Dysfunction, Alcoholics & Codependency


Lover’s trying to come back. Two months of ignoring his calls, and this week he hoodwinked me by phoning from a different number. I got as far as his “I’m in a bad way, I’m lost without you, I’m coming back” before telling him he’s definitely not wanted, and disconnecting.

I told the good doctor all about Lover during last week’s consult. In his specialised psychiatric opinion, Lover is a sociopath. My blood ran cold. He assured me I’d done nothing wrong; hadn’t attracted another alcoholic into my life. Sociopaths target people. He chose me. The doc said it was purely my good fortune that he happened to be an alcoholic. My background and experience with my alcoholic ex worked in my favour, ensuring a quick exit from the relationship. A sobering thought. Fortune favours the brave? A lucky escape? Yes indeed.

Embed from Getty Images


Now the sneaky, thieving, lying little bitch is planning on coming back to town. I hope my blunt rejection has deterred him, and not spurred him on. But now I have senario’s playing over and over in my head where he’ll seek revenge, lurking in the shadows, approach me in a parking lot, wielding a gun and wanting to kill me because I’m one of the few that didn’t rescue him from himself.

But the bright side is, I’m still suicidal. So if his gun-toting lordship wants me dead, just give me the time and place, motherfucker. For once, he’d actually be doing an act of kindness. But sarcasm aside, I really am unsettled. I suspect something has triggered him. Possibly he’s lost his job and is now “doing a geographic”. Again. This is a term used in AA which I learned from a recent post by Bradley (insightsbipolarbear.com)

In an attempt to prevent his return, I have emailed two of his family members, advising he is not ‘invited’, welcome nor wanted and has burned all bridges here in Durban. Hopefully someone will see sense and deal with the problem, so he doesn’t become MY problem.


Another one bites the dust

Long story short, I did it again. Oh yes. I attracted yet another alcoholic.

When I gave Lover the heave-ho, he stayed with a work colleague. I was in touch with this person regarding Lover’s welfare. Once Lover left for Cape Town, The Colleague kept in touch with me. He slowly made an impression and plied an invite to stay over the weekend – on the couch mind you. I am fresh from a breakup.

BOUNDARY ALERT: I do not tolerate the abuse of drugs or alcohol
Saturday evening I watched in horror as he ate fistfulls of pain pills – 30 in total – and drank like his life depended on it. The following morning was a beer for breakfast and a long explanation as to how he’s not alcoholic.

BOUNDARY ALERT: I do not tolerate theft
He was a docile drunk, but with my background, it was a frightening and traumatic weekend. The final straw once he’d left, was discovering he had stolen some of my anti-anxiety and sleeping tablets. Texts flew back and forth, culminating in me drawing a hard line – you are no longer welcome in my life.


So now I’ve emotionally regressed, back to point two – when Lover left – and back to point one, when I left my alcoholic husband. It’s been destablilising, I can’t stop crying or thinking about suicide.

Yes, I’m identifying these alcoholics a lot quicker and leaving a lot sooner. Each encounter, although totally different from one another, has been more severe than the one before. What am I doing wrong? Sweet jesus please for fuck sakes tell me why am I attracting these chaotic, destructive men into my life?

I never intended to post this because I feel like a complete fool. If I felt like a fool after Lover, imagine how I feel about myself the third time around. Three alcoholics, count ’em, three. Why? What am I doing wrong. I’m so tired and so close to giving up.

Dread brings revelation

It was inevitable. I knew it was going to happen. And I’m sure you knew it was going to happen. I caved in last Thursday and phoned him. Considering the bad state he left in, and the bad state I was in, I needed …. something. He’s safe, living with his parents. He has a job, he’s (not) drinking and he’s seeing his daughter regularly. That was all I needed to know.

But he had more to say – I miss you. I still love you. I’ll be coming back to Durban in about 4 months.

Ordinarily I would have expected my heart to leap for joy. But it didn’t. Of it’s own accord, my heart plumetted from my chest, bounced through my stomach and landed in the soles of my feet, with dread. Coming back? Doesn’t he know, in life, there is never any going back? There is always only moving forward? The dread I felt at the prospect of his return was the revelation I’ve been seeking.

I don’t want him back. I don’t want his drinking back. I don’t want the anxiety and anticipation back. I don’t want the rejection back. I don’t want his issues back. I don’t want his chaos back. And most importantly, I don’t want his love back, because his kind of love hurts, and I don’t want to hurt anymore.

I won’t suffer, be broken, get tired, or wasted
Surrender to nothing, or give up what I
Started and stopped it, from end to beginning
A new day is coming, and I am finally free
– 30 Seconds to Mars – Attack

I was rendered pretty much speechless during the phone call. So this is part of a text I sent:
……but please know, if you come back to Durban it has to be for reasons that exclude me..…. Some damage can’t be undone….. So if you’re coming up for me – don’t…… ‘we’ will never be able to be again.”

