I drank too much and made my boyfriend "furious."
January 10, 2015 3:15 PM   Subscribe

I don't remember what I did. How can I defuse the situation?

I have been dealing with a drinking problem for several years. I'm getting help, but I'm still having a hard time. And my relationship is under strain as a result.

My boyfriend and I live together and have been dating for over three years. He knows that I've been struggling and tries to be supportive, but alcohol has been a part of our relationship from the beginning. We're still in the habit of going out for drinks, and when we do I have trouble controlling my intake. If I choose liquor over beer or wine, I drink to excess and behave in ways I can't fully remember the next day. I get angry and say hurtful things, he gets angry, and things devolve further.

I don't remember how last night ended. This morning, during our brief interaction before work, he denied being upset. But then he admitted he was furious. I knew we didn't have time to get into a conversation about what had happened, and I didn't want to push him into talking when I could tell he didn't want to.

We've gotten through hard times before, but this one feels different. He's never described himself as furious with me, and I hate the fact that I can't even remember what I did to make him so angry. I'm worried, mad at myself, and unsure about what to do or say next. What do I do when we see each other tonight?
posted by pumpkinseed to Human Relations (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Tell him you're going to seek help for your alcohol abuse problem.

This will continue to happen unless you stop drinking to excess. Regular blackout drunks are a bad, bad thing. You need to worry about your entire life, not just this relationship.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:19 PM on January 10, 2015 [47 favorites]

What kind of help are you getting that isn't telling you to just stop drinking? It sounds like shitty help and you should get better help and stop drinking.

When you see him tonight tell him you are not going to drink again, instead of continuing to let yourself 'choose liquor and drink to excess'.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 3:26 PM on January 10, 2015 [28 favorites]

This is going to keep happening again and again and again if you don't stop drinking completely. So if you want to repair the relationship, stop drinking. If drinking is a key part of your relationship and he wants you to keep drinking but just not drink so much, find a new relationship, because this one is going to destroy your entire life.
posted by something something at 3:28 PM on January 10, 2015 [60 favorites]

Actually, this will continue until you stop drinking. Period. Exclamation point.

Some of us are simply genetically or physiologically or ... I don't know, psychologically primed to not tolerate alcohol. We need to learn this and stop so that we don't harm ourselves and those we love.

If you can see your way to a self-help program, either peer run or by trained counselors, and if your partner is willing to take the journey with you, I think that would be a very good thing. Best of luck to you both.
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 3:30 PM on January 10, 2015 [7 favorites]

If he actually cared about your drinking problem and desire to get help, he wouldn't keep going out for drinks with you. If he's going to enable, he ought to take ownership of his feelings when the same thing happens that always happens.

A lot of people need to be single to get sober. You absolutely cannot do it with an enabler. This may be the bottoming out you need to start seeking out people who care about you to keep close while you get sober.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:38 PM on January 10, 2015 [37 favorites]

Also, it concerns me that you mention that "alcohol has been part of our relationship from the beginning" and that you are still in the habit of going out for drinks.

If your partner knows that you are attempting to deal with this problem, why are you drinking together? If my partner had a problem with alcohol, I would not be drinking around him. I would find other ways to spend time together. And I might be less inclined to be "furious" if I had knowingly helped my partner to be in a place where alcohol was a feature of the evening. This is not a helpful attitude, although you are responsible for what you drink.

Have you spoken about spending leisure time in places that will support how you are "dealing" with your problem?
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 3:48 PM on January 10, 2015 [14 favorites]

He knows that I've been struggling and tries to be supportive, but alcohol has been a part of our relationship from the beginning. We're still in the habit of going out for drinks, and when we do I have trouble controlling my intake.

You're not really getting help and he's not really being supportive if you still go out for drinks together, especially since it apparently is a problem everytime you do. You need to stop going out for drinks and that is something you both need to agree on, or otherwise you aren't doing anything to learn from this fight or resolve it.
posted by AppleTurnover at 3:53 PM on January 10, 2015 [5 favorites]

I'll put it another way, focused on him instead of you:

This partner needs to learn to tell you when you can't have another drink. A lot of people (you've already seen) will say that that would be before you get any drinks. I think in some cases that's true, but in others it might be after one, or two.

He was there, right? He knows this about you, and he let you have all those drinks, right? He's not helping.

Then, if you give him crap about it when he cuts you off or you refuse to listen, he should dump you.

When you see him tonight, you say you're sorry. You don't need to know what it was unless he wants to tell you. You present this plan (minus the blaming him part) and tell him you NEED his help.
posted by ctmf at 3:57 PM on January 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

A lot of relationships don't survive when one person decides to pursue recovery (for alcoholism, drugs, or any number of addictions). But a lot of individuals do survive when one person decides to pursue recovery, and a lot of alcoholics and addicts end up dead without it.

