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Blissful Beginnings

Imagine a relationship that begins so seductively and euphorically that you could never imagine anything but bliss from that first day forward. Imagine you believe you have truly met the perfect, most understanding partner. The partner who would “love bomb” you with affirmation that left you feeling empowered and confident, a little less anxious while still believing you were free to be “yourself.” Simply spending time together was enough to allow you to escape every unwanted feeling or experience, creating an entangled emotional dependency that constantly rendered you blissfully unaware. For many, this is how the beginning of a relationship with alcohol feels.

As in all relationships, we eventually must come back to earth and engage in the real world to address our real and daily responsibilities. In your case, however, you experience an awaiting world of obligations and responsibilities that indicate you’ve spent too much time in this distracting relationship, yet the idea of putting any distance between yourselves feels unthinkable.

After all, this so-called connection has become how you have learned to ignore all the unpleasant feelings, realities, and issues you have carried with you most of your life. Even more powerful is the illusion of intimacy you feel simply because you can’t feel anything else.

Over time, and after much reflection, you decide it would be in your own best interest to create some distance. No big dramatic breakup. Just cut back a bit on the visits. Maybe merely adjust the saturation level until other things have a chance to get back on track. However, this is never as easy as it seems.

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Taking A Break

The first few attempts to avoid connecting were difficult, and you realized that there is a level of intent this situation requires that you may have been previously naive about. The other party offered some pushback and even predicted you would be back.

Your emotional strain began to be accompanied by some physical symptoms that you just chalked up to the stress of a bad breakup. Surely everyone leaving a relationship feels a little physical discomfort under the newly realized anxiety of being apart, you reasoned.

As you try to create more distance, you begin to realize that the other party is starting to become agitated and even demanding, pelting you with messages, reminders, and even pictures of happier days together, which start showing up daily, attempting to pull you back into the vortex of your old normal.

The demands the relationship made of your time and resources begin to become more apparent, and the realization that you have engaged in this relationship at the expense of everything else in your life starts to settle in.

You see their messages, their multiple voicemails, and their carefully selected reminders and pictures, ultimately convincing yourself that maybe if you gave the relationship a better chance by measuring your time together and having better boundaries, you could make it work and enjoy the best of all worlds. Maybe this totally abstaining from connecting was a bit overboard of you, you reasoned.

Sadly, the other party wants no part of sharing you with anyone or anything.

You realize not long after re-engaging that you are already deeper into the unwanted isolation and preoccupation than you ever were previously. After a period of entertaining what you hoped would be a working compromise, you realized beyond any doubt that this relationship was playing for keeps, so you set out to plan your departure and embark on a journey to reclaim whatever was left of your former life. You hadn’t heard yet that you would need to create a new normal, not try to resurrect the old one.

Ultimately, you are experiencing the fork in the road of leaving an abusive partner or staying in wishful thinking, which requires navigating life on a very short leash.

This is what it is like emotionally to break up with alcohol!

Reflecting On Past Relationships

We talk a great deal in our work with clients and patients about the physical and psychological impact alcohol has on us and the way we have used it to medicate and isolate ourselves from the trauma we are determined not to feel. All of that and more is certainly true.

At the end of the day, however, alcohol is a relationship that requires grieving and acknowledging the emotional impact it took on our lives to successfully break up with it. Those of us who have entertained that relationship had to realize that we were leaving something that feels like a very self-absorbed old lover that ultimately set us up to fail at every turn.

More than one marriage partner has referred to alcohol as the “other” person in their marriage, and as one client recently stated, “A relationship with alcohol is like dating a narcissist.”

When we remove alcohol from our lives, it sets us up to miss the former perceived intimacy alcohol offered to make room for a new, authentic intimacy in our willingness to be truly known. This required vulnerability and intentionality after admitting we were powerless over anything that the relationship had to offer.

Today, however, we can tell ourselves the truth and trust ourselves enough not to make excuses but to see things for what they are and move forward knowing we don’t have to fall victim to the nostalgic pretenses we once believed. Today, we’ve begun to learn the power of letting others share in our thinking and offer their insights and input, realizing that we may still be more vulnerable than we think.

Regardless of all the wishful trips down memory lane grasping for ways to remember our old life with fondness, we have now committed to a life of honest, open accessibility.

Today we have invited the wisdom of others who are further along on their own road and who have also known their share of self-absorbed relationships.

We have agreed to find intimacy in being known and loved in a circle of people who will tell us the truth even when it is hard to hear.

We are learning that we owe some explanations and genuine repentance to those in our life to whom we have lied, stolen from, and ignored while our long, arduous relationship was going on.

Most of all, we are finding freedom in the realization that we are a person that we would like to get to know better.

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Break Up With Alcohol Today

Embarking on a journey of integrating our whole self into one person is the ultimate freedom. Our old relationship required us to masquerade as many different personas as possible to accommodate the demands of our former preoccupation.

Today, we remind ourselves that even amid experiencing great pain and discovery in our lives, we are living more authentically than when we were romanticizing that which was toxic and deadly. The scrapbook of our old encounters that we once embraced fondly is now an archive of the past that our future selves cannot afford to entertain.

Breaking up with alcohol can be difficult and, at times, can even seem impossible. Nobody wants to experience the hardships that a breakup can bring about; however, doing so means you can say goodbye to unhealthy relationships and open the door to new, healthier ones.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism and want to start fresh, contact a treatment provider today to learn more about alcohol addiction treatment today.

Get help for alcoholism today.

If you or a loved one is ready to overcome an alcohol addiction, reach out today. Treatment providers can connect you with programs that provide the tools to help you get and stay sober.