A TAR Tale by Recovery Hippie

Recovery Hippie

I was in a very bad spot – addicted, broke, and alone – and really needed someone. We met on an online dating site and talked for two months before meeting personally. I admired her reserve and her ability to set boundaries, something I never was good at. I know now that she was feeling me out, getting info, and building a way to manipulate.

After two months we finally met; she would come from an hour away every other weekend and paid for everything. I melted each time she told me something good about myself or when she villainized the people who were doing me wrong. It was instant infatuation, which caused me to put the blinders on when the red flags began to show.

She was 15 years older than me – sweet and innocent, and I knew the area she was from to be a posh, affluent suburb of Detroit. I was living in a recovery house in Flint, and she immediately accepted my flaws and encouraged my aspirations and endeavors to be better. I had never felt more love and affection for another human being in my life. This was solidified even further when she began helping me financially. It started with groceries and rent assistance, and when I could no longer live where I was, she spared nothing to rent several vehicles before buying me a personal vehicle even knowing that at the time I had no driver’s license. I also absconded from parole, and she even knew about my addiction.

I had friends who I met throughout my career, and some that I never met in person (only through social media) with whom I formed strong bonds and reliable support systems. I often leaned on these people in my struggles. At first she was okay with it all; the drugs were an issue but as long as I wasn’t addicted and it didn’t affect my ability to work, then it wasn’t that big of a deal. That all changed within a few months – I was completely dependent on her at this point. Even though I had attempted on every occasion to refuse the gifts and the help, I was given no choice – she  would tell me “you have to take this money because I need to know you’re going to be okay. If you don’t, I won’t be able to sleep at night worrying about you and that’s not fair, For two years she maintained control over me and all I wanted to do was to make her happy, to pay her back, and show her how much I loved and appreciated her for doing everything she did to help me.

That was never going to happen. I began to realize that she didn’t mind forcing money or material things into the situation to keep me indebted to her. My financial dependency on her prevented her from giving the one thing I truly desired – love. She had been married once for 25 years and it ended only after her husband cheated with a friend of theirs. Codependency told me if I could just do right by her then it would mean I had reached the Zenith, my Zen. I wanted to mend her wounds and show her real and true love.

I finally got myself sober and back to where I needed to be, mentally and spiritually. In the beginning I was awestruck, and loved the fact that we seemed to share so many things in common – music, art, books – none of which she ever really liked, at least not to the degree that she led me to believe. We made plans to move – to explore and drink coffee in the Rocky Mountains.

It was all a mirage. It seemed as though I spent the whole two years trying to meet some requirement, some standard that was always subject to change depending on how she felt at any given time. She would give me the silent treatment and cold shoulder for weeks, or even months. I realize now that once I started to pick up on things, to have an issue with the beliefs or behaviors that were being displayed, the closer I got to the truth, the more she villainized me.

ME! the man she had always called the sweetest man in the world. I adored her with every inch of my being and begged for her participation in counseling or to at least help me understand what was happening. Instead, I sat and watched my life collapse, I listened as she rewrote history and changed facts to suit her own needs and intentions. She said things and then denied ever saying them. I strove to meet expectations that were constantly being amended. She held me financially hostage.

Every time I reached or came close to reaching a goal, the rug would be yanked out from under me. Jobs, relationships, and self-worth were lost in the chaos. I was made to feel like I didn’t belong and wasn’t good enough. Over and over she worked hard to make me realize how unlovable and unwanted I was by her. She would then accuse me of not being interested in her, or how she was doing, or that I didn’t give her attention or treat her the way she wanted to be treated.

And then one day, like a thief in the night, it was over. I had lost all my supportive relationships, along with every bit of confidence I had in myself and in the world, I’d been whittled down to only a remnant of who I was. Every investment that I made in two years to reach the dreams we had talked about in the beginning, every step I took toward making her happy, only caused me to leave my own needs behind. Eventually, I broke down in every possible way and left, entering an addiction treatment center.

Hope was all I had left, but now I have two years of sobriety! I am well on my way to becoming a recovery coach and mentor for others who struggle with their addictions and mental and spiritual health. I no longer need the validation I will never find. Instead, my self-worth has grown exponentially and the doors of opportunity are wide open.

So, if you find that you have stepped in TAR and are losing hope and losing yourself, just know that you are valuable and you are worth it. Walk away, talk to somebody – join us in the online group and join hands with others who are cleansing the toxic muck from our souls, there are others who get it, who understand! Sending all GOOD VIBES!

Note from Dr. Jamie Huysman: We’d love to see you at our support group! Register at InTheRooms.com for access to our FREE Meeting on Monday nights at 7:00 PM EST. Thank you, Recovery Hippie, for your excellent ambassadorship!

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