relationships

I Don’t Know If I Can Handle My Boyfriend’s Drinking Problem

Dear T,

Point blank, what would you do if you think your boyfriend had an alcohol problem? My boyfriend and I been together for about 5 months, and over the past 2 months I realized I’m not a big fan of him drunk. I mean he’s always liked drinking the occasional drink. Hell, we met at a club. I used to think his drunken antics were a little cute. He would get very talkative, and his sex game improved ironically. Lately though, when he drinks he gets a little belligerent, and he’s drinking more frequently. In fact, we now usually get into our biggest arguments after he’s been drinking, and since he’s been doing more of that, we argue often.

I’ve asked him if he thought maybe he had a problem, but he says he doesn’t and I’m just hyping up the situation. I love my boyfriend and I want us to work out, but I don’t know if I want to deal with him and the drinking like that, and he doesn’t acknowledge a problem. So what would you do? What should I do?

-Want Him to Stop

Dear Want Him to Stop,

Thanks for writing to me. Let’s just cut to the chase. Based on what you wrote, I don’t know whether your boyfriend has a drinking problem or not. However, if you as someone in his inner circle believe there to be a problem, then perhaps there is one and he needs help. While I’m not a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, life coach, or therapist, I do have some advice for you with this issue.

One thing I’ve always believed, is people don’t get addicted to something for no reason. Whether a person is struggling with alcohol, drugs, or porn, the root of a person’s addiction always stems from a more substantive issue. You didn’t mention it above, but I’d venture to say your boyfriend’s developing “drinking problem” is tied to some life altering event that’s occurred with him recently. Maybe he’s experienced a recent death in the family, or changes in his profession, or personal health scare, which is triggering him to drink more to deal with the stress. Again, I don’t know what happened, but I’m almost certain that there is something going on that he’s not coping with in a way that’s healthy.

Another thing I’ve come to believe, is a person won’t change unless he’s ready to change. So you can tell your boyfriend you don’t like him when he drinks and you think he has a problem from sun up to sun down, but if he doesn’t want to change his habits he won’t. It’s that simple.

Suggestions going forward.

  1. If you are close to one of his friends or family members, simply ask him if he thinks your boyfriend has been drinking more frequently than usual. Ask the friend or family member if he’s noticed any odd behavior as well. Now what’s tricky about this suggestion, is that you have to ask the right person in the right way so your boyfriend doesn’t hear about it, and think you’ve been going around telling people he’s an alcoholic. Should a family member or friend agree with you about your boyfriend’s drinking, then you now have an ally to help your boyfriend get help.

 

  1. While I’m not a fan of ultimatums, if you strongly feel that you can’t be with your bae unless he gets his drinking in check, then tell him that. If you present this ultimatum, do so in a way that is firm, but also provide him with a few options and resources to help him with is issue (i.e. number to a good therapist, life coach, pastor, meeting.)

 

  1. Also, take a look at Medline Plus and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to get more clarity as to whether your boyfriend actually has a problem and how to best get him help.

As always nothing but love,

Tavion Scott

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