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Question
Posted by: Carly | 2011/10/10

How do I help?

Hi Doc,

My boyfriend recently opened up to me and told me that he has a drinking problem. He asked that I help him get through it.

The only problem is that I had an alchoholic mother for most of my life, and I''m afraid I''ll be too hard on him because of what I''ve been through with my mother.

How do I go about helping him get through it?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Encourage him and congratulate him on having the good sense to recognize that he has this problem - treatment wouldn't help until he made this important step. But its not something to try to manage entirel;y on your own - if he had appendicitis, you wouldn't whip out a pocket knife and clear the kitchen table, I hope. Encourage him to see a good local psychiatrist with an interest in alcohol problems, and to join AA.
As others say, "friends" can be a menace to anyone with drug or alcohol problems - help him by developing mutual friends whose lives don't center around partying and drinking.

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3
Our users say:
Posted by: Jenna | 2011/10/10

Well done to him for admitting he has a problem!!! I am sure it will come naturally, not being too hard but be careful that you aren''t too SOFT on him either. Just remember he is a different person, he has opened up to you and he is trusting you to help him through. Has he admitted himself into AA yet? Try fill up his weekends with fun, SOBER things to do (putt putt, bowling, etc). Do you guys live together? If not, try see him as much as possible. Has he admitted to his friends yet? Friends can be the biggest downfall because if he hasn''t told them, if he declines their offers to go out his friends might just think he''s being lame or fading or something, then your boyfriend might give into the pressure.

Reply to Jenna
Posted by: Liza | 2011/10/10

Al-Anon is a great place to start. Al-Anon is for people affected by the alcoholism of others. They have support groups (because your boyfriend isn''t the only one that will need support).

As long as your boyfriend is willing to get help, there''s definite hope for your relationship. My Dad was an alcoholic. He started going to AA meetings before I was born. When he met my mother, he had been sober for a year. When he died, he had been sober for almost 40 years. But no matter how long he stayed sober, he still went to AA meetings every week. As he always said - once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic - even if you''ve been sober for years...

Reply to Liza
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/10/10

Encourage him and congratulate him on having the good sense to recognize that he has this problem - treatment wouldn't help until he made this important step. But its not something to try to manage entirel;y on your own - if he had appendicitis, you wouldn't whip out a pocket knife and clear the kitchen table, I hope. Encourage him to see a good local psychiatrist with an interest in alcohol problems, and to join AA.
As others say, "friends" can be a menace to anyone with drug or alcohol problems - help him by developing mutual friends whose lives don't center around partying and drinking.

Reply to cybershrink

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