Do Alcoholics In Recovery Tend To Push People Away

Flower LockedGuest Post By: Cindy
Is it common for an alcoholic in recovery to push people away? One of my closest friends is now in outpatient treatment. We used to talk just about every day and see each other several times a week. He was the probably the closest person to me in a very long time. But it was also I that began to really notice the drinking and watching him slowly killing himself.

I went to his family and they did an intervention which embraced and then went to detox. Once released from detox he is now back to work and going to intensive outpatient treatment. This is what I wanted for him. I wanted him to be alive and to see the truly wonderful person he is. The person I see.

The thing is now how badly it has affected me. I haven’t seen him since he went to detox two months ago. And have had very little contact at all. He will not see me or talk to me really. Says he has no time for me.

It has left me lost and confused as I don’t understand why he can’t even find an hour to talk like the friends we were. He knows it was me who gave his family the information and they assure me he is not mad. But if he is not mad why is he now pushing me away?

The mental toll it has take on me just isn’t getting better. The night before the intervention he was very intoxicated and said something very hurtful to me. He told me that I didn’t matter to him. He had never said something like that before and while it hurt at the time I knew he was drunk and that help was coming so I let it go.

Now that two months has gone by and he is getting help and he won’t really talk to me the only thing I can hear is him telling me that I didn’t matter to him. I hear it all the time and see him saying it when I close my eyes. I doubt he remembers saying it. I’ve been struggling with feeling hurt and used by him and now that he is getting help he doesn’t need me to help him cover up his problem.

I don’t truly believe he doesn’t care about me, but the longer he goes without wanting me in his life the more I tell myself he didn’t. Then I feel guilty about all the signs that he was in trouble with alcohol, but I never said anything as I wasn’t sure. I could have done something much sooner and I feel terrible that I didn’t. I wonder if he now hates me because I watched and didn’t say anything. I guess I just need to know if this is normal or not as the pain feels like it will never go away and is only getting worse.
Please feel free to leave a comment below.

77 comments to Do Alcoholics In Recovery Tend To Push People Away

  • Pez

    Not at all Stephanie. I just don’t want to hold back on this site because your here. Do not take our posts personal or attacking you. We need to vent about OUR situation. This is what this site is for and support. We do not hate you nor are we angry at you personally. I would be going to women’s meeting too if I were you cause the cheating has nothing to do with you and it’s depressing. You are not as nearly as severe as my XAB or Debbie’s husband. You may have said some mean things and got balligerant, but you did not take joy in anothers suffering etc…..Because you FEEL for what you have caused, it led you to recovery. But there are A’s out there who don’t feel for anyone or anything (denial and booze) and will never regret, hurt because they hurt others, or recover.

  • Tracy


    Have you hear in you’re AA meetings that infidelity is part and parcel of alcoholism/addiction?

    I have been too open AA meetings and a lady A told me a lot of A men have affairs. I think most of the lady A drink in the house.

    My AH used to phone me crying like a baby saying he does not know why he does the things he does I wonder if he meant the other women too? He did say when he was caught 8 years ago texting OW he did not know why he did it maybe he does not but it is so hurtful.

    I think you will make it Steph you want to live a normal life and to do so for you is to stop drinking. My A friend whose been sober for 14 years used to talk to a bottle of wine and say why can’t I be normal and have 1 drink like other people. I do believe you do not mean to hurt people its the nature of the disease. My AH wasn’t abusive but now he is terrible but that’s because he knows he blown it big time, the drinking was hard and I would have still been with him but OW no way he had his chance and blew it. X

  • I have not heard alot of personal stories from men
    in AA. Most people only speak for a short time
    but many do bring up the infidelity .
    Some seem to accept that it was part of the
    addiction and in recovery they seem sorry
    bc of what they did. They don’t say details . Alot of broken hearts and relationship.
    Unfortunately the A is not the only one to live with
    the consequences , even if ‘we’ are regretting
    the behavior…

  • Pez
    You are a kind and understanding person .
    After all you are dealing with you have helped
    me more than you may realize. I’m sure there is
    love in your future. Do the family members
    of A’s also have a hard time loving yourself?