I feel a shift within myself. Where once there was longing, pining and guilt, I’m now bordering on neutral. I’m still sad. I still cry everyday. But at least now I’m not crying for him, I’m just crying because of him. And in time that pain will heal.


Eroding away at reality

For me the scariest thing about finding out Lover the Loser was an alcoholic was…………… that he was an alcoholic. Distressing to learn he was the second alcoholic I had allowed to enter my life. And now in retrospect, appalled to discover he was emotionally abusing me from the very outset.

emotional abuse

In the beginning while we were dating, he listened very carefully to me. And how easy it was – I’m an open book and wear my heart on my sleeve. He took advantage of that information and designed a persona he knew I would find desireable. But once we moved in together, he could no longer hide his alcoholic secret. And that is when I realised I was living with a stranger. I was frightened of him because I didn’t actually know him at all. Life as I knew it was suddenly over. The dream was dead.

heart on sleeve

He was a compulsive liar. The way in which he presented himself was the polar opposite of who he truly was. I am to take everything he ever said, turn it on it’s head, and take the opposite as the truth. It’s all chaotic and confusing. A mindfuck, if you will. Shocking to find the reality I knew, was nothing more than vapour from his breath.

And even more shocked to discover this twisting of the truth, this distortion of my reality, is a form of mental/emotional abuse called Gaslighting. Looking back, I can identify 17 years worth of this abuse by my Alcoholic Ex-husband. He beat me with lies, cunning and confusion to the point where I was dead inside. He defined my reality until nothing was real. I was easy pickings for a predator like Lover the Loser. Bipolar and medications have damaged my memory, so there was never any arguing against anything he said……. because I couldn’t remember. I had to trust him. Even when things did seem questionable, I had no choice but to believe him.


So to be honest, I don’t know who the real Slim Shady is. Too many lies have unfolded since he left, calling his character into question. What I do know, is that he has skillfully manipulated every truth to bend and fall in his favour, and I feel immensely stupid and gullible to have fallen for his alcoholic ways.  Especially after my experience with my Alcoholic Ex-husband.  Stupid… Stupid… Stupid!

Unwanted reflections

Loving an active alcoholic involves, amongst other things, a lot of anxious anticipation.

The apprehension of waiting for the impending unravelling. The fear of the dreaded PHONE CALL – that they’ve been arrested, been killed/injured in a car accident or *deep breath* have killed someone else on the road. The waiting for the inevitable ‘other shoe to drop’. The ever-present foreboding of their unpredictable behaviour and abuse.

The prospect of hope based on their declarations that ‘this time is different’. But having to live in constant caution against hoping too much, because lies and disappointment always overshadow their promises and declarations.

believe - themetapicture-com

Source – themetapicture.com


Lover the Loser hated to see or hear me crying. Just as with my Alcoholic Ex. Tears incited anger. I wonder if my tears were a mirror of their failure. If my tears were tangible evidence of the consequences of their behaviour. And I have to wonder if that is why neither one of them has ever tried to contact me after parting ways. I can only assume they are immensely relieved that the mirror has gone. No longer are they faced daily with a reflection of their shame, their guilt, their inability to live an undiluted life.

Perhaps it’s not that I’m unwanted. Perhaps it’s merely a case of not wanting to face themselves each day reflected in the mirror of my tears.


All bottled up


Much to my shame, I’m constantly on the verge of tears throughout the day. Still. It’s been over 2 weeks. By society’s standards I should be over him and under another by now. But no. That’s not me.

I sit at my desk and, with a will of their own, tears just plop out from my eyes. I don’t even cry, they just fall of their own accord. I dab at them, don’t smudge the mascara, give my nose a blow and have a good sniff. I don’t want people thinking “oh there goes the bipolar drama queen crying again”. In the past I’ve always been pro expression, you see.

But now, I try to go unnoticed. My face is blank and heavy. You couldn’t coax a smile if you tried. There is no smiling, only tears. But this heartache is a private matter, so I try to bottle my expressions up. Keep composed, be faultless with my work….. cute, clean robot…beep beep, zzzt, zzzt…..

I nearly phoned him tonight. Yes, I know, I know. I came this close to breaking my own No Contact Policy. I was about to dial when…… I started crying. Like proper crying, with hiccups and snot running over my upper lip. I am home, so I let myself cry good and proper. It was painful and raw and I hurt. But once it was over I felt cleansed. A release. A relief.

And the best part was, I no longer wanted to phone him.

Talk the talk and walk the walk

Today has been hard. I’ve been doing all the right things and saying all the right things, but nothing about any of this feels right. I keep busy but I think about him constantly. I do nothing and think about him constantly. I drive, I shop, I redecorate, I read a book, listen to music, watch a movie, cook dinner – and I think about him constantly. The only time I get any peace is when I sleep.


