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My boyfriend's drinking is a problem & I don't know how to deal


ukulelemoon

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Okay, I will try to keep this short, but I really need advice/to vent and I'm sorry if this post becomes wordy

 

My boyfriend and I have been together for over 3 years and have been living together for the last year and a half. We're very much in love and things are mostly alright. The biggest and most consistent problem in our relationship, however, is my boyfriend's drinking. He's had a long and complicated relationship with alcohol. I met my boyfriend the year he graduated college and he had just moved back home after spending 5 years blacking out DAILY (according to him) while studying in school. He has told me stories where, while he was at college, he would black out twice a day and be drunk for so many days in a row that being sober felt "weird" to him. He has also said to me that he USED to be an alcoholic, but isn't anymore (I know, I know...) which freaked me out.

 

Honestly, the main reason why our relationship has lasted so long is because I haven't really seen his drinking effect our lives very often. In the past 3 years, we've gone out drinking with friends hundreds of times and 90% of the time he'll have a beer or two and then call it quits. Now, I made it VERY clear to him early in our relationship that I would not tolerate it if his drinking got out of control, and after knowing this he was able to tone down his drinking, and at this point he's mostly able to call it quits of his own volition. However, the times where he can't control his drinking are DISASTROUS. The ten times or so he's gotten really drunk around me he has been verbally abusive to me, unable to control his bodily functions, has humiliated me in front of our friends, etc.

 

Anyway, because of this he KNOWS that I get very uncomfortable when he drinks. Lately he's been very combative about this. He'll come home with a six pack to put in the fridge (I don't drink beer and we don't have any roommates) and I've told him that, because of my previous experiences with him getting out-of-control-drunk, it makes me very uncomfortable when he starts cracking into beer after beer after dinner. He used to just call it quits when I would verbalize my desire for him to stop, but over the past couple of months he's become unusually confrontational, saying, "Stop trying to CONTROL ME!! I can drink what I want!!" etc.

 

OKAY, now that the backstory is out of the way, let me tell you what happened last night...

 

My boyfriend and I are moving from our small town into a nearby city in two months. I have a job here, but have been applying like crazy to jobs in the city because there's no way I'll be able to commute back here to work. After applying to jobs for months and hearing nothing, I had a really promising interview in the city last week. The interviewer told me I had the job at the interview because they were so impressed with my work, so I came home and told my current boss that I found a second job and would only be able to work for her 3 days a week until I moved. I was SO excited.

 

Then, yesterday afternoon, I got an email from the woman who interviewed me saying that they changed their mind and that I actually wasn't hired because they couldn't wait two months for me to start full time. So...yeah. I started crying, had to beg my current manager to give me my old hours back. It was awful. I called my boyfriend when he was on his way home and told him what happened and he was sympathetic.

 

After he came home and we ate dinner, I noticed him filling a mason jar with two bottles of beer and starting to drink it. My boyfriend RARELY drinks at home on weeknights so I thought it was odd that he was suddenly drinking two beers at once, especially on a night where I was so upset. After he had downed the two beers he got back up and told me he was going to pour himself some soda. When I went to take a sip of the soda he got nervous and blurted out, "Well, it's actually boozy soda! You won't like it!" So he drank this and started playing video games and I said, "I'd really like to do something together. I'm really upset from earlier and need you to comfort me right now." So we started watching a show together, but then half way through he got up and I could hear bottles clanking in the kitchen and when he came back in he had another "boozy soda." I started getting alarmed because this was WAY more than he usually drinks on weeknights and he had only started drinking an hour before. I told him that I wanted him to stop drinking and when he answered me I could already hear him slurring his words. He must have poured a crazy amount of liquor into his sodas for him to get that drunk that fast.

 

Needless to say, I was immediately furious. I tried to stay calm because I know yelling at him while he's drunk won't solve anything. He's like, "What did I do now??! I can tell your mad!!!" and I calmly told him why I was so upset and asked him why tonight OF ALL NIGHTS he had to do this. He gave me a complete gibberish response that didn't make any sense (seriously, when he's drunk he just mumbles literal gibberish) which only aggravated me more. I told him, "I'm going out for a walk. Try to sober up when I come back." And he started yelling, "I am sober! I'll come with you!" and I turned around and snapped, "Stay here! I want to be alone! Don't follow me!"

