What Do I Do About My Alcoholic Boyfriend?
I began dating my boyfriend 9 months ago with the knowledge that he drank on occasion. I didn't know anything more about it. Almost a month into the relationship, he called me to tell me that he had drank a bit that day and he thought I should know before I came over.
I explained to him that I would not ask him to stop drinking altogether, but I would prefer it if he didn't drink when he knew that he would see me later that day and that he should not call me when he is drunk. He apologized stating that he didn't realize that I had a problem with drinking.
A month later he admitted that he hadn't drank since that night and would not be drinking again ever, even if we broke up. It had been almost 8 months later, and he hadn't had a drink since. I left for college a few hours away from where he lives 2 months ago. 2 nights ago he called and broke up with me with reasons that didn't make much sense.
The next night he called demanding to know why my status was set to "single" on facebook. He explained that he has been drunk since 3 nights before and when I tried to explain that he had called the previous night, he had no recollection of it and demanded proof. He passed out a total of 3 times during that conversation.
I was already planning on transferring to a university closer to home next year, and with me there, he won't drink. At the moment, I feel that I can deal with this problem as long as I know to expect any strange phone calls to be the product of alcohol.
I am going to restate my boundaries with him and suggest that he get some help if the problem gets worse. Right now, it worries me a bit, but it's nothing I can't deal with emotionally. What should I do?
Hi Savannah, if your boyfriend is indeed an alcoholic he shouldn't be drinking full-stop. Because an alcoholic will never be able to drink 'successfully' - and his drinking will inevitably get worse, which mean the prospects of having a healthy relationship become very difficult.
So you need to get very clear firstly in your own mind what your boundaries are ... and what the consequences will be for stepping over them. Then you obviously need to communicate that to your boyfriend, and make sure you're prepared to follow through if he crosses them.
That leaves you with a choice. Either you accept he's an alcoholic and can't drink, so he needs to get help, get sober, and adopt a new way of life to support that. Or you're okay with his drinking, understanding that as an alcoholic or someone who has a problem with alcohol, he'll never be able to moderate, and its likely that his drinking is going to be an ongoing issue for you.
You can't make his change. He ultimately has to do it for himself. But you can make it clear where you stand on things and what your boundaries are - so effectively he has to then choose. Don't be surprised however if alcohol ends up winning, and so being prepared to walk away for the sake of your own sanity and well-being is something you need to be prepared to do.
Good luck with your decision.