Despite having told him I’ve blocked all communication with him, I am compulsively checking my phone. ‘Cos, you know, maybe he’s trying to get hold of me with someone else’s phone. But no. Nothing. The blocking apps I loaded to my phone give logs of who and what they’ve blocked. I check those obsessively too – blocker list: total sms’s blocked: zero.


He does in no way, shape or form give a shit about me. He has comfortably moved on.


So why am I so obsessed with Lover the Loser? Why can’t I let go? Why can’t I move on? Why am I not doing a dance of joy – I dodged a bullet, I’m free, I’m safe, he’s someone else’s problem? Really…… what do I want with a 51 year old, unskilled, unemployed, penniless, chronic alcoholic who lives with his parents and has no transport of his own? Who lived on the streets for an entire decade, begging, drinking, stealing. Who’s life is just pure chaos, even when he wasn’t drinking. He’s hardly a good catch.

Am I right? So what the fuck is wrong with me?? Why do I need to feel validated or wanted, by him when all he did was abuse me, betray me and lie to me? I’ve said – I have worth, I have value, I deserve better. I’m talking the talk but struggling to walk the walk.


And I’m dreading the day when I’m finally comfortable in my own skin; living a good life in oblivion of Lover the Loser, when he unexpectedly makes contact again. I can only hope that by then, I’m walking the walk.


Manipulation and pure madness

This time last week Lover was drunk out of his mind, on a bus to Cape Town, and I was having a meltdown. After a few days I began to rearrange the home in an attempt to erase memories of him. And then, just as I felt the dust begin to settle, he phoned me.

Unfortunately, this contact has triggered a harmful pattern of behaviour I fall into whenever a relationship ends. Be it a one week or six month relationship. Even if I am the one that calls it quits! I can’t let go. I won’t let go, dammit! I become obsessed with maintaining contact. Nice messages turn to nasty messages, turn to begging to get back together then about-turn to ending the relationship all over again. I cross the line into crazy in a way that only the extremes of bipolar can do.  I act like a woman possessed

This pattern of behaviour runs circles around me, I feel powerless over the need to be heard, to be acknowledged. Every fibre of my being wants to contact him in the hopes that I’ve not been discarded or forgotten. This week I have acted in pure madness and he has manipulated me every inch of the way. I have sent a barrage of emails and text messages. Days go by with nothing answered or acknowledged. Then just as the dust begings to settle…… another random text message – I’m going to get my meds, have a great day, I will always love you. And then I’m triggered all over again, sending hateful, nastry, cruel messages. What can I say, his emotional abuse by using silent treatment brings out the best in me.

don't text him girl by inessa_emilia - deviantart

Texting Lover is forbidden. I’ve enforced a No Contact rule for myself, for the safety of my own health. (pic)

I have an old phone that can’t block people. But I turned to my good friend, Google, and he found some super-duper apps to block phone calls and text messages. Now I don’t have to worry about some surprise contact just as I begin to settle in to my new life. Now I don’t have to keep obsessively checking my phone 10 million times a day to see if he’s responded. Now I feel safe. And now I can work on letting go, moving forward and never looking back.

Truth, lies and HIV clarifies

The truth will out. As it turns out, I had every reason to be frightened of Lover. I’ve come to learn that he is a narcissist. A narcissist with an addiction is a very dangerous thing. Sending him packing, as difficult as it was, as difficult as his abandonment still is; was probably one of the better choices I’ve made in my lifetime.


Storm of Lies by oO-Rein-Oo - deviantart

As the lies untangle, all the pieces begin to fit together (pic)

I’ve come to learn that pretty much everything Lover has told me since I’ve known him has been a lie. His ex-wife has bipolar – no she doesn’t. He occassionally binge drinks as a crutch – he’s a chronic alcoholic who’s been drinking like this his entire life. No history of alcoholism in his family – uh, no. His father is an alcoholic, his father has 14 siblings and they are all alcoholics, he has 5 siblings and they are all alcoholics. His drinking has nothing to do with the breakdown of his marriage – nope again. He spent 3 years unemployed, expelled by the Jehova Witness Church, abandoned by family support, living on the streets – you guessed it, no again! He spent a whopping 10 years, a whole decade, living on the streets, begging, stealing, drinking.

With each new nugget of truth uncovered, I began to feel less confident about my sexual health. Could I believe his claim to be HIV/AIDS free? As the doubt took root in my mind, I began to freak the fuck out. Was that statement just another lie. Had I exposed myself to the virus? A deadly virus so prevalent in South Africa.

Its a defining moment – when you suspect you have a fatal illness. It puts suicide in perspective. My train of thought ran down that dark track, deciding that, should it be so, I would not accept treatment. I would come to terms with my fate and I would choose to die. I would embrace death because it’s something I wish for most days of my life. Then why was I so scared to take the test? One of life’s conundrums, I guess.

So I went to the clinic today and took the test and it was negative. I do not have HIV/AIDS. I wept with relief., which is strange ‘cos I seem so eager to die. The nurse watched me confused and said – why are you crying, dear? This is a good thing.