My boyfriend is an alcoholic. We have been dating 5 months and I recently moved in with him not knowing he was an alcoholic. I am so frustrated with him; he tells he will only have 1 or 2 drinks and before I know it, he is drunk and acting like a school boy. I feel like his caretaker. He has had his license taken away from the DUI’s so now he has to ride the bus to work or I have to drive him. I refuse to drive him to work. I want him to realize what he has done to himself. The last couple of days when we go out and he drinks too much I get so angry I slap him in the face. He gets mad but is as gentle as a teddy bear.
I can’t help but want to slap him for the way he acts. I know slapping is not the way to deal with things – but I don’t know what to do as I have never dealt with this before.
I know helping smooth over issues will not help so I think tough love is the key. I just don’t know if I’m stepping over my boundaries by hitting him.
He is a wonderful man, provider, and very loving when he doesn’t drink, but turns into this irresponsible boy when he drinks. I want to stick around and help him through this, but I’m not sure how to help or cope.
Having a loved one who is an alcoholic can be very frustrating. It is understandable that you feel the desire to act out physically towards him. However, it is unlikely that your behavior will have a positive impact on your situation. Physical force is not an effective means of dealing with an alcoholic as it does not really address the root issues. It may make you feel better in the moment, but it is probably hurtful to your relationship and may increase his alcohol abuse because he may feel depressed as a result. It is unlikely to motivate him towards change.
Tough love can be effective when done appropriately. Physical force is not a component of tough love. Rather, tough love involves setting boundaries to protect yourself from the effects of his abuse and from the potential that you might enable him. For instance, you might state that when he’s been drinking, you will not spend time with him. Something like that is an example of tough love. It means that you will not enable him but instead ask him to take responsibility for himself.
The best thing that you can do is put up appropriate boundaries for yourself, see a counselor for self-care, and tell him how his drinking affects you. Support him if he desires to get sober. If he does not wish to get sober, even after hearing how it affects you, you need to evaluate whether or not this is the best relationship for you. He may need time to deal with his addiction before he can be the boyfriend or husband that you desire.
I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. I have since settled in North Carolina. I have experience working with various stages of addiction, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, trauma, stages of life concerns and relationship concerns.
I tend to use a person-centered approach which simply means that I meet you where you are and work collaboratively to help you identify and work towards accomplishing goals. I will often pull from CBT when appropriate. I do encourage use of mindfulness and meditation and practice these skills in my own life. I believe in treating everyone with respect, sensitivity and compassion.
I recognize that reaching out for help is hard and commend you for taking the first step. We have professionals available who would be happy to help you move closer to reaching your goals related to your drinking concerns. You may reach these professionals by calling 877-322-2694.