I think i need to talk to my boyfriend about his drinking - help me
February 23, 2013 12:57 PM Subscribe
I am at home visiting family this weekend, I’ll be back at the rented house I share with my boyfriend of 6 years in less than 24 hours. In a phonecall today I heard pretty much the last thing/piece of evidence I need to make me realise that I need him to properly address his problems with alcohol. Or maybe I need him to address my problems with his alcohol behaviour. Please read the extended story inside and tell me how to frame this in my mind and how to talk to him.
posted by moreteaplease to Human Relations (37 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I love him, we live together, we have a lot of shared history, we laugh a lot, he can be very kind.
I hate his drinking and do not feel ‘in love’ with him when he is drunk or hungover.
This would typically be at least once a month, it would be more if I didn’t insist on doing some stuff away from alcohol/big drinking crowds (though I don’t frame it that way as I tend to avoid the row or putting the thought of me limiting his alcohol intake in his mind) e.g. going to the cinema or staying in together with a takeaway just eh two of us. After about 3 beers/half a bottle of wine (spirits not so bad but not his drink of choice) he becomes very unattractive to me.
When boyfriend and I met we had just graduated from uni and were working abroad in an expat community of recent (western) uni graduates. It was work hard play hard. 6 years down the road I drink but not really to excess, I can have a bottle of wine open in the fridge for a week or more, I can switch to soft drinks when out and ignore requests from anyone else that I should have just one more or get a large measure etc. I have reaches the stage where I think a hangover just isn’t really worth it. And if I have a lot to drink I still get up out of bed and I function. My boyfriend, no.
Here are some things that worry/irritate/upset me:
When he is ‘out’ drinking he cannot limit his drinks. He downs his drinks, will drink outside of ‘rounds/shouts’ so he drinks more than friends. When I am there I am always the one who stops drinking first or has to suggest leaving. He would drink til dawn if people were there and he didn’t have work, and will stay up drinking by himself in the home. I have lost count of the times I have said to him that he always the most pissed person in the room. We regularly row when he is drunk or the day after.
He is a waste of space when hungover. He sleeps all day. He gets up and mopes around the house generally feeling sorry for himself. He sometimes complains that his sides hurts and asks whether I think that’s his liver. He will do nothing for himself save maybe open some chocolate or crisps. If ever we had been out together and I felt rough too (rare) he would never even dream of making me a cup of tea, or breakfast or brining me a painkiller. I pretty much used to do always do this for him but now frankly, I can’t be arsed. I’ll get him a painkiller more because I hate the whinging and I just think he should take on – if you feel ill you do, you don’t just sit and groan.
He is on serous medication (olanzapine – antipsychotic) but still drinks. His psychiatrist upped the dose recently because BF said that he (sometimes? I don’t know he wouldn’t really clarify) drinks to block things out or to make himself better. He is still drinking.
He got punched in the face last year when he was drunk. Apparently he took some guy to task over an antisocial behaviour and the guy hit him in the jaw. Over time having spoken to his friend who was with him and more details forthcoming from BF, actually he was out of control drunk and he was aggressive himself first he didn’t just tell the guy off.
He has bought/smoked weed twice when massively drunk. He originally gave this up 10 years ago due to paranoid schizophrenia. Him doing it again in the summer resulted (or seemingly resulted as it was 2 days later) in him having a breakdown, getting prescribed tablets again and him being signed off work for a considerable period.
On my birthday (a Sunday) he slept until 3pm. I was up around 11am. We had friends over the night before for dinner and played cards. He drank an excessive amount, didn’t clear up before bed, didn’t get up with me in the morning. I did all the clearing up, made myself breakfast etc, talked to my family and basically waited for him to get up whilst I sat by myself on the sofa. I have explained a few times that this made me feel lonely (what’s the point in living with someone if they don’t spend time with you), underappreciated, not at all important, and really stupid/embarrassed when I spoke on the phone to my family and they asked what he’d got me (he wasn’t up yet so I hadn’t had a card to open) or what we had planned for the day (nothing) and that actually he wasn’t up yet and I’d spent my birthday so far cleaning.
On NYE we were vile to each other. We were at a small gathering with other couples and they are a fairly hard drinking crowd (or at least a couple of them are). I drank too and yeah, various things got at me and I sniped at him a few times and he was the same back, then I think he got worse. I stopped drinking probably a good 2 hours before we left (and kept saying I wanted to leave) whilst he continued to hammer it. We eventually left about 5am and walked home without talking at all. Once again I was up hours before him. He cannot remember that we were horrible to each other or that we walked home in silence. Or so he says.
I have seen him on numerous occasions overstep the mark with personal comments to family members. He has hung out with people he doesn’t even really like as a means to drinking. He seems to care more about filling other people’s glasses than whether I have switched to water and am saying that I’d like to leave.
I called him today from my mums as an engineer was due to visit the house to sort out our internet. Their call time was between 12 noon and 4 pm. I called him twice on his mobile and twice on the landline and let them ring for ages. Nothing. I finally got a call from him at around 3pm. He sounded horrific. He’d been out with friends and had just woken up. I said well, what about the engineer and he said he’d got missed calls from them and that a card had been pushed through the door with a time stamp of around 15 mins earlier saying they’d been to the door but got no answer. To say I was fuming was an understatement. I told him I couldn’t speak to him as I was annoyed and hung up.
Then I burst into tears. It was the final straw. Ignore me, fine (though not really) but can’t get out of bed by midday to wait for the internet engineer? He’s a bloody web developer – he needs the internet if he wants to do anything at home. Doesn’t pay attention to a psychiatrist who’s upped his medication dosage based on what he’s said about his drinking behaviour? Irresponsible and in denial.
I’ve talked, I’ve shouted, I’ve screamed, I’ve cried. I’ve done it in the moment of him being drunk, I’ve done it the next day when he’s hungover, and I’ve done it away from them in neutral times/spaces. Nothing works. Yeah I sometimes get ‘sorry’ but not all the time and it doesn’t have really any lasting impact.
I’d say that actually his drinking has been a problem (for me) on and off for the last 3 years.
Too Long Didn’t Read: I want to say when I get back to the house tomorrow that whether he acknowledges he has a problem with alcohol or not, I have a problem with his use of it. And that if he doesn’t seek counselling either by me or him setting up an appointment with a counsellor this week, then we need to start thinking about what this means in terms of dealbreakers for our relationship. He says he loves me so im hoping this works - for me it is i think the last time i can have the discussion about his drinking if he's not prepared to address it properly. If he doesnt then i guess i have my answer.
FWIW – he has said stuff about his drinking in the last couple of weeks and I’ve batted it back at him that doesn’t he see that as a problem or something he thinks he should work on (e.g. I have to drink to feel real or have to a good time). So far no he doesn’t.
Please tell me what to say and also how to proceed - should I ask to attend his counselling if he does say he will go or trust that he will be actually open up to his problematic behaviour rather than just do this as something to keep me quiet?