October 26, 2006

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Pinings: Boozy boys
by Sherry Hughes sah103@hotmail.com

Dear Sherry,
I would appreciate any help you could give me with this problem. Iím very shy and although I have many friends, Iím embarrassed to tell them about this problem. My boyfriend is an alcoholic. He stopped drinking way before we met and when we started dating, he wasnít drinking at all. He started again this summer and things are getting very tense between us. He assured me that he could drink beer and heíd be fine. He told me that he never got drunk on beer. Iím not stupid and I know you can get drunk on beer just like anything else. But what was I supposed to say to him? I didnít know how bad he would get back then. When I went to a party at his motherís house, she pulled me aside to ask me if he was drinking again. I didnít tell her, but she told me that if he was, I should head for the hills. She said he could become violent if he had enough to drink and that he would just drag me down if he wasnít sober.

He hasnít been violent with me but even after only a few months, Iím ready to break things off with him. He drinks every day and I think heís doing drugs, too (he gets way too wasted to just be having the couple of beers heís telling me heís having.)

I donít know what to do. I want to just get out of this mess because he is dragging me down. Iím tired of being with someone who is under the influence most of the time. Part of me wants to stay and ask him to get help. I feel disloyal to just walk away without at least trying to help him.

Jessica

Dear Jessica,
I canít tell you what to do, but I know where you are coming from. A couple of things you might want to consider: He isnít choosing alcohol over you; if heís an alcoholic, he is addicted to alcohol. Addiction isnít about a lack of moral character; itís about a powerful disease. Addicts who arenít in recovery can be dishonest, sneaky and manipulative. He will tell you what he thinks you want to hear. He will downplay the amount he is using or its effects on him.

Pay attention to what his mother is telling you. She seems to know what heís capable of.

You can, of course, give him an opportunity to get sober and tell him that if he stops using, youíll be willing to continue having a relationship. You can offer to attend support groups or counseling with him. But this is the key: he will only stop when he wants to regardless of what you say or do.

My suggestion is that you take care of you. I really believe that when the pain gets great enough, we make changes in our lives. That goes for you and for him.

Sherry Hughes welcomes letters from readers at sah103@hotmail.com


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