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I agreed he can come back only if he promised to make a doctors appointment for some help, am I making the right decision?

Tagged as: Breaking up, Health, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (28 April 2015) 6 Answers - (Newest, 29 April 2015)
A female United Kingdom age 26-29, *larabellxx writes:

My boyfriend of 7 months has finally admitted he has a drinking problem and needs help. He's changed a little since he met me he use to drink everyday but now it's weekend benders. At first it wasn't a problem as we were just having fun but as time got on I know I truley love him but can't have a future and kids with him unless he gets help. I got him out the house but he saying it will only make things harder for him being away from me and his full family drink so it makes it hard for him to say no. So I agreed he can come back only if he promised to make a doctors appointment for some help and he agreed. I'm i making the right decision? Do you think he's on the way to recovery?

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A female reader, So_Very_Confused United States +, writes (29 April 2015):

So_Very_Confused agony auntHere I come to save the day…. (no not really) but this is RIGHT up my current alley.

YOU can’t fix him. You can’t make him want anything. My spouse is sober since January 5th. He goes to rehab and alcoholics anonymous meetings. I go to Al-anon meetings for me. Al-anon is for family and FRIENDS of anyone AFFECTED by alcohol. We also see lots of people who have “qualifiers” that are drug addicts. Both active and in recovery. What the addict is doing has no bearing on the Al-anon member.

Alcoholism is a genetic (means you pass it on to your children) progressive (meaning it gets worse as time goes on no matter what unless the alcoholic is in active recovery) DISEASE. He is sick. In the 4 years I am with my husband I have watched him spiral down from exceptionally functional alcoholic to a man who was out of control. I would NEVER allow an active alcoholic around minor children. It’s NOT safe for the kids.

So he goes to the doctor… then what? What do you think the doctor is going to do? There is NO drug that makes him want to stop drinking. Antabuse just makes him sick when he drinks and many will figure out how to get around that. In order for someone to quit drinking the first thing is that THEY have to WANT it. That motivation is internal.

In addition, what will happen if he makes this appointment … he’s met your boundary then he comes home and drinks… then what?

NEVER issue an ultimatum that you can’t or won’t keep. My husband attacked me in a blind blackout (he does not remember) it. When asked if I would bail him out I told him “if you go to detox, then rehab and complete rehab and are working a program you can come home” and I stuck to it. It’s hard to say no to someone you love but if you don’t you lose any and all power.

What are YOU doing to get yourself healthy? The BEST thing you can do for HIM is to get yourself healthy. Go to Al-anon. Listen. A lot. Go to more than one meeting at more than one location if you can.

Feel free to PM me.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (29 April 2015):

It will sound selfish, but you must put yourself first. I'm affraid he admitted the problem and agreed to see a doctor because you asked him to move out.

I wouldn't let him move back in until he actually starts seeing a doctor and becomes a recovering alcoholic. And this would take much more than a few visits it may take months even longer.

He should do this form himself and not for you.

I'm sorry to hear that you love someone who has such a problem and I'm not saying that you should leave him, but you must understand the situation and the consequances.

Ask yourself what is it that you love and why you stay with him.

Alcoholics usually get attached to people with emotional dependency issues. If that's your case, you will also need the time to work on yourself.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (28 April 2015):

"[Am] i making the right decision?"

No. He's making excuses for himself and you're enabling him.

"Do you think he's on the way to recovery?"

No. He's marking bargains with you by telling you what you want to hear in order to get what he wants.

If he truly believed he had a problem and needed help then he would be doing everything in his power to get better. You can't change him into the person you want him to be. That has to come from within.

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A female reader, Tisha-1 United States + , writes (28 April 2015):

Tisha-1 agony auntYou are living with your boyfriend of 7 months? He has a drinking problem? Why did you accelerate this relationship into living together so fast, so soon?

My limited knowledge of the NHS system suggests that he may wait for many months for an appointment with a doctor.

I think if you really want to see if he is willing to take positive steps towards sobriety then he needs to go an AA meeting. I have a link for you:

And a link for him:

I would not let him move back in with you without a plan that has been worked through with people who have experience in dealing with alcoholism....

You are not his keeper nor are you responsible for his happiness.... Do you understand that?

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (28 April 2015):

It is so difficult to advise young women nowadays about seeing too far into the future; and falling way to fast for a guy. The only thing that slows some ladies down is dealing with some type of insecurity, or trust-issues. That's unhealthy, and will most often have a sad ending anyway. Insecurity is poisonous to relationships.

