Q: Hi, I really need advice from someone about my 2 year relationship. We moved in together a year ago and I’ve been so frustrated with my BF’s drinking. I didn’t realize how bad it was until we were together everyday. He goes out alot with his friends and becomes a different person when he’s drunk. He usually does stupid things he regrets, like getting into fights and spending way too much money. He even got a DUI a few months ago which I thought would stop him. He also drinks at home everyday after work. It has caused so much tension between us. I’ve cried to him multiple times and asked him to get help. He says he’ll change and he will stop drinking for awhile, but then a friend begs him to go out or some social event that he “has to go to” pops up. He would promise me that he would only have 2 drinks, but he can never stop once he starts. He just recently promised me he would quit, but I caught him lying about it. I finally got the nerve to break up with him and moved out. He has been calling me everyday, begging and even crying for me to get back with him. He says he will go to AA if I move home. I want to believe him. I still love him and I’m considering getting back with him, but I don’t know what to do. I feel terrible leaving him when he’s in so much pain and I want to help him through this.
A: I’m so sorry you feel conflicted about your relationship. You are obviously a compassionate person and care about him a lot. And it sounds like you have given him lots of chances. I’m sure he cares about you deeply, as well. Unfortunately, that’s not always enough when someone has an addiction. I only say this so that you’re prepared because more than likely if you get back with him the cycle will continue. He will continue to drink (or try to hide it from you) and you will be left feeling frustrated. Alcoholism is a disease that requires treatment, just as Diabetes requires treatment. Ideally, your ex boyfriend needs to work on himself and seek help to stop drinking not just to win you back, but because he realizes he has a problem and wants to get help. It sounds like he has a pretty serious drinking problem. Counseling and AA meetings can really be helpful in teaching him how to quit and give him the professional support he may need. I know it’s not easy to walk away from a 2 year relationship and it will be a process to deal with all of your feelings, but you have to do what’s right for both of you. Maybe you can still be a friend to him and support him while he goes to treatment? Maybe he can exhibit sober behavior for a period of time before you consider getting back with him? You will have to do what your heart (and your mind) feels is best. The bottom line is you can’t stay with someone because you want to save them.