  • Pez

    “Do the family members
    of A’s also have a hard time loving yourself?”
    Not understanding the question Steph.

  • Pez
    The question is about how before recovery
    many A’s have a very difficult time loving themself
    Accepting oneself as God teaches us to.
    I’m sure the shame and guilt get in the way of
    forgiveness , but the low self esteem
    and sometimes self hatred are prevalent in
    many A’s. I was wondering if living w an A does
    that to you . I hope not…
    Also just got back from the women’s group.
    I’m glad I went. I wanted to stay home but I heard
    what I needed to hear about surrender .
    Like it or not , it’s where I belong.

  • Cindy

    I see that there are many of you who have been with alcoholics for a number of years. I am wondering if you have ever felt guilty for being angry at the alcoholic? As crazy as it sounds, when I find myself getting pissed off for how I am treated I start to feel guilty. Guilty because he is sick. But yet no other “friend” would ever “get away” with treating me so badly. I find myself getting so angry and if I attempt to tell him (usually via text as he won’t talk to me) how I know I don’t deserve being treated so bad then I feel guilty. Guilty for “causing” him more stress. And then I try to make it better and I feel worse. Somewhere along the way I boarded the “crazy train” and I know it. I don’t think I’m healthy anymore either or I wouldn’t constantly be a roller coaster of emotions. I wouldn’t ever be like this with any other friend but throughout this I have pretty lost all of my friends. I just never seen it coming. Not like this. And I feel like a very terrible person for being pissed off and for trying to do something to help him. its guilt that is killing me and at this point I don’t even know why.

  • Pez

    I think that is all individual Stephanie. I have heard on this site and read in articles that the partners of A’s can start with a low self-esteem or living with the A’s constant put downs can create it and maybe the rest you mentioned. I’m sure others will say how they are. For me personally, I already had a good view of myself when I met him and have a loving and supporting family. He could NEVER touch my self-esteem and he did not try much with me (I think he knew), where others say there A’s had constant put downs for them. Actually my XAB put down others more, Tried to manipulate my thinking to accept his drinking as “normal” and if I loved him I would stay and accept it. If not he taunted me with other women (a threat to leave) Which I read in “Why do they do that……” is abuse. I only lived with him for aprox little over a year then I moved out because of his verbal/emotional abuse: stuff like “I think I’m going to let you go, get out”, then the next morning, “I don’t want you to go”. stuff like this happened on a regular basis, plus blackouts, anger then crying, then pass out and urinate the couch or bed. It was sooooooo caotic I had to rent a hotel room on several occasions and slept in my beauty shop for about 2 weeks! That is bullshit. I needed a place to call home to come home to peace. He also locked me out several times and much more. I could write a book.
    So I got my own apartment but we still dated hoping this would motivate him. Everyone told me how much he loved me. Don’t know. but the booze came before even love of a good woman.
    In researching myself I know I have abandonment issues. I lost my mom at 24 to cancer, have had several failed long-term relationships and I Hate Loss and losing people. I guess I’m getting more used to it lately. Lost my love to alcohol a little over 3 months ago, one of my cats about a month ago, and my other cat is dying of old age. Loss is a part of life, but doesn’t mean I have to like it. I have a small family just my Aunt & uncle and my dad in CA. I do have friends but they are all married and we do things here and there but of course they have families. It’s not just the loss–I truly loved him.

  • Pez

    Cindy. NOPE I never felt guilty for telling him how he was hurting me & others or that his actions were inappropriate–Never. He was the one causing the turmoil. You have NOTHING to be ashamed of for trying to save his life!! And telling it like it is. The truth is nothing to be ashamed of.

  • Cindy

    Pez, I know I shouldn’t and that’s the crazy part. It amazes me how twisted and distorted my view on things has become. I hope I can get to the point you are. Right now I feel like a doormat and how it happened I don’t know. Stephanie – thank you for writing from the alcoholics side. I would give anything to hear one good thing about me from him. The embrassing of others and the puhing me away sent me into the downward spiral. Its not that I wanted a “thank you” that’s not what I wanted at all. I wanted him alive to be in my life for a long time. but I wasn’t prepared for the negative way he is towards me. I could take the negativity from a drunk but when it comes from a sober person its hurts me twice as much. Its hard to explain. Please continue to go to AA. You really do have what it takes to recover and make a difference.

