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I've been lied to. Am reeling slightly and unsure how to react. Your thoughts?

(66 Posts)
Fuckitthatlldo Sun 11-Nov-12 12:56:04

Ok, so full story: I'm in early recovery from alcoholism and have been attending regular aa meetings. I've made some friends there, in particular a group of four of us have become fairly close, sharing lifts to meetings and occasionally going for coffee together afterwards.

This group consists of two men, me, and another woman who I've become particularly close friends with. One of these men is banned from driving so I have been giving him lots of lifts to meetings and we have spent a fair bit of time together. As far as I am concerned our friendship is completely platonic. There are no feelings of attraction there for me at all - we're just friends.

A few weeks ago this man relapsed. He is in a very bad way apparently. I have not seen or heard from him since he picked up a drink although he has been in contact with the other man. I didn't want him to feel abandoned so I have sent the occasional text to say we're all thinking about him and will welcome him back with open arms should he want to come back to meetings.

Yesterday I had a reply back to one of my texts. It was from a woman. She said he was in a horrific state but that he was safe with her. The tone from her texts seemed slightly hostile. I had no idea who she was - the man had told me he lived in a shared house with other men and was single.

I contacted my female friend from the group who I have come to believe I share a close friendship with. She told me that the texts I had received had been from this mans partner.

She told me that he had asked other members of our friendship group not to let it be known to me that he had a partner. He has "feelings" for me apparently. And both she and this other man had decided to collude in this lie with him, although she does claim to have told them both that if it "started to affect Fuckit" that she would then break the confidence.

My problem now is that I feel rather as though I've had the rug pulled out from underneath me. I've been friends with these people for six months (a short time I know, but bonds are strong within aa as you're sharing so much personal stuff). I never imagined they would be so dishonest with me. What if something had happened between this man and me? At what point would he, or anyone else, have told me that he had a bloody partner?

My main bugbear is that this had potentially serious implications for my sobriety. If anything had happened between this guy and me and then it all turned into a bloody mess, it could well have caused me to avoid meetings out of embarrassment, or become distressed and so more likely to drink.

I'm unsure how to react. My gut tells me I need to back off a little from these people. However I'm also painfully aware of my tendency towards melodrama. So I'm posting here to get some honest reactions from other posters. Am I over reacting? Or have they all been really out of order? How best to handle things?


HousewifefromBethlehem Sun 11-Nov-12 13:06:31

I would cut contact with them. In your fragile state it's just more stress than you need. Find another aa group and don't get so involved. I know it sounds harsh, but I speak from experience. Good luck.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 11-Nov-12 13:07:01

They've all been out of order. People the world over will conveniently forget to mention a partner if they think it improves their chances of getting their leg over. So he's no different to anyone else in that regard. But in a group therapy setting of people who are all pretty vulnerable because of an addiction problem -who share very personal information and rely on mutual trust - I think it's really bad of him to try to take advantage and just bizarre of the others to collude.

You could take this one of two ways. The obvious one would be to back off from these people completely because I don't think they're bringing anything positive to either your life or your recovery. OR.... because I don't think you have anything to be embarrassed could use this as an opportunity to assert yourself. Tell him what a total shit he's been and tell the others they're no better. You may find that cathartic.

FermezLaBouche Sun 11-Nov-12 13:11:06

I think they've acted poorly - not only the bloke with the partner, but the others for not telling you. It just smacks of really really bad judgement and they certainly weren't acting in your interest.
I would back off from these people and wouldn't be able to trust them again, unfortunately.
Is there another AA group you can attend?

TantrumsandBananas Sun 11-Nov-12 13:11:18

OK. First things first. Speak to your sponsor.

Don't stop going to meetings, but get there and back under your own steam. Bit of distance required.

Projection much? Don't look for reasons to day at a time. PLAN today and forget about tomorrow.

So if you are going to a meeting today plan on going on your own, you don't have to tell anyone you are going or not.

Do remember that your "friends" are recovering alkies just like you are. Don't get swept up in the drama. Sobriety comes before anything, no matter what.

It happens, I had a strange time with some fellow newbies when I first went in. It passed. But I learnt the hard way.