You know when you're flying somewhere, and the flight attendants tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first? That's good life advice. If you're ready to make a change, don't let your boyfriend's lack of support prevent you from making decisions about your own health and safety.

I can't tell you what to do tonight, but if I were your boyfriend, I know I would want to hear my feelings acknowledged ("I am sorry that I got blackout drunk last night and made you so angry"), and a commitment from you to do something ("... and I don't want it to happen again, so I am going to try this thing I have not tried before."), not just not do something (i.e. drink). And then tomorrow, do it. He is probably feeling out of control, scared, shameful, lots of emotions that many men more easily identify as "furious." You can't make him express his feelings to you, but you can make decisions based on what a reasonable person would feel given a situation and adjust your behavior accordingly.

Lots of alcoholics are past the point of being able to experience empathy; you are in a really lucky precious place right now. It's yours to act or to squander.
posted by juniperesque at 4:01 PM on January 10, 2015 [11 favorites]

You need more serious help and he has to stop undermining the changes you're trying to make and then getting furious at the outcome. This is a bad pattern with both of you making poor decisions. If my partner had a serious drinking problem and I actively contributed to them not making good decisions with regard to drinking, I'd only be furious at myself.
posted by quince at 4:02 PM on January 10, 2015

pumpkinseed, see that your account is disabled. I hope you weren't dismayed by the rather forceful responses. It's hard to hear if you're not ready, but it's truly what's needed here.

If you decide to return, you will find that folks here are helpful and compassionate, and that many of us (myself included) have personal experience with this. Good luck.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:21 PM on January 10, 2015 [20 favorites]

There are many kinds of drunks, but if you fall under the category of nasty, angry drunk; can't even remember what you've done or said; and other people have told you that you've hurt them, you really owe it to yourself and others to acknowledge your problem and seek real help for it. It's not your boyfriend's responsibility to parent you or cut you off. You have to set a limit and have him support you in staying the course, not the other way around. I'd be furious too if my partner continued to go overboard with a substance, hurts me when doing so, has done so for a while, and isn't committed to making a change. You gotta face the facts here that the only way you can make this up to him is to seek help for destructive alcoholism. I recognize that this is a horrible thing to be dealing with, and you have my support. Hope you get what you need so you can keep moving forward.
posted by Hermione Granger at 4:35 PM on January 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

If he actually cared about your drinking problem and desire to get help, he wouldn't keep going out for drinks with you. If he's going to enable, he ought to take ownership of his feelings when the same thing happens that always happens.

Honestly, as someone who has been(and can occasionally continue to be) a problem drinker, this.

It's easy to just go "lol fuck it" when you know you have a problem, your partner knows you have a problem, and yet they keep inviting you out for drinks and buying/giving them to you.

I mean yea, everyone involved is an adult and you're responsible for yourself and bla bla bla, but i think a lot of people really downplay the role of an enabler. It's pretty disrespectful of him to not only know you have an issue with this, but go out with you to get drinks(or give you drinks) and then get mad at you for being drunk.

Some people seem to think that alcoholics can just magically not drink too much, or not get weird or whatever if they're with them because they don't see the crossover point between just drinking and fucked up stupid drunk, and think it somehow happens from like chugging booze when they're not around in some way that visually looks irresponsible. Or maybe they have the semi grey area opinion that you should be responsible for yourself.

The reality is, you've told him what help you need and what you'd like to see for him to be supportive of you, and he's just pretty much ignored it and continues to invite you out, and sort of passively peer pressure you in to going out for drinks and stuff because he wants to, and he wants to do those things with his partner.

Basically what he's saying is he cares more about having a fun party girlfriend than he cares about you as a person.

I know that's hard to read or whatever, but that's really what this sort of thing means. He wants you to be someone your not, and thinks you can basically just stop being a stupid drunk if you concentrate hard enough and keep drinking and going out with him.

I mean what does he seriously think, you just need more practice or something? You aren't 16, this isn't the 3rd time you've gotten drunk, and this isn't riding a bike.

I can't read that catch 22 as anything but deeply disrespectful of you as a person, and not just like a prop to fill a hole in his life.
posted by emptythought at 5:04 PM on January 10, 2015 [8 favorites]

Woah, I hate the word "drunks" -- could we have a little respect for the OP who has already chosen to disable her account this evening. There are other, less derogatory words to use, don't ya think?

