When should I take my boyfriend to the ER for drinking?

by Karen
(San Jose, CA USA)

My boyfriend is a binge drinker, about a pint to a pint and a half of vodka daily. The problem I am having is he won’t eat anything, he coughs up dark brown phlegm, and 2 days ago, he had loose black bowel movements which got all over the place..I guess he lost control of his bowel because last night when he came back from the bathroom he had black all down his leg, he had stepped in it, and had it on his hands, and on the way back to the bed he fell back onto his butt, and it took him about 30 minutes to get back in bed with me standing by the bed so he wouldn’t fall back on to the floor.

I am very worried something is going to happen to him, but he keeps telling me “I will go to the doctor tomorrow”, but tomorrow never comes, but this is the worst I have seen him. What should I do?


If he is agreeable, take him to the doctor right away. If he isn’t agreeable, you can’t force him to make these changes. It sounds like the alcohol abuse is destroying his body. Alcohol is very rough on many parts of the body, particularly the digestive system. The doctor will likely tell him things he doesn’t want to hear in terms of his need to quit drinking. I’m guessing he puts off going to the doctor for this reason.

What should YOU do? You need to assess whether or not this is a healthy relationship. I don’t mean only when he’s sober. I mean the relationship as a whole. Ask yourself why you are settling for a relationship with someone who drinks that much. He may be a wonderful person, but he will need a long time in recovery before he is ready to make a commitment to a healthy relationship.

Also, make sure you aren’t enabling him. Do you buy alcohol for him? Do you take care of things for him? Let him feel the consequences of his actions. This is the only way he will decide to make a change. Don’t make it easy for him to be an alcoholic.

I would also recommend that you join an Al-Anon group in your local area. The people there will be a great support to you as you attempt to do what’s best for yourself and your boyfriend. Counseling is also a great option, for both you and he.

Here is some additional information on binge drinking if you want to learn more.

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