Do. Not. Stop. Going!

Love Tantrums (just passed 9 years AA birthday)

Gorja Sun 11-Nov-12 13:15:46

Remember the serenity prayer. Change what you can change today, accept that you cannot change what has happened. Take one day at a time and do what is best for you, your recovery is the most important thing in all of this.

Thinking of you,

Fuckitthatlldo Sun 11-Nov-12 13:22:31

9 years? All power to you Tantrums - that's a fantastic achievement.

I don't intend to drink today. I'm working on my steps and trying to keep my head out of the shed. Will phone my sponsor later.

But I do feel confused and let down. And unsure how to handle things. I often pick this woman up for meetings - she has no transport. I am not her only option for a lift but she does often rely on me to be able to get to meetings. I feel as though I want to distance myself but don't really know what to say to her. I would like to avoid a confrontation if at all possible - I want to remain on easy terms as I live rurally and can't just go to a different meeting - there are not many around here.

Ahardyfool Sun 11-Nov-12 13:34:09

I think they maybe used poor judgement to do what they thought was right at the time. It wasn't great colluding like that but I would be inclined to try and not take it personally, particularly as they have now been upfront and true to their word about speaking out if things began to affect you.

I do think the man with partner has been very unfair and deceitful though, and deserves your annoyance/anger most. However, I can only presume that for many attending AA, the ability to make good life choices is either impaired due to alcoholism or diminishes because of deeper issues which may also have contributed to the drinking in the first place.

You need to strike a balance between compassion for those around you also struggling with beating their addiction and the reasons behind that addiction and preserving and building your own self esteem. Set yourself some personal boundaries, state them clearly and then move forwards with compassion and empathy for all if you can.

tribpot Sun 11-Nov-12 13:40:27

Tantrums is spot on. Speak to your sponsor.

These kind of friendships can spring up in many stressful or isolating situations, and in your case you've got the additional fragility of early sobriety. I completely take your point - it's not that this situation in itself is causing you to think about drinking, but had it gone to one possible conclusion it certainly could have done, and if these friends really had your sobriety and your best interests at heart they could have seen that too.

I won't spend time with anyone who undermines my sobriety, it's too important to me. Your number one priority is yourself, and I think as a n00b at AA you're not supposed to feel you should be reaching out to help others, that's what the sponsors are for.

In my view you should be honest with the woman - you feel she has let you down, perhaps with good intentions. You're not willing to engage in an emotionally charged situation because it runs counter to your recovery. You are happy to continue to give her a lift to the meetings but you are equally happy if she wants to make other arrangements. And that is the end of the discussion.

I think trying to avoid the confrontation could be riskier in the long run - avoiding looking the truth in the face is how we got to be alcoholics in the first place. But you do need to put your own needs first, which is why I would take advice from your sponsor on the best way the situation can be defused.

Take care - we're all with you.

Fuckitthatlldo Sun 11-Nov-12 14:36:18

Thank you everyone. I have spoken to my sponsor who feels I should distance myself entirely from the male members of this friendship group (one of whom has 24 years sobriety and should have known better), and then perhaps calmly let my female friend know that I feel let down thus, giving her the chance to apologise.

I think if she is able to acknowledge that she made a poor judgement call and is sorry for that, then that is something I can accept and our friendship can continue. However, I mean to distance myself slightly, whatever happens. I feel as though I have been drawn into something a bit dark and I mean to pull away from that.

Feckbox Sun 11-Nov-12 14:40:45

what a very odd thing to lie about.Was he hoping to start a relationship with you at some point in the future?

Fuckitthatlldo Sun 11-Nov-12 15:31:54

Feckbox I think he is the sort of man who cannot be without a woman. I think he is using his current partner for somewhere nice to stay and various other benefits, but that he was hoping to line me up as some sort of future relationship, yes. Either that or he fancied a bit on the side.

Whatever. It was never going to happen. And thank god too, in light of the current revelations.

TantrumsandBananas Sun 11-Nov-12 15:45:03

one day sobriety, 6 months sobriety, 24 years sobriety - its all relative if you take it one day at a time.

Friend just arrived, will try and come back later - keep smiling.

