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Rocky Relationships And Addiction

Question:

I have been seeing this woman for about 3 1/2 years now. Needless to say our relationships has been rocky. We go through periods of bliss to end in a sudden breakup by her. I have discovered that she has a huge fear of intimacy and low-self esteem. Over the last 5 months we both quit drinking and sought help through AA and individual counseling. We are currently apart however do to another sudden breakup when thing where doing great. She needed so time to work on her issues with her broken home and such. She doing well over the last few weeks and she has discovered that we enabled one another in our addictions and habits. I really wish to make this work out for us and I was wondering if there is a way to become aware of each other’s enabling habits and put a stop to them. I would rather us be positive enablers to one another. I seem to be doing much better than her as I have not had drop to drink in over 5 months. She had a panic attack and when out 2 weeks ago. She has a better sponsor now and is dealing with her resentments. I only want to help her in her progress. I know she needs to do this on her own, but I feel the time apart might allow us to drift apart. I do not want this to happen. I fear that discussing a reconciliation will seem enmeshing or codependent. Is there a way for us to become useful partners to one another during this time?

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Answer:

Relationships are really very difficult things to do well. Healthy relationships are most possible when two centered and relatively self-sufficient people who care for each other come together. In your case, you both have a lot of baggage you’re dealing with what sounds like childhood abuse issues and active addiction problems that are not well under control. Being in any intimate relationship while you are trying to get sober is a challenge; being in a relationship with someone who is not themselves rock solid sober is a disaster waiting to happen. I’ve heard it said in various 12-step circles that a good guideline is for no new relationships to be initiated until a good 12 months of sobriety are under ones belt. Neither of you seem to qualify at this point. It’s a tough call really, but for what it is worth, my advice is to worry more about your individual sobrieties than your romantic possibilities for a good long while. Be supportive friends for now. If it is meant to be, it will still be possible to pick up after you’ve each got your addictions under sustained control.

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