I am having an acceptance problem. I have to accept that an intimate relationship with a recovering alcoholic is still an intimate relationship with an alcoholic. It’s nice that my qualifier doesn’t drink and continues to work a program toward serenity. The fact is that certain classic characteristics of alcoholism remain, and they may never go away. It’s unrealistic to expect them to. Just because they were not in evidence during the courtship and honeymoon phases does not mean that they have been absent. I don’t know what it means – either the other person was too focused on something to engage in them or I was too blinded to observe them. Or some other factor. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that they are there.

Back to ADB we go!

  • I need to accept that they are there and there is nothing I can do about that. That’s firmly in the hands of my qualifier and their HP.
  • I need to detach from the internal workings of the alcoholic. While these classic behaviors may be affecting me, they are not about me. The alcoholic’s feelings, moods, psychology are not mine to own or be responsible for.
  • I need to form boundaries to take care of myself. How can I take care of myself in this situation?
I have noticed over time that alcoholics can be oblivious about the world around them, so wrapped up in their internal workings that they don’t notice things in their physical environment. Sometimes this can be so egregious, it’s on the level of a physical disability.
I have discovered that simple, explicit verbal communication is sometimes required for things that non-alcoholics understand immediately without it. For instance, if an ordinary person were to take my hand and I were to flinch way and put the hand behind me, the ordinary person would expect that there is some reason I don’t want them holding my hand, whether it be an interpersonal reason or a physical reason, such as an injury. The ordinary person might ask what the problem is. 
In the same position, an alcoholic may simply reach for the hand again, perhaps even taking the arm and following it down to the hand without any apparent hesitation. Conversely, the alcoholic may assume an interpersonal reason and leap directly into an offensive or defensive measure. I’ve seen that too. It can be an illness of extremes. Either failure to notice at all, or beyond notice into hyper-focus and reaction.
Some of these physical issues have occurred, and it’s too easy for me to read into them meanings that probably aren’t there, such as, “That person doesn’t respect me.” or “That person is treating me like a child.” or “That person thinks they have the right to jerk my body around.” Maybe it will help to remember to “presume goodwill” and use that simple, explicit verbal communication. I can say, “Please don’t take my hand; it hurts.” I have to then let it go, not brood on it all day. It fouls my mood.
Actually, I have acquired several new resentments and fears, so I’ve started working on a 4th Step inventory about them.

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