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How Do I Stay in a Relationship with an Alcoholic Boyfriend?

I started dating a guy that had just gotten out of rehab. Maybe a week after he got out he was right back to drinking heavily and has been for the past eight months. He refuses to get help. I love him and he loves me.

I have tried to help him see what he does to me and it only increases his need for alcohol. I am so angry with him most of the time that I find myself saying some of the most horrible things to him. Do I stay in this relationship and keep trying to convince him to get help, or get out? How do I leave without hurting him and if I stay how do I help me?


You sound like a classic 'rescuer.' You see your role as somehow helping your boyfriend overcome his alcoholism - when in fact you need to realise there is nothing you can do to help him.

Your boyfriend will only stop if and when he's ready to, and there is not a lot you can do that will influence that unfortunately. Leaving him might, but even then at best all it does is cause him to stop temporarily.

You need to ask yourself - what do you get out of being in a relationship with an alcoholic? Because you said it yourself - most of the time you're angry with him.

So I think the best way to help yourself (and your boyfriend) is to leave him, and then examine your codependent tendencies so that you don't end up simply repeating a cycle of landing up in codependent relationships.

The fact that your boyfriend had just gotten out of rehab when you two got involved meant he hadn't even had a chance to begin processing what he'd learned there, nor allowed him the chance to focus on his recovery without outside distractions.

There is good reason they don't recommend you get into a relationship in your first year of recovery, because it's something you really need to give your all to if you're going to make it work for yourself.

So by breaking up with your boyfriend and giving your him the space and freedom to actually now focus on his recovery could be the best thing you do for him. And after he's been sober a year, then maybe re-look at your relationship.

I think you both need time to focus on yourselves and your own healing because I don't think either of you are capable of being in a healthy relationship at this point. I know it's probably not the answer you wanted to hear, but I think right now it will be for the best.

Take Care and Best of Luck

Comments for How Do I Stay in a Relationship with an Alcoholic Boyfriend?

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Feb 09, 2012
Broken up with alcoholic boyfriend
by: Anonymous

I am in the same situation or actually broke up with my boyfriend 2 months ago. I am actually wanting to get back with him because I love him and he's only contacting me minimally. He did the same thing - told me he wasn't going to change. I'm not sure why i want another chance - it is killing me - can someone offer some support??

Sep 09, 2009
by: Parker

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. You gave me the same answer everyone else has. Get out. It hit home a little harder coming from an outsider rather than family and friends. I am a rescuer and have tried to "save" him and in truth he has admitted to not wanting to quit drinking and not wanting to be saved. I had actually just seperated from my husband of 23 years, about a month before I started seeing this guy. We both probably just fell into a rebound relationship. He was rebounding from rehab and I was rebounding from my seperation. You were a big help. Hopefully now I can get the courage to move on without him. Thanks again.

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