  • Cindy

    Debbi – I can’t imagine what you are going through. I’ve often been amazed that a person can do some of the things they do when they are drinking. Human compassion seems to go away. I will keep you in my thoughts.

  • Pez
    One thing we have in common is that fear of
    losing people we love. Abandonment issues.
    I also lost a parent, my father when I was 22.
    3 suicides, including my brother.
    Then my first husband left in such a terrible way.
    It seems these types of events cause something
    within that is difficult to rationalize. Those feelings
    come and then have to be dealt with.the big difference
    in us is that I push people away at times
    But maybe out if that fear that they will leave?
    I’ve been to counseling in the past for over a year
    to understand loss better . But it’s there. Even tho
    I can recognize it. I’ve often thought maybe I push
    them away before they leave but that is so crazy.
    I know it used to be a bigger problem than it is now.
    With a death it is different but the loss is huge.
    My old sponsor used to describe it as pulling a train
    Bc when one thing happens , that whole train of events is
    there too. Once she explained it like that I have
    Vern able to not reopen wounds. At least to recognize them

  • Cindy
    It upsets me when a family member
    is angry with me for a relapse …
    They have a right to be… As an A who is sorry
    I want to be forgiven .
    To me, once I admit and apologize , I want to
    make amends and move on. I have a very
    impulsive nature which is exactly what gets me
    into trouble. When I act before I think and then
    it’s too late. But my family does not understand
    that powerful insanity of craving. And how could
    the non A understand that ???? But I will say
    that even tho it hurts me , I can’t blame them .
    Consequence is really hard but for me , it’s one
    of the things that makes me want to be well.
    Not just to stop causing their pain
    ( which I understanding better now)
    But because it causes me pain bc I !!!!
    caused their reaction. Please do not blame yourself
    for those feelings. A’s at meetings are very aware
    of how they lost love. I hear those stories and
    realize how lucky I am . But that could change
    if I don’t change. The commitment I read here are
    strong. I have been given books about codependent
    relationships and it is helpful bc sometimes
    It’s so tangled up and addiction is a selfish behavior
    even if one does not mean to be. I am really seeing
    that in a stronger light now too and I first got sober
    20 years ago… Then the last several years of relapse ..
    It’s bc u didn’t mean to cause harm but I did and still do .
    It is a sickness but that in no way minimizes
    what effect it has on you….
    I heard once the definition of shame is a decision
    to stay sick, and guilt is a separation from God.
    That rang t rue for me. And you have not done
    anything wrong to feel guilty about.
    A’s do need support to get well and I wanted my
    family to be that support but that’s selfish to ask .
    Bc they are trying to live well…..

  • Cindy
    I typed a u unread of an I….
    Meaning I caused pain
    Not u!!!!!

  • Pez

    Yep, the train explains it quite well. I believe My XBA also has this as he has stated women always left him (Except his X wife/he left her when she stood her boundries) and they said he was f’d up–hmmmm I wonder why?
    He doen’t like boundries. He bails. It’s a shame cause he only hurts himself by not looking at himself and correcting his errors. I felt him get close then pull away all throughout the relationship ie push me away by numerous ways. He’s messed up.

    Loss sucks but it is the cycle of life and we all experience it one way or another. It’s sad to push people that love and care for you away though. But A’s do especially when they don’t get what they want. yea, I don’t push away I CLING–but doing better at breaking that by no contact at all.

  • Pez
    I understand. I guess I did not get what you meant
    when I read it
    I do think that alot of us, no matter which side
    may have similar issues
    Maybe bc some A’s come from alcoholic families.
    I don’t know but I’m grateful for your explanation

  • Setting boundaries had never been natural for me.
    If I had more of them I may not hAve crossed that line of healthy/
    unhealthy behavior …..

