Drunk Every Night
Q: I have been with my boyfriend now for over five years and he has always been a daily beer drinker. But the last year it has gotten worse. He gets drunk every night, goes to bed early, and sleeps it off. I have told him to cut down, been supportive, etc., but he just continues drinking. Shall I give up or keep hoping he will change? He is not an abusive drunk or anything like that but I just don't think I can be with a man who gets drunk every night! Shall I give him an ultimatum? Not sure what to do. I have offered help with counseling, etc., but he refuses. He is a wonderful man but this is getting tiring. Please help! -- Linda, 40
Dr. Susan: Your boyfriend sounds depressed, as well as having turned into an alcoholic. You can nag and nag, or advise, or be sympathetic, but he won't change this behavior until he has something to lose. Maybe not even then, as so many partners have found to their dismay. An ultimatum to go with you to counseling wouldn't be a bad idea. What he has to understand is that you're feeling alone every night, and that this way of living isn't what you have in mind for the rest of your life. You are with him because he is "wonderful," and you're missing that now. Alcoholics CAN adapt their behavior, but they have to see that it's a real problem and that they are harming themselves, their loved ones, and their hopes for a good future. Above all, don't just keep hoping he will change on his own. That's extremely unlikely as things stand.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.