Meet the Boyfriend.
I told B. that I knew I had a drinking problem on our fifth date, a little over two years ago. I was pretty smashed at the time.
I can’t remember his response, but he didn’t seem to mind. I stayed over at his house for the first time that night.
Although we drank a lot together during that first year, he never got out of control.
Unlike me. I had at least one binge every two months or so, and it wasn’t pretty. Like the time I became a maudlin drunk at a friend’s wedding, slipped and fell and banged up my knee. But he was still in love with me.
He told me about his dad, an alcoholic who had abandoned the family and just went from bad to worse. The man had experienced a spell of sobriety where he was highly active in his town’s AA, but he fell off the wagon and never climbed back up. Now he’s in an assisted living home, his body wasting away from years of abuse, all his relationships damaged dramatically, perhaps beyond repair.
About a year into my relationship with B., he told me my drinking was unsettling. He’d seen and experienced the tragedy of alcoholism up close and personal, and it didn’t bode well for our future together. I vowed to do something.
That something didn’t include AA.
So of course it didn’t work. And yet we went on, with that massive pink elephant in the room. Every now and then, he’d bring it up and I’d swear I was going to change. I’d stop drinking for brief stints, but never with the intention of really stopping.
This time around, I know in my heart of hearts it’s different. But how can he be sure?
As he told me, “You said you’d do something about it four times already. And nothing changed. What makes me think it’s going to be different this time?”
He has a point.
He’s said that he hasn’t given up on me, or us, and that he still loves me. I think I believe him. I just don’t know if we’ll ever get back to where we were — or, ideally, move on to an even better place. He’s distanced himself so much to avoid the potential pain that he doesn’t seem open to the good stuff, either. We’re having trouble connecting. And it’s breaking my heart.
B. and the preservation of our relationship were the catalysts for my getting into AA and getting sober. And yet I’m not doing this for him. I’m doing it for me. But damn if I don’t want a guarantee that if I continue on this path, things will work out with him.
I want that to be one of the Ninth Step Promises:
…Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
B. and C. will reach a higher, deeper level of love and true intimacy and live happily ever after…
I know, I know. That’s not how it works. That’s not what it’s about.
But surely you’ve been there. And honestly, can you blame me?
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Tags: AA, Alcoholics Anonymous, boyfriend, dating, drinking, drinking problem, getting sober, intimacy, life, love, Ninth Step Promises, not drinking, recovery, relationships, sober, sobriety