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confusedgf's avatar

Is it common for an alcoholic in recovery to push loved ones away?

Asked by confusedgf (11 points ) August 20th, 2014

My boyfriend is in recovery for alcohlism. He has been going to AA meetings for 2 months now and has been working on getting closer to God. We only see each other on the weekends because of our work schedules but we always spent our weekends together, even after he started recovery. Lately, he has been really distant. We haven’t seen each other in over 3 weeks and he will go days without talking to me. He doesn’t answer my calls or texts. This really hurts and of course I get upset. He says that I stress him out and am selfish because I want to spend time with him. He said at the beginning of this that he was doing it so that we would have a better and happier life together but now I’m not so sure about that. I don’t feel that I should be ignored or pushed away by someone who says he loves me, although he hasn’t said it in about a week. He tells me he needs time to get his life straight but wouldn’t you want your loved ones by your side through this? Is it normal for someone in recovery to push their loved ones away? He says he is doing it to everyone.

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8 Answers

Mimishu1995's avatar

Your boyfriend is recovering from alcoholism right? I guess he need some time to focus on his recovery. Recovery is pretty hard and he is trying to concentrate. He doesn’t necessarily get bored of you, he is just trying to concentrate.

I think you need to respect what he said and give him” time to get his life straight”. I know you want to be with him, but don’t push him so hard. After all he’s a man, and he need time to be alone. You can still stay close to him, but not too much.

JLeslie's avatar

Makes sense to me that they might push people away. They are going through an extremely emotional time, alcohol was their best friend, the person has to figure out how to deal with life without drinking. If you were part of his pattern of drinking he might need some distance. Even if you weren’t he might be so drained from analyzing his life that he has no more to give at the end of the day. You have to be patient, but I would say not too patient. There is the possibility it will break up your relationship. If he is distancing himself a lot from you then trust your gut feeling. I don’t know how old you are or how long you have been dating, but really think about whether you want to be in a long term relationship with an alcoholic. It would be very difficult for me. If they had been dry for many many years I might be ok with it, but I could never see myself starting a new relationship with someone who drinks regularly and then having to deal with them going through detox.

3 weeks isn’t terribly long, but if it stretches into 5 or 6, I’m with you, there is something not right. Going days without talking if you used to talk every day is a little odd.

Are you religious? You said he is getting closer to God.

Do you drink? Have you stopped drinking completely when with him?

canidmajor's avatar

Yes, it is fairly common. Early in recovery, addicts undergo big changes, physically and psychologically that require enormous concentration. As supportive and loving their family, friends, and significant others may indeed be, the recovering addict may view them as a distraction. Don’t be offended, and try not to take it personally.

Perhaps think of him as someone who is doing intensive training for an Olympic athletic event who needs to spend most of his time with coaches, or perhaps someone who is studying for the bar exam who needs to stay absolutely focused on the material, and maybe the others in a study group.

I wish him success in his recovery, it’s a hard road.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

It makes sense. Once a person acknowledges that they have a problem, they get embarrassed about it. They realise their wretchedness, and don’t want people they care about to see them in that state.

marinelife's avatar

Stop undermining your boyfriend’s recovery efforts! If you love him as you say, then you should want the best for him. He needs to be focusing on himself and his own issues not on you and the relationship.

How selfish you sound.

Tell him that you understand and want the best for him (and if you will that you will be waitng when he is ready to resume your relationship).

Pursue your own interests when he is not around. Take this time to explore yourself.

zenvelo's avatar

There is a confounding dynamic between someone new to recovery and those who are in his/her life from before sobriety to after.

The alcoholic is getting well, and experiencing emotions and feelings anew, sometimes for the first time ever. This may include a realization that the other person has been a codependent for a long time. And the recovering alcoholic also needs to focus on sobriety, which is time consuming at the start.

One thing that would help you is to check out AlAnon. When your boyfriend is off to an AA meeting, you go to AlAnon, and discuss this with others that have been through what you are going through.

Adagio's avatar

I was going to suggest exactly what @zenvelo has said above. Contact Al-Anon, from what I have heard it is just the place to express your feelings and gain support. There will be people there who have gone through or are going through the same experience as you and can empathise and answer your questions.

jca's avatar

The number one goal of a person in recovery is their recovery. Without their recovery, they will have nothing. As we all know, personal relationships can be tumultuous. Arguing, drama, etc. They can also be wonderful, so I’m not saying relationships are all negative. However, the person in recovery is supposed to be concentrating on their recovery and whatever that requires, not tending to the needs of a relationship.

It’s likely your boyfriend will want to take a break and may not want to break the news to you yet, either because he does not want to upset you or does not want to lose you, either.

You need to do what you need to do for yourself. Maybe back off and let the chips fall where they may. Participate in other activities and keep busy. Who knows what the future will hold for your? You may meet someone else or you may find your boyfriend comes back around emotionally in the near future.

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