Feckbox Sun 11-Nov-12 16:59:43

Fuckit that is pretty sad really. Particularly as recovery is so much about honesty - with yourself and with others

TantrumsandBananas Sun 11-Nov-12 18:08:12

Sorry disappeared. So, what can you learn from this? I'm sure your sponsor has said this, but look for your part in this. I am NOT suggesting you have done anything wrong, your friends and this man have been deceitful. But thats how they want to work their programme. You decide how you want to work yours.

After your first 6 months you have come down to AA earth with a bang and realised that noone is perfect. Specially not in AA. Put a group of people together, these sort of things are going to happen. Acceptance is the key!

IF you want to gain some decent and long living sobriety, Be harsh, what do you want? Some "friends" who have been less than honest, OR lovely lovely sobriety, where you will make proper meaningful relationships.

I know its said that AA is not a selfish programme, but initially it has to be. Get back to basics now.

Men for men

Women for women


Fuckitthatlldo Sun 11-Nov-12 23:58:43

I went to my Sunday meeting tonight. The guy that failed to tell me our friend had a partner was there. I could see that he had been told I now knew the score. He immediately made a beeline for me and asked if I was ok. I said I was, took my seat and ignored him. But at the end of the meeting he approached me again.

I'm afraid I handled it badly and told him I was angry and felt let down. He just gave a litany of excuses and tried to go on about how sick the guy who relapsed is. I know that he is sick, but I pointed out he was not the only person I felt let down by. I said I had been lied to. He said no, that they had simply witheld information. I said that was lying by omission and was the same thing. I could hear my voice starting to rise so I said it was probably best to leave it there, and he left.

Too late though. Other people from the group overheard that I was clearly upset and angry. A couple of the old timers stayed behind to talk to me. I told them what had happened. They told me to try to mend my friendship with the woman but to steer clear of the men.

I feel really upset by this :-(

ninah Mon 12-Nov-12 00:01:18

don't be upset, it's good you expressed your hurt. Now let it go

TantrumsandBananas Mon 12-Nov-12 08:25:14

Old Timers are so right.

Men for Men

Women for Women.

You have found out the hard way why this is best.

TantrumsandBananas Mon 12-Nov-12 09:38:05

ninah is right.

Remember, you can only think about one thing at once. When it pops up, think about something different! Even if you have to say it out loud to yourself....

Fuckitthatlldo Mon 12-Nov-12 11:03:49

Well that may be true Tantrums although if it is so imperative that women avoid the men in aa, one might well question the validity of mixed meetings. I'm supposed to be able to trust all the people in those meetings - after all they are all privy to very personal information about me. Either it is a safe environment or it isn't.

Also, the person I feel most hurt by is another woman. Must I avoid any kind of friendship or bond with anyone?

I drank a bottle of wine last night and I feel absolutely furious. Furious with myself for having allowed this to upset me so much. Furious with them for behaving poorly and breaking my trust. I've had two hours sleep and am in work having driven in still over the limit. I look like hell and have had to lie to my colleague and tell her I'm ill. I'm back to square one and I don't know what to do.

I don't know where to go from here. I don't feel safe in meetings anymore - they're just full of other fucked up people who can't be trusted.

TalkingintheDark Mon 12-Nov-12 11:14:51

You're quite right to feel upset by this, Fuckit. It is really upsetting. And it's doubly so because you thought you were in a safe environment and you allowed yourself to be vulnerable and you trusted the people you were with to not abuse that. But they did. And this particular dickhead (the guy who lied by omission) won't take responsibility for what he did, and is leaving you with all the crap. How are you supposed to go to the meetings and sit there and share really personal, vulnerable stuff, when you know he is listening, and so are other people you really can't trust? It changes the whole dymanic for you.

I have never been to AA but I do have experience of other 12-step groups and I've experienced emotional shit going down in that setting too. People whose whole life is supposedly based on honesty and self-awareness and personal growth blah blah but really they're just in massive denial still. I was deeply, deeply upset by the behaviour of one member of the last 12-step group I went to and realised that there was zero emotional safety there - she was actually the person who'd started that group, a sponsor umpteen times over, the unacknowledged "leader" so there was no point trying to take her on. So I stopped going.

