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My Boyfriend Went Away for Treatment of Alcoholism on Short-Notice. What do I do?

My boyfriend currently went to another state for treatment of alcoholism & depression. I've known him for almost 3 years and we worked together at a pharmacy for almost 2 years, he's a pharmacist. We recently started dating about 4 months ago.

He told me he participates in AA and has a sponsor & consistently works the 12-steps to maintain balance in his life. He always reassured me he had it under control. We developed a very close bond together in a short amount of time & he was trying to rush things along while I kept trying to slow the pace down.

My place of employment now is at behavioral health & chemical dependency rehab facility where I help people with similar issues as him. I thought everything was good between us until one day I got a call & he said he was on his way to Colorado to go into treatment for his disease & that he wanted to wait to tell me until he knew 100% that he got accepted. He found out that day he got accepted & left immediately.

He kept apologizing for telling me last minute & hoped that I wouldn't have a change of heart about but that he needed to do this for himself because he has been unhappy for the last 3 years & that his actual sober time had only been 8 months in a 10 year time frame.

When we had our long conversation before he went in, I didn't ask him any questions pertaining to a recent relapse but instead asked him more about the whole history of his disease & depression. In a way I accidentally took the role of how I talk to patients at work & had completely omitted anything personal pertaining to us. I was afraid to put any pressure on him so instead I encouraged him.

He assured me he would call me & stay in contact & told me how much he was going to miss me. I told him not to miss me and that I wouldn't go anywhere, I'll be here when he gets out, I told him. Now it's been 17 days since he went in & I still haven't heard from him. It's starting to worry me & I feel I should learn to let him go completely. I know that if I stay, some things in my life will have to change & I'm willing to do that but I don't know if I should let him go inside myself or continue to hold on? Answer

While it must be terrible not having heard from your boyfriend in almost 3 weeks, on the other hand be proud and pleased for him that he's serious about dealing with his depression and alcoholism - and has sought out professional help to do so.

It's too early to make a call on what the future of your relationship holds so don't feel you have to make some kind of decision now. Yes, you're feeling vulnerable right now because there has been no contact from him, but perhaps there is good reason for it. He needs to be totally focused on his treatment right now, so try not automatically assume that its a reflection on you.

And time apart is often a good thing. Because its easy to become totally dependent and attached to another person, which in the long-run can actually cause a relationship more damage than good. So use this time productively and refocus on yourself and your own needs - and trust that things will work out however they're meant to.

When feeling vulnerable its easy to make rash decisions, so try not go down a road you may regret doing later, especially when things are still so unclear. Why don't you phone him and ask how he's doing? There's no fixed rule saying you have to wait for his call. And having spoken to him you'll probably feel a lot better because your imagination is no doubt running wild at present and probably thinking the worst.

The truth is no one knows what the future holds, so you simply have to try and let go and trust that things will work out how they're meant to. Your boyfriend has taken a great step in seeking out help for his alcoholism and depression, so give him the freedom and space to focus on his healing and recovery, while reconnecting with yourself and your needs.

That doesn't mean you can't give him a call though just to lend your support and give him some encouragement. So don't feel you need to make a decision on your relationship now when both of you are in a vulnerable place. See this period as an opportunity for both of you - and know that everything happens for a reason.

All the Best

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