  • Debbi

    Thank you for your compassion and I too will keep you in my thoughts as you struggle through this.

  • Pez

    Debbie, Cindy, Linda, and whoever else is interested the other site I found is called- Empowered Recovery-this is a non-religious based site based on metaphysics (basically the power to change yourself, your life). I find it a good balance for this site. They also lean toward leaving the alcoholic rather than sticking it out. Like I said two views are better than one!!! I like to look at both. Some teachings are the same such as detachment. I also have a profile photo on the blog/posts if anyone wishes to see : ). PS The Empowered Recovery is for Non-alcoholics to recover!!!

  • Olga

    Stephanie.. as a recovering alcoholic, is there hope? Deep down in there somewhere does the person of the A still exist? And how does one know for sure if someone is an A.
    My husband respects my boundaries when I am in his company… When I was on Hols for 6 weeks (im a teacher) no real issues… If I suggest a limit on a night out or whatever (im preggers so don’t drink)he respects that… He will still want a couple to take home, but will leave it at that… plus, when working he is sensible enough not to have too many the night before…. However, when I am not around (ie. he on day off and i at work) I will frequently come home to him drunk at 4pm in the afternoon…. the thing with this is he knows I really hate it and it upsets me, but he still does it anyway… He seems to not care one tiny bit what the consequences are… What am I dealing with? Can you please advise? Orla x

  • Olga
    Yes there is hope but the A must want it.
    I was at a funeral recently and as you may know
    I have been struggling with sobriety
    I made a decision to love my life again .
    So yes, “I ” the “A” was still in there.
    I hope to keep this up and have been rewarded
    with opportunities to help my family . Love is there.
    When I drink those opportunities disappear .
    A person has to feed the good stuff
    Love patience kindness
    Drinking feeds anger resentment etc….
    I hope and I pray your husband will want it.
    That awareness is the first step .
    If you can listen to any of
    The recovery2point0. Com
    Conference that is still free online thru Sunday
    there is one that addresses family issues .
    At least one…..
    I think my decision to love my life again came from
    a combination of things… One being the posts
    here about how awful it is for all of you
    I don’t want to be that person and I hope your
    husband decides that too.