It's not so difficult with guys; because we take longer to process our feelings and emotions. We're much slower to commit. Girls and women attach or fixate emotionally very quickly; so they are too quick to dismiss red-flags, and are sometimes far too forgiving of bad traits, terrible habits, and poor attributes found in the object of their affections. They are forgiving, because they want their own flaws to be over-looked. If they have a low self-esteem, they often underestimate their self-worth; and let some guy far below their personal-value steal their hearts. Men and women approach commitment very differently. Our emotions are exactly the same; but we process our feelings and display them differently. Females will overlook a lot of superficial-flaws and imperfections quicker than males. Males are more visual, where females look beneath the surface. They take personality more into account over looks.

That being said, seven months is too quick to be so in-love.

Love matures, refines, and evolves over time like fine wine. In premature stages of affection; I often will call the feelings "in-love with being in-love;" because the attachment is far too strong in too short of a period of acquaintance. Your brain produces all the feel-good hormones and pheromones that create the euphoric-feelings of love. These brain chemicals are dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine.

I'm not going to waste any time debating the "love at first sight" argument; because in my own wisdom and experience, I know it's "lust" at first sight. Real love starts as a spark from a simple fondness and attraction; then it builds into a craving and deep desire. The matured and evolved version of the emotion called "love" is the sum and end-result of all the right brain-chemicals and hormones being produced, and a romantic-connection is established based on the solid-foundation of true mutual-attraction, trust, a fair exchange and reciprocation of feelings, and knowing who you're giving all these feelings and emotions to.

This young man has a serious problem that may take a lifetime to control. If there is an addictive gene or inherited propensity for alcoholism that runs in his family history; you're in for an emotional roller-coaster ride.

Talking about marriage and kids will make you focus too much on what you're looking forward to; while forgoing what you see in the present. Even bypassing deal-breakers to reach your ultimate goal. That being, a long-term commitment or marriage. Starting a family.

Kids and marriage are not even a reasonable consideration with someone you've only known seven months, and you've seen the evidence of a drinking-problem.

You can still maintain a committed-relationship and nurture it. Just take your time and insist that he is not just fake-promising what you want. With the intent to fool you back into a state of bliss and romantic-euphoria. You'll get anxious awaiting his commitment to help himself. Change could take a very long time; and you'll impatiently want to resume the progression of the relationship to the next step.

I recommend that you contact 0845 769 7555 [email address blocked]. You should both attend sessions for counseling.

I recommend you do it together; so you can make sure he initiates the process with sincerity to his commitment to change. The benefits are two-fold. You have to know what living with a alcoholic means; and what the reality of it all is. Not just make a demand, stand-back, and await a miraculous change. He hasn't admitted to himself he needs help, or has a real problem. So how can he commit to change?

You have no idea what marriage with an alcoholic would be like, and children don't deserve to live in such an environment. I said all this, because it's just that serious.

You deserve love, happiness, commitment, and a family. The less complications to hinder that, the better.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (28 April 2015):

Honeypie agony auntI'd HOLD off on the kids for a good 2 years (AT LEAST) since you have ONLY dated him 7 months, there should BE no hurry for kids just yet.

You say he has changed a little. He went from drinking EVERY day to "just" week-ends. THAT is a big change and a great step in the right direction.

This guy grew up with and around heavy drinkers (some who may be alcoholics too) so for him it's the "norm" to drink. That is how you "relax" or "have fun". So going totally dry may not be something he ACTUALLY wants, but he will TRY it to PLEASE you.

You put your age group to 22-25 - so... it's also PRETTY common practice for THAT age-group to go out on week-ends painting the town red. I know I did at that age, all the while going to college and holding down several jobs.

While I DID quit drinking (pretty much cold turkey) because I had a couple of black outs and they scared me enough to stop drinking. I listened to my body and my body told me, drinking isn't for you. I would not have labelled myself an alcoholic back then. I didn't expect the people around me to quit too.

I won't say he IS an alcoholic, and his doctor may not either.

What I see is good intention on your side, but... YOU KNEW he was a drinker when you started dating and now... YOU have made the decision that drinking is bad so HE needs to stop. Do you see what I'm getting at?

Are you wanting him to become totally dry? or are you wanting him to LEARN to drink a beer or two here and there without it turning into a bender?

If he doesn't WANT to continue to be a heavy week-end drinker, then maybe seeking medical help is a good way to go, I think YOUR guy's biggest problem is learning moderation and how to say no. There is no shot or pill for that.

ARE you making a mistake? That depends on his actions and how realistic your "demands" are.

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