But I had other options. The group wasn't a life-saver for me, it was something that was a back up and it kind of worked up to a point but it wasn't the be all and end all. (And, tbh, I never really bought into the whole 12 step philosophy; but then I didn't have a physical addiction to address.) Your situation sounds a lot more urgent. Your need to stay sober is obviously a very serious and real one (and I so respect you for tackling your addiction, huge kudos to you.)

You say you live rurally so your other options are limited, but do you have any other options? AA online? The long-running BraveBabes thread on here? What about some personal counselling or therapy, if you can afford it? Are there any NHS or voluntary sector services for addiction in your area if not? I think you need to widen your net and not be totally dependent on the AA approach.

Because 12 step groups are basically collections of people who are damaged in one way or another, and people who are damaged often behave badly. Even when they are trying not to, and I personally think the danger of these groups is that people can kid themselves they're doing it all right because they're "working the programme" but really they are still avoiding stuff in themselves big time.

Anyway, to cut to the chase: yes, your gut is spot on. You do need to back off from these people to some degree and protect yourself from them. You are not being melodramatic or over-reacting. This was really highly, highly questionable judgement on the part of your "friends" and I would not want to be close to anyone who had made such a bad judgement call.

I wouldn't be trying that hard to mend things with your female friend either. Why on earth would one woman agree to withhold from another woman that a man they are both "friends" with is actually in a relationship? It is lying by omission, as you say, and who needs friends who lie about stuff like this? It potentially left you open to all kinds of headfuck. And the fact that she and this other guy did it at all is definitely a head fuck in itself, because, as you say, you'd shared a lot of personal stuff with them and thought you could trust them, and it turns out they're not the people you thought they were at all. That's hurtful in that it's feels like a betrayal, and it's also scary because you're in a vulnerable place and feel you need the support of others to stay sober.

I hope you can find the support you need and the strength within yourself to carry on on your road of recovery. YOU are the one at the end of the day who is keeping you sober (or your Higher Power, if you prefer to think of it that way), not AA. You actually sound really clear and together. Probably a lot more so than your supposed friends; I am sure part of the reason this has been so shocking for you is that you just wouldn't do something like this yourself.

And I guess it's a good lesson in learning who to trust and maybe to take things more slowly with new friends in the future - I know firsthand the dynamic that makes you "bond" with people over-quickly in this kind of situation and it's a hard lesson to learn but an important one, especially for your recovery. And I think your reaction is a good indicator that you can trust your gut feelings, so that's something to feel good about! It's OK to be upset. It's your right to be upset, it's a genuinely upsetting situation. And it's your right to use your upset to change the way you're approaching things, in a way that works for you.

Fuckitthatlldo Mon 12-Nov-12 12:51:35

Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed post Talking.

I think the brave babes thread on here is a great source of support, and there is other online support I can tap into too, but it is not enough for me on its own. I have long term, deep seated issues with alcohol and feel I need the intensive peer support that only aa can offer.

There are other drug and alcohol support services in the area but they all use the harm minimisation approach. Again, this does not work for me as I cannot control my drinking no matter how hard I try (and believe me, I've tried!)

You're right when you say the reason this has been so shocking is because I just wouldn't behave like that myself. I do not claim to be a beacon of fantastic mental health, or someone that never makes mistakes. My own judgement can sometimes be poor too, but to me that was just so obviously a shitty and wrong thing to do. I feel a bit bewildered to be honest.

The thing is, aa was/is last chance saloon for me. If I can't make this work I have nowhere else to go sad

qo Mon 12-Nov-12 12:57:02

I remember your previous thread about a man at your meeting who you had a crush on - is it the same guy?

qo Mon 12-Nov-12 12:57:29

Forgot to say well done on continued sobriety you are doing amazingly! smile

Fuckitthatlldo Mon 12-Nov-12 13:03:39

No qo it's not the same guy - luckily I have no feelings for this guy - if I had have it might have been an even bigger mess.

And I don't have continued sobriety. I drank last night. I'm in a mess and I don't know what to do.

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