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Why Can't Addicts Move on from Previous Relationships?

by Chanel

I was dating an alcoholic off and on for about a year. Several months ago, I participated in an intervention for this guy. He denied help so I put up my boundaries and told him that I would have nothing to do with him until he got himself to rehab or was serious about getting help.

A few months passed and he began to try to contact me (emails, pumping mutual friends for information about me, even quite recently, he got my number from 411 and called my house! He didn't say anything!). I have stated numerous times that I am keeping my distance as long as he continues to drink. He doesn't seem to understand. What should I do? Answer

Hi Chanel

To be fair ... behaving in a clingy, needy manner ... and unable to let go is fairly universal and doesn't only apply to addicts. But many addicts definitely are more inclined towards displaying codependent tendencies, and so for a variety of reasons (usually based on low self-esteem) - you end up with the situation you're faced with.

You did the right thing and it's important you stick with your guns and continue to reinforce the message that until he gets help for his addiction and turns his life around, you don't want him in your life. And if he continues to ignore what you're saying/refuses to respect your decision - and you feel like it gets to the point where you're being harassed, then get the authorities involved and have them issue a restraining order.

Hopefully it doesn't get to that and he gets the message. It might just be that he's gotten drunk and in a moment of weakness tried to contact you out of loneliness (as we often do when having had too much to drink), with no real malice intended. So if you don't engage him on any level and ignore his attempts at contact, the message will hopefully sink in.

But if you ever do feel he's starting to cross the boundary into harassment, then don't be scared to involve the authorities. Because you deserve to have your wish respected, and if he's not prepared to do that, he leaves you no choice but to take things further.

Hope that helps. Good Luck

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