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  • Niceguy

    Hi All, Its so interesting and also sad reading all of your comments,what hell most of us have been through,and i really hope you all find inspiration and at least some answers on these blogs,,,i know i do.
    Well it now 4 months since i split with my alcoholic gf. She was a functioning alcoholic,good job seemed in control of her life,,or at least i thought she was. I miss her so much,i really fell in love with this woman,mainly because she was so nice to me and was so genuine and had been so lonely for the past twelve year.A really lovely woman,but so mixed up.
    I had no idea she had a drink problem until after about 4 moths when she had a massive mood change,blamed me for things,seemed to cause arguments,said that i,d changed massively of late,,,i know i hadnt changed so this was all strange to hear.
    I believe that she couldnt hide the situation any more and she told me of her addiction,,this was done about 6 days of no contact and then she finally admitted it wasnt my fault,,i suppose that must have taken a lot of guts,,or she really did feel guilty for treating me so bad,,i know she once said she did.
    I tried to talk with her,,to try and understand her,,but she became so distant after she told me she had a drink problem, is this usual in the alcoholic to push you away so much,,even when they keep saying they love you,its so hard for a non A to understand,,im really trying to educate myself on all these forums but its still so hard to imagine they will dump us and our happiness as a couple for the sake of drinking.
    The woman i love and she loved me,,seeing her behave this way was tearing me apart,,how and why we ask. I never so her drunk once in our relationship,,or at least not the way we percieve drunks,,,slurred speech and wobbling,,she always held her composure and seemed normal to me,,even after 8 large white wines. Is it true that they build up an immunity to the effects of the alcohol,,they are still under the influence if ya like but they dont show it ?? How does this work/happen,,can anyone assist in explaining please. Ive been told that her strange behaviour through the day also could have been that when she has a wine through the day its like topping her up again from the night before. She only usually drinks at night time,,maybe one or two bottles of white wine,,so would she be infact still drunk in theory the next day if she has a couple at lunch time,??
    She was hard to deal with through the day,,hardly ever contacted me,,she was at work but she rarely went for long periods,,appointment basis only,,maybe she drank in between,,how do i know,,they tell lies all the time im led to believe.Anyway the last time i text her was early december,,she always had fears of me leaving her and hurting each other,,she used to say these things all the time before she told me she was an alcoholic!!! the traits of a borderline really,,everything about her bahaviour points to this also,,i know now that she knows a realationship cant possibly last with her,,even though she wants desperately long term,, she cannot really hide the problem for long,,it eats her up inside,,then she admits it then dumps me,,why why why wont they talk openly about it,,we did love each other so much,,or at least i thought she loved me. She implied she did this for me,she didnt want to hurt me ,,she said she couldnt see a future with me,,nothing would be different in 6 months etc etc,,well i know why she said that now obviously,,but i didnt know about her problem when she was saying these things?? surely thats deceitful of her,,So as from december she has justignored my last two texts,nothing from her over xmas and new year,,dont see why i should try contact her again looking like a fool as shes never replied at all to my messages,,,if she supposedly loved me then show a little respect,,we didnt really part with an argument,she does it all by text,,wouldnt talk to me face to face,,which hurt me as we always talked and said we,d tell each other everything,,so horrible to go through things this way,,i feel deflated and so unhappy,,i also feel pulled between believing she was honest with me,,or all the talk of love etc was just bullshit,,,,just used me for 6 month then move onto other relationship later,,im not sure anymore,,she called me bitter and twisted everytime i argued back and defended myself,,,which i rarely did,,she twisted everything back to me,,,,how are we ever going to try and understand their behaviour,,i wish someone could explain???,,its like been split black by a borderline,,i think shes one of these,,her behaviour is so strange at times..We all get told we are better out of it,,aahh easier for them to say,,they didnt love them like we do,,i just wish she would get in touch after thinking about all of this carry on,,,or do they not even think about all the thing we did together,,do they block it out because of the alcohol,,i think about her constantly,,but there again im not addicted to drink,,other than tea !!good luck everyone and keep commenting,cheers,x

  • Tracy

    Hi Niceguy,

    I am married to a A although we separated 15 months ago. No one can tell you what you should and shouldn’t do but please believe me it gets a lot worse. With the exception of my 2 kids I wish I never met my husband as he took a nice girl and turned me into a nervous, jealous with no self esteem woman. It is very very hard but I could never go back to the insanity of being with him because it is insane. I still have bad days and I am tearful, but I am getting better and working on me and my issues not his issues my issues. I love him I always will but me and my kids deserve peace, respect, truth and real love and he can’t give us these things because he hates himself. I have had no contact for nearly 6 weeks and its not easy sometimes I think I will never get over loosing him to his disease however I wouldn’t swap the peace I have now for nothing. He blames me for everything and I mean everything he will never take responsibility for what he has done to us, I tried last week texting him to seek help and all I got was abuse so now I pray that God takes away his desire to drink. A pastor who is in recovery for 20 plus years told me never be surprised by what a A says and does! and he was right I never thought the man I married and spent 25 years with could say and do the things he has done! You always hope you’re A will be the exception but sadly they are not. Take care, God bless and I hope you meet a lady who is not ill with alcoholism.

  • Niceguy

    Hi Tracy.
    Thanks for the kind words,i hope all works out for u also.Youre right when you say they blame us for everything,,thats how it seems.They rarely apologize either,,but we learn the hard way i suppose. I dont really want another relationship now as i had recently come out of a twenty year marriage before meeting my new gf. She knew the hurt i,d been through and she also had been hurt in the past,but she,d been single for years.We agreed we wouldnt give each other any shit or tell any lies,,cards on the table if u like,,sounded great,,thats the way i like it,,hide nothing.She also agreed this was the way forward.However when push came to shove she really didnt stick to her side of the bargain did she.I understand it was difficult for her,,but if you know you are hidding a massive problem but you long for that special long term relationship as she said she did,,then why tell people youve fallen in love with them when really u know you cannot keep this pretence up,,why carry on with a relationship that you know is gonna end soon because of ur problem. I think thats cruel and you are destroying other peoples life.Maybe she didnt expect to love me so quick,,but i still think its really selfish to do this to other people,ie like me ,,who think youve found someone nice and special,,you fall for them,,then they do this to you,,its so dishonest and untrustworthy. I told her that and she went mad,,saying whatever ,, ive been honest!!Dont contact me again,,,denial i,d say,,bye for now and good luck

