What if your boyfriend is an alcoholic? A lot of people are. Medical News Today cites the WHO putting the number of alcoholics at 140 million. 15% of Americans are problem drinkers. And 30% of Americans admit to an alcohol disorder at some point in their lives. With so many people on the sauce, there is a fair chance that someone you know — possibly your boyfriend — has a drinking problem. Now what?
Get Him into Treatment
Let’s reframe the question to remove some of the social and emotional baggage. What if your boyfriend has cancer? Before any other factor is considered, you would seek treatment. That would be the priority. Nothing else would matter. There is time to consider what it would mean for work, bills, family, etc… Job one is not dying, then getting better. Secondary concerns come later.
Mens rehab facilities in Southern California and throughout the county are set up to deal with recovery issues specifically to men. Your boyfriend needs to understand that he is not the first person to go through this, and that treatment is an option. If your boyfriend is an alcoholic as you suspect, you are going to have to be the one who stands firm. His decision-making ability is already compromised. He may not be so keen on treatment. You have to be the one to see it through. Like cancer, it is a life or death decision. Choose life.
While getting him into treatment is job one, protecting yourself is also job one. Whether or not he agrees to go to treatment, you have no choice but to protect yourself. The unvarnished truth of the matter is that if your boyfriend is an alcoholic, or a drug abuser, you are in danger. It is a matter of realistically assessing your danger, and taking the appropriate steps to reduce your risk of harm.
The Internet is full of stories and cautionary tales about being in a relationship with an alcoholic. The only consideration is whether to get out of the relationship the moment you are convinced he is an alcoholic, or wait it out through the first round of treatment. Not all treatments are created equally. Some are more successful than others. But relapses is a serious possibility that you have to consider. You need a definite plan for what to do if he relapses.
There is also the danger of losing yourself in the process. Women who have escaped such relationships report having become timid, nervous, and in a constant state of bending herself to the needs of the alcoholic. She becomes the worst kind of enabler, forgetting what it means to be her. If you chose to stay with an alcoholic that, for whatever reason, cannot recover, then you have slipped into the role of an alcoholic’s partner. That is not the role you signed up for, and one you should reconsider.
Before deciding what to do if your boyfriend is an alcoholic, be sure. Take the time to learn the warning signs. Some of the signs of alcohol abuse from WebMD are:
- You have problems at work or school because of your drinking, such as being late or not going at all.
- You drink in risky situations, such as before or while driving a car.
- After drinking, you can’t remember what happened while you were drinking (blackouts).
- You have legal problems because of your drinking, such as being arrested for harming someone or driving while drunk (intoxicated).
When you see these signs, a direct confrontation may not be the best plan. Remember, your safety comes first. You might want to seek the advice of a counselor. She would be equipped to advise you on how to proceed safely. If your boyfriend is an alcoholic, get him into treatment right away, protect yourself, and bring in a trusted friend or counselor to share the load.