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Binge Drinking Partner
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My boyfriend (mid 40s) loves to drink on weekends and does so regularly. It's so bad that he can't just have a few and really binges. He has told me before that he knows he shouldn't drink so much, but at the same time he doesnt stop. We live together, but it's at a point where I would rather he go out so I don't have to see him in a drunken state. I wait until he calls, pick him up and help him get into bed. I'm sure I'm enabling some how, but I don't know what to do. Should I make him find his own way home, look after myself on the weekends. I just don't know what to do, I don't really know what I'm trying to say...
Appreciate any advice or to chat with those going through the same.
Enabling is a toughie. I've done more than my fair share of enabling my partner with drinking. It's so hard, because you love them and want to be helpful, even when their actions hurt you so much. I read this, and it clarified a lot for me.
"Enabling is defined as doing things for the alcoholic that they normally could and would do for themselves if they were sober. In contrast, helping is doing something that the alcoholic could not or would not do for themselves if sober. Helping does not protect an alcoholic from the consequences of his or her actions."
So, driving to AA meetings when she has lost her license (due to drink driving) is helping. Researching the meeting times is enabling, because she can do that herself. Driving her to a job interview because she lost her previous job (due to drinking) is helping. Cancelling the appointment on her behalf, and lying about her being "sick" when in fact she is drunk is enabling.As it says, protecting the drinker from the consequences of their drinking is enabling. The only exception that I would make for this is a situation where life (theirs or someone else's) is at risk. For example, taking away keys so that they don't drive after drinking. This doesn't mean that you have to manufacture situations that will embarrass or shame them. I think that if you look back, there have already been plenty of situations that you have rescued your partner from embarrassment of their own making.
I'm sorry that you are in this situation. I know how much it sucks. Please make sure that you are taking care of yourself. Al-Anon is a group for family members of alcoholics, and can be helpful. That above quote is from an article called "How to Stop Enabling an Alcoholic or Addict". If you google "enabling alcoholic" it should be on the first page of results, at verywellmind dot com. I wish you the best of luck with this. Please let us know how you are coping.
Thank you so much for your response. I really appreciate it.
I am sorry you are in this situation. I have been there, and it's really hard.
The only thing I can add to Deckt's words are that he needs to want to change, either because he can see the damage he's doing to himself or to you. And the only way to change his behaviour is for him to really understand why he does this - he knows he can't stop at just one, so why does he have the one? Is it the only way he knows how to relax? Is it the only time he feels comfortable socialising and talking to others?
I have noticed with a lot of people that alcohol is often the only tool in the toolbox when it comes to communicating, socialising etc. Take that away, and they can find it immensely difficult to cope and interact. So when you add the inability to stop at just three or four drinks, you have a real recipe for alcohol related problems.
I hope you find the happiness and peace you desire and your partner is prepared to maybe do a little bit of introspection as to what drives him to this behaviour. All the best.
Hello WinnieBear, DeckT and Jax have made excellent points so I'll try not to repeat what they've said.
Each weekend must be awful for you, sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring at any hour, ready to go and pick up your boyfriend who is anticipating and expecting you to do so, certainly is not fair as it locks you every weekend and I can't tell you what to do but to enable him to do this only encourages his addiction.
Enabling him to do this is not helping your situation.
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I really do appreciate it. I have no doubt he knows it hurts me and you are right, he has to want to stop. He talks about it after the weekend and he says he will try to be better, but it never eventuates. A lot of what you say is true. He is normally a quiet, more reserved person, but when he drinks he is more social.
Part of the problem, and the main reason I initially posted was because I have no one to talk to about it. Any time I bring it up with him, he thinks I am hassling him out and it can turn into an argument.
Thank you again
A very valid point, thank you! Which leads me to believe that I should change my ways and not be so available to pick him up. Although for me that is really hard. I would hate to think that he would try and walk home because I haven't answered the phone. He has done that in the past and that is one of the main reasons I worry. I don't want him to be injured on a long journey home. Something to think about nonetheless.
I absolutely relate to what you're saying about having no-one to talk to about it, I was the same. I was always hesitant to discuss it with friends to start with because i didn't want them to think it reflected badly on him or the relationship; then when I eventually did discuss it with them, many of them just couldn't relate to what I was trying to say, because they only saw him from time to time when he was out 'having a good time'. They found it difficult to see the effect it had on me until late in the relationship.
Ultimately in my relationship it got to the point where I had to either accept he had no intentions of changing (regardless of sunday promises) and accept his behaviour as part of his identify, or end the relationship. It was a huge factor in our eventual break-up, in addition to a few other things. As far as I know, his drinking has increased when he's not working, and he still doesn't see it as an issue, but I no longer have to deal with the consequences of his decisions.
I hope you work out the best path for you; sometimes there is no good option, only the least bad one.