 

In the 3 years we've been dating, I've NEVER stormed away from him. I was so angry. Last night it was -10 degrees outside where I live, but I walked around the backyard of my complex in the snow for almost 45 minutes to clear my head. When I finally felt calm and came back into our apartment, I found my boyfriend passed out accross the floor right behind our front door, so that I actually hit him with the door while opening it. I was immediately aggravated again and all the good "clearing my head" did was gone. I shook my boyfriend awake and asked him why he was on the floor, and he gave me some gibberish response about how much he loves, "mobile apps" which had nothing to do with anything. I said, "if you can't clearly speak to me then I want you to go to bed. I want the living room to myself right now. I had a HORRIBLE day." He got angry and sat on the couch and refused to move and started taunting me, saying, "No! I know what YOU want! YOU want me to never be even SLIGHTLY intoxicated ever! That's what YOU want!" At that point I basically ordered him to our bedroom like he was a child, and after some protest he went and immediately passed out again in our bed.

 

I stayed up until 4am last night crying in our living room alone. I just don't know what to do anymore. My boyfriend just called me from work about an hour ago completely chipper, telling me that his friend's dog had puppies and wants to sell one to us-- there was no evidence from our conversation that he even remembered what happened last night. I don't know if he really blacked out, or if he's pretending so he doesn't have to get "in trouble" with me, but I'm sick of this.

 

I've spoken to him about his drinking in the past, and I don't want to leave him, I want to work things out. I just don't know what to do

 

I don't even know if I'm even looking for advice, just a sympathetic ear would help, or the knowledge that I'm not alone. I feel horrible.

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Your bf is an alcoholic. One thing to understand here is that there is no such thing as used to be an alcoholic. An alcoholic will always be an alcoholic - even if they get it under control, quit, etc. it is an ongoing lifelong problem they have to deal with and manage and there is always potential for them falling back. An alcoholic who hasn't had a drop of alcohol in 10 years is still an alcoholic and there is no guarantee that they will stay sober for another 10 years. Maybe or maybe not.

 

As for your relationship, unfortunately there is nothing you can do for him. He has to want to quit and get a grip. You can't make him or nurture him out of it. There are a lot of support groups out there for relatives/family of alcoholics. Google and look up some information. Get educated more about this. You can sit down with him when he is sober and in a calm mood and talk to him about you both going to an AA meeting and see what he says. If he is denying that he has a problem, you are pretty much out of luck and will at some point need to decide what you need to do for your own well being.

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First of all, he didn't USED to be an alcoholic - he is an alcoholic. Even if he never touches a drink in his life again, he is still an alcoholic. It is something he will struggle with every single day of his life.

 

Second of all, alcoholics (as with other types of addicts) can NEVER have a casual relationship with alcohol. They are simply not capable of it. So while he might have thought he had the problem under control it is very clear by what you are describing here that that is not the case.

 

I lived with two alcoholics (my brother and sister). In both cases, they were in complete denial as to the fact that they had a problem.

 

My sister is the only one out of the two that has managed to get her drinking under control, but that only happened when SHE herself was willing to admit her problem and put herself in a program in an attempt to change.

 

My brother is still drinking.

 

You cannot force your boyfriend to change and you cannot nag him to stop. An addiction is a compulsion - a disease that they will not be able to cure until they admit they have it. I would recommend moving out - at least to save your own sanity.

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Thank you for the advice. Just to be clear, I know he didn't "used" to be an alcoholic-- that was supposed to be indicated through the "(I know, I know...)" portion in the above entry. Believe me, him and I have had that conversation a thousand times. He used to admit that he knew he'd be an alcoholic forever, it's only recently that he's started arguing, "No. I'm fine now!"

 

And I know that he won't change until he wants to. I just need to figure out what to do now. I have nowhere I can go until our lease is up in two months, so I just need to think about what my next course of action should be. I suppose I should have a conversation with him about stopping his drinking all together and us going to AA, and then see what happens.

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Thank you for the advice. Just to be clear, I know he didn't "used" to be an alcoholic-- that was supposed to be indicated through the "(I know, I know...)" portion in the above entry. Believe me, him and I have had that conversation a thousand times. He used to admit that he knew he'd be an alcoholic forever, it's only recently that he's started arguing, "No. I'm fine now!"

 

And I know that he won't change until he wants to. I just need to figure out what to do now. I have nowhere I can go until our lease is up in two months, so I just need to think about what my next course of action should be. I suppose I should have a conversation with him about stopping his drinking all together and us going to AA, and then see what happens.

 

Two months will pass by fast. I think you need to have not only a serious talk, but see how he is doing with actions. I would also start looking for a place of your own immediately. Even if you end up not needing one because he actively gets help, you need to have that option of moving out once the lease is up.

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