And while I do not have a drinking issue (because I choose not to drink), I come from a long line of alcoholics, I've dated them, I know the problems well and truly. But one of ours was asking for advice, not to be bludgeoned.

Pumpkinseed, if you are still reading (as I know you can), I did receive your memail but you disabled your account before I could reply. Please know that your situation is not hopeless, you are 25 steps ahead of someone who is not aware of her situation, how it is affecting her life and her relationship. Now you need to be brave enough to find that local resource that will truly effect change in your life. You can do it, because ... I believe you want to. And that's the first step. As I said earlier ... the best of luck.
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 5:08 PM on January 10, 2015 [19 favorites]

I know a couple where they started as drinking buddies, but a few years in the woman ended up having a serious problem and quit. It caused a little bit of stress at the beginning but in the long run kept them together and happier than ever. The guy drinks, the woman doesn't, and it's all good. It can happen and I hope for you it happens soon.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:34 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Emptythought, thanks so much for your post about the role of the enabler. I was close friends with someone whose spouse has a drinking problem. My friend was really angry about a lot of things that resulted from that, some of which were very serious and a major strain on the marriage... While at the same time, my friend was still actively pursuing a lifestyle (including spouse) that included frequent drinking because "it's part of the good life". It was really fucked up to watch from the outside and did have a weird dissonance about it. What you wrote about that fundamental disrespect makes some pieces click into place for me.
posted by Sublimity at 5:48 PM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

A few people have mentioned stopping drinking completely. That might be a good idea. But if you have difficulty maintaining complete abstinence, you might also try moderating your intake. A group called Moderation Management may be of interest to you.
posted by alex1965 at 6:29 PM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

One feature of alcoholism is that it constantly tries to distract or convince the afflicted person that they don't really have it. Stop a moment and look at how you are riddled with anxiety focused on what may have happened with your boyfriend rather than the fact that you have been dealing with a drinking problem for several years and cannot stop blacking out. Until that concern rises over all others, I don't see the relationship or your path going in a good direction.
posted by incolorinred at 11:27 PM on January 10, 2015 [4 favorites]

ctmf, no offense but there are no words to convey how wildly dangerous and enabling that advice is to give to a person struggling with alcoholism. I have never before shot down another's response on here, but it is so off the mark from a medical perspective that I am afraid of real harms resulting if the wider world finds this on google and adopts your approach of abdicating responsibility for their own well being to the hands of others.
posted by incolorinred at 11:50 PM on January 10, 2015 [7 favorites]

To clarify my remark in light of incolorinred's objection (and thank you), I meant that ALSO a key PART of the problem is the enabling boyfriend. Not that the boyfriend can solve this on his own by trying to be your keeper.

I disagree that asking him to help police your drinking (or non-drinking) goals is bad advice. In fact, I think it's crucial that he stop NOT doing that while you are in risky situations together. I regret sounding like I think that's all you need to do, which is not at all what I meant.
posted by ctmf at 12:56 AM on January 11, 2015

Erm.. A drinkers got be ready to give up the drink.. that would be your call alone. Check out the cycle of change.
posted by tanktop at 3:25 AM on January 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Go to a doctor and get evaluated. Chances are you're an alcoholic, and if that's the case, there are so many factors at work that will complicate your ability to "get help." I'm not sure how that help manifests today because being blackout drunk is pretty much as close to bottom as anyone gets.

A doctor may tell you to detox and get into an inpatient program. It is terrifying to realize that you have a chronic illness and that to keep living that you have to give up something that in the past has brought you so much pleasure and comfort. You may think that you don't have the skills to do this. It's okay, you will learn them.

It is also terrifying to know that to improve your health, that you may have to examine some very scary things, either parts of your past, or feelings or whatever else it is that keeps you drinking so much.

Your relationship is destructive. Your boyfriend continues to allow you drink to excess and puts you in situations where you are unable to moderate your drinking. It may be that you have no ability to moderate your drinking. If that's so, going to bars or parties with alcohol, is treacherous for you. Why would someone who professes to love you put you in a position to continue to abuse a substance? He may love you, but he's loving you to death.

Please get to a doctor and be perfectly honest about your drinking. Whatever you are told, act upon it.

I understand how scary it is to contemplate a completely different way of life, especially if it leaves your friends and boyfriends behind, but you must admit that right now your life is unmanageable and that you are powerless against alcohol.

I'm praying for you.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:39 AM on January 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

Me-Mail me. I'm about a half-step ahead of you in this same process. I will shed what little light I can.
posted by Thistledown at 6:06 AM on January 12, 2015

« Older Morning after pill for sister, 25 yr old going on...   |   HPV disclosure advice Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.