  • niceguy

    Hi Stephanie.
    I have read your comments with great interest,i think you are doing really well to come on here and say so much,” that in itself is on of the things my ex gf said she couldnt do! talk to me in the end about her alcohol problem. For you to comment an help others understand that tells me you are not as selfish and thoughtless as some alcoholics, a credit to you for that.
    I really loved my gf and still do even though she has made it clear she wants no contact,,we were not together that long but we became so close.
    I knew there was something not right from the off,but couldnt put my finger on it.Turned out she is a functioning alcoholic,good job an a young daughter,respected member of the community,well like by all. However she is so reclusive,,never going anywhere after work or on time off,is this normal for an A to hide away ? Thats why we had an amazing time,,i took her all over the place,,she really loved going out for days out,,she always was so appreciative.Aother thing she said after she admitted her problem to me was that it kept her busy and kept her mind from thinking about drinking,,,fair enough i though!!Once she admitted to me she had a drink problem,,oohhh and just to say “she never once called herself an alcoholic” and she also said to me “dont even pretend to try and understand the situation” it is what it is” i thought that was a very low and defeatist attitude,,as if she had no intention of wanting to at least try to give up the drink. What do you think stephanie,,i would really like you to help me understand how shes thinking, if you dont mind of course!.After she admitted her problem to me she became so distant,,as if she didnt want to be close to me,,she wasnt the same woman i fell for.She kept saying she didnt want to hurt me or herself,,she said i was a lovely man all the time and she said she loved me so much,,then why hurt me so much then,,or herself,,was it out of kindness for me,,Im so unsure because she was so nasty at times on her texts.I just want to try and comprehend why she suddenly change overnight from being a loving caring girlfriend to whats seems like an uncaring callous cold person overnight,,,thats why i ask the kind folk on here to share their experiences and help others.Thats shows that they do have a caring side,,maybe not with those whom they are close too, but to people they dont know they can seem very genuine.God im really confused at times,,all people say to u is “forget her,youre better off without her” yes thats all good and well but they dont love her and feel so sorry for her the way shes havin to live her life.I dont want to find out one day she really ill or collapsed or something or even died god forbid,,,i,d feel so guilty i didnt help her more,”but what can i do when she pushed me away and refused to deal or talk to me about it”its so terrible to be on the recieving end if you love them,,,,,obviously not as terrible as having the addiction i understand that and i dont mean to sound selfish myself,,it may seem as if its about me me me ,but really its not,,its because i feel so lost without any answers from her,,she just ended it so instantly once she told me she drank to excess.From what ive heard shes doing ok,still drinking though,,she obviously didnt go to AA as she told me,,or at least not for long.How does AA make you feel steph if you went to it??my ex said she been drinking for about two years,,she says she drinks about 7 to 10 bottles of wine per week,,shes a really intellegent woman and very high morals and standards. Nobody apart from myself and a close friend of hers whos in the same position know about her drinking problem.There remains so many unanswered questions i would like to ask the kind folk on here,,but not all on one message though,lol. I hope we all get at least some clarification of what were wanting to know to some degree, and i really would like to thank all on these blogs for their input.My gf wa 47, going through the change of life,,think on hrtherapy treatment,,and had all the traits of a borderline,,however saying all this now i,d like to say that when we met and throughout our relationship when we were together she was the most kind loving thoughtful sweet innocent person i have ever met.So fragile at times,,but hard at other times,,especially with her work,,like she had split personalities or something. More questions with no answers,,thanks for listening stephanie,you take care also.x

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