I have an ex-POA from 30 years ago (no, that’s not a typo), and we are FB friends. I use the word “friends” loosely - we rarely hit like or comment on each other’s posts (or even see each other’s posts.)
When we were together, I was the classic LA with all the addictive behaviors going full blast. I think I really was a little bit mentally unstable. After three miserable years, we broke up. I accepted it out of sheer exhaustion, and we both moved on with our lives.
Years ago (I don’t even remember when), we had some contact. By that time, I had had some recovery and mental health help. I admitted to him that I was wrong when we were together, and apologized for my behavior.
Since then, we’ve both been married and divorced, had other partners, and generally gotten on with our lives.
Today I made the mistake of reading posts on his FB thread, just catching up on what he and his kids have been doing. I saw that he has a fairly recent new GF. Scrolling back further, I saw that he had broken up with a previous GF (whom I had liked - as far as you can like someone you’ve seen only on FB and never interacted with.)
I went to the previous GF’s FB, and from things she posted, I gather that he was the one to dump her.
Now I’m feeling a little sad and indignant on her behalf.
This is a woman who doesn’t even know I exist, and my ex-POA is no longer part of my life. The new GF might be a perfectly OK person. Maybe there were good reasons for the breakup. It’s really NONE OF MY BUSINESS.
I got off FB and have made a new boundary: No reading old threads on former POAs’ social media — even “just to see how they’ve been doing.”
Because I’m a little annoyed and hurt at a POA from 30 years ago on behalf of a woman I don’t even know. I empathize with her — because a long time ago, I too was his dumped exGF.
I don’t think this is a major disruption in my recovery. But it is a sobering reminder that (for me anyway) I will need to be careful for the rest of my life.
Last Edit: Dec 24, 2020 9:35:59 GMT -8 by RoseNadler
I am in deep recovery. Staying sober is an ongoing journey. We can choose - one day at a time - to do the right thing for our recovery. And I agree, we will need to be ‘careful for the rest of our lives’.
Because, yes - there will be ‘trigger’ events ! Addicts have been traumatized (by love, by alcoholic, by gambling, by whatever substance/behavior we’ve become addicted to). Unless we live in a bubble, something/someone will come along to remind us and/or trigger us. That’s ok - it’s life. It is going to to happen. But when we are in serious recovery, we don’t need to act on it or we can set up a new boundary (as you did!) if possible. If not possible (something/someone stumbles into our path unwittingly) we may feel the pain of the past. When that happens to me, I acknowledge it, but make a conscious decision to not act on it. I may take it to my therapist, and we discuss it (this just happened recently). Some people can take it to a trusted friend, or sponsor, or this forum.
It’s a slip - and anyone in recovery has been there. The key is recognizing it as a slip, and not acting on it any further. I have slipped over the years - and my ex POA’s have too, by getting hold of me. But I have NOT re-engaged, knowing that a slip can send me down that slippery slope and back into active addiction. No. No. No. Not going down that road again.
We need to be kind to ourselves, forgive ourselves and move forward.
I think I still have a huge curiosity about my poa. We barely knew each other,
so today I'm still curious about who he is and what he does in his life.
Maybe this is not healty though...
I think the reason why this is problematic for me is because I took a peek at his love life. If it’s his career or his kids, I don’t have that icky feeling.
It’s like maybe there’s a little part of my mind that STILL - after we’ve been broken up 30 years, gotten married and divorced with other people, had other partners, had careers and moves and other big parts of our lives - after all that, there’s this one tiny corner of my mind that never stopped wishing that relationship had worked out.
We were in our early 20s at that time. If that relationship had flourished and gone well, then I would be a woman in my 50s with a husband and a house and (probably) children and grandchildren. But it didn’t work out. And I had to go through a lot of awful things in my love life. I got hurt very badly by some men and then there were the men that I hurt very badly.
So here I am, a woman in my 50s, wishing I could have known ahead of time that love would never go quite right for me. If I’d known that, maybe I could have turned my attention to other things - languages, travel, writing, etc. - and at least I wouldn’t have had to go through all this pain and put other people through so much pain.
Hi RoseNadler, that "tiny corner" is in my mind too. But we don't have to leave space to it.
We don't have to think "what if" because it didn't happen and we can only hurt ourselves with this kind of thoughts.
These thoughts wont desapper but we can learn to let them so little space that thay don't hurt aymore.
We can let them flow without feeling any pain.
That's what is happening to me at the present time. There are moments of regret, moments of a bitter taste, moments of nostalgia. But I have understood that that love is over.It wanted to start,it wanted to live. But the situation was too complicated. And that love was impossible. Once we really understand and accept thet that love is impossible, it' s easier to leave the pain.
We can smile to the beautiful memories and suddenly look at our present life, doing our best to make it special for us and for others.