I have never met another that I respected, Love and felt safer with... strange huh?? LOL

I could meet a normi tommrow and he could end up becoming an alcoholic... or something else... Today I try to live life on lifes terms... I keep working my program, stay real and in the present... I know my boundries and my tolerance level.... I know what a healthy relationship looks like and I keep the focus on myself... I let him work his own program and when issues come up I feel confident we will be able to work them out with love and tolerance...

For me life has never come with guarentees ... Today most of my strengh comes from God (my higher power) and I trust in him that Im on the right path... I try to stay in tune with him and pray for his will... most of all I just have faith... not that things will be perfect but that I have the relationship with God and myself to know that no matter what .... I will be ok.
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for your perspective, Cynay. You fiance sounds a lot like my ex...except that my ex was sort of still in denial about his problem and not in recovery....big difference. I think the fact you both have addiction issues helps understanding one another too as well as equalizes the risk each of you take. For the most part, I am a normie, so it came down to cost/benefit with me. My ex had a lot of stuff that came with him - kids, arguing ex-wife, money issues to name a few, on top of addiction issues. It just became too much for me to deal with...giving, giving, giving....and not ever feeling secure around his addiction issues because he was still partly in denial and it was always a taboo subject between us. This was always the largest issue in the relationship for me. He was ready to put a ring on my finger, but I just couldn't take a gamble with my life.

At least in your situation, you both aren't in denial and are working the program. You seem centered, realistic, and happy. Best wishes to the both of you.
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Old 09-21-2009, 08:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you....

Im a ACoH and Co-dependent and my fiance is an Alcoholic and Codependent...

Yes we both have our issues and we both work hard on our recovery... today we have a balance but there is always the chance.... One thing I can say though.

I will not ever again be in a "relationship" with an active user... Alcoholic and abusive Co-dependent. I choose my fiance because we are realistic, focused and have a depth in our relationship that Im sure I would be hard pressed to find anywhere else... if it could ever happen. We are very good together but it is not always easy. For us it works.... but I would not be in this relaitonship if I were in it alone.... and that is what you have with someone in denial and active addiction.
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Old 09-21-2009, 08:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Oh, I'm sorry, I think I might have misinterpreted that you had substance abuse issues (what exactly is ACoH? Adult Child of ____?). And yes, I did sort of feel alone in the relationship - at least on an emotional level. He was good at all the surface stuff - handyman things around my place (we didn't live together), running errands, just going out together, never borrowed money from me (I wouldn't have given it to him anyway).

I purposely waited longer to move in or get engaged with him...and he knew this on some level. I wanted to see what shook out after a few years. I am not as educated around the topic of addictions as all of you are. Fortunately, I sought advice from a few professionals at the beginning of the relationship...not the best advice mind you, but they did say don't entangle finances and such. It wasn't until I found this website that I am getting the true story of addictions.

What was hard was that my ex was a very functional substance abuser. He was a responsible father, held the same job for 18 years, took care of a home, etc. He drank, but was never drunk. He was an occasional pot user (although I wasn't around him 24/7). But he did admit early on having addiction issues from age 12 and that he was working on them, but not with the help of AA or a professional.

And BTW, my co-dependency doesn't stem from any drug and alcohol use in my family. Mine stems from my very religious and traditional upbringing, general socialization for boomer women, and my personality. I was taught to be a people pleaser...it has taken a few decades to get over that one! Still not over it (apparently)..haha, but doing MUCH better.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Right on Freya. Alot of "dry drunks" out there that don't drink or abuse chemicals. An active addict is someone to be aware of, not trusted and if you have the strength, compassion and insight helped. Humbly on day 55 and working it.
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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My sponsor just told me that it was best not to have a relationship within the first two years of my sobriety as I am changing a lot and the person that I might be attracted to now I might not be attracted too later on. I can see that totally - but I had to learn the hard way and had two relationships in early sobriety. I didn't drink again but the desire to was very strong. I think it's because I never had any healthy relationships with anyone while I was drinking and using. I am only just learning to have a relationship with myself and if anyone else is the same as me I do tend to take people hostage. Like they HAVE to love me lol.

I am getting better though....trust is coming back into my life the longer sober I am.

Sometimes I worry that I wont be able to forge a true and meaningful relationship with someone but as I hand over my will and my life to the care of a God of my understanding I hand over that too obviously. I believe that when I am ready...things will happen.

Hope that gives a perspective on it!
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:27 AM   #10 (permalink)
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How have things been going for you Inquisitive7?
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Old 11-23-2009, 01:28 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Can those with addiction ever have a healthy relationship?
Just the question I am having this week. Can people in recovery have healthy relationships. I have learned that I REALLY need to do the step work my sponsor has been on me to do.
Learning that Im still not "cured" on the relationship/emotional front doesn't feel good at all but, its learning none the less. I didn't think I was totally cured but apparently Im still not ready for a relationship nor was she.

Thanks for your post !
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:38 AM   #12 (permalink)
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my situation

my GF was very good for 5 years after a troubled life as a teen - I am clean as can be, drugs do not interest me at all and we had a very healthy relationship. She went on a trip for a month, and clearly lost her way and felt there was no going back. I tried to fix it for months but it was too late - she had crossed over and replaced me with superficial relationships, parties and selfishness and most likely, drugs on some level. She really tried for a long time to be great and I was proud of her; but the voices brought her back - I only know some of the story because she won't tell it all but I am now just leaving her because it was really messing me up badly. She is a great person but she did get away from her recovery a little and now she is different towards me. I am just a reminder of all the good we had she lost. I don't quit on people I love. I think she can get back to being a good GF and we can learn from this. I say this because she is my best friend and has a depth few know - maybe from her experiences... I won't hold on forever but I do hope she figures it out for herself.

I don't know what to do though - do I remain a friend? some of her behaviors really hurt me - not just drugs but running towards superficial relationships and away from love - I have chosen to stay away to protect myself but also miss her every day... I hate drugs and addiction.
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Old 01-23-2010, 08:17 PM   #13 (permalink)
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We all hate drugs and addictions... They hurt everyone.

I had to cut all ties when I ended a relationship, just could not be friends while in a healing process and what I found is a person in active addiction / Alcoholism was not only unable to have a relationship but they were not real good friends either.

Best to allow the person to hit their bottoms and figure it out. When I stayed in a relationship like that I only enabled them and made it easier for them while not addressing my issues. It took me a long time to figure out that I could not help them and often I did more harm then good when I stayed in those relationship, by the time they ended I was not the type of person I wanted to be and they rightfully though I was a crazy women...

Im glad to hear your keeping the focus on yourself and have the strength to step back from the relationship.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:53 PM   #14 (permalink)
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was the relationship "healthy" before the addiction came to the surface?
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Old 01-30-2010, 02:27 AM   #15 (permalink)
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relationships are hard enough without any issues with alcohol or drugs
but addiction makes it all the more harder!!! Addicts tend to be unfaithful
too & betrayal hurts deeply as I have found.
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Old 02-06-2010, 02:35 PM   #16 (permalink)
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it's a difficult question to answer... the experiences of alcoholism and some of the recovery experiences were definitely not fun for those around me, but in some way I'm thankful for them because (I think) I'm now a far better person than I was before I showed any signs of addiction. It was the pain during the process of recovery that forced me to learn to communicate and feel empathy. The addiction only amplified the self-centeredness and anger that were in me all along, it didn't create them. Had I led a "normal" life, I probably would never have changed. If you like, it took the addiction experience to make me into any kind of relationship material at all.
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