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My Boyfriend Is An Alcoholic - Helping an Alcoholic Boyfriend

A man is holding a bottle of alcohol in front of a woman at a men's only rehab center.

If you are dating an alcoholic boyfriend, the telltale signs of his addiction are usually there. You may choose to be in denial, because confronting the truth can be extremely difficult. However, ignoring reality won’t change anything. While it is not your job to treat his addiction, there are ways to be there for him to provide support and encouragement through the disease that is alcoholism.

Being with an alcoholic boyfriend is not easy, especially once you confront the severity of the situation. You may feel pressure to keep their secret and to make apologies for their behavior. Even the most functioning alcoholic cannot hide their addiction one hundred percent of the time. As their partner, it is not your responsibility to protect them or make excuses for them, but there are things you can do.

Is Your Boyfriend An Alcoholic?

As your relationship develops, small suspicions may start raising concerns. You may feel uneasy and have a nagging feeling that something is wrong. As these apprehensions refuse to go away, an inner voice will begin saying, “I think my boyfriend is an alcoholic”. Fortunately, there are signs you can look for to confirm your suspicions.

Alcohol is an entirely different beast than pills or other types of addictions. Alcoholic beverages are enjoyed by a large majority of the population so it may not raise any flags when you first see your boyfriend drinking. After all, many of us are casual drinkers and it stops at that point. We can go out with friends, have a couple of drinks, end the night, and go home.

Someone with a drinking problem can’t just stop drinking, they will continue to drink, will never leave a drink unfinished, and will worry about when they’re going to have their next drink. As time goes on, the primary focus of their lives becomes the alcohol and when they can drink. They will often drink in private as it is not a social activity for them. As the addiction grows, they will suffer from mood swings and general life responsibilities will fall by the wayside.

The alcoholic will begin to neglect their work life, their relationships, and even their personal health. As drinking overtakes their lives, they may drive under the influence and engage in other risky behaviors. In an attempt to keep their addiction under wraps, the alcoholic boyfriend lies about drinking and deflects blame whenever possible. Caught in the throes of addiction, they will selfishly do anything to continue feeding it, often resulting in narcissistic alcoholic behaviors.

How Do Deal With An Alcoholic Boyfriend

When that moment of terror creeps in and you realize that your boyfriend is becoming an alcoholic, it can be easy to shut down. It may be easier to convince yourself that it’s just a phase he will outgrow. However, ignoring the signs won’t change the reality. If you are willing to accept that your partner is suffering from an addiction, there are things you can do to cope with the situation.

What To Do

First, and most importantly, build a support system for yourself. It’s easy to assume that you’re the one who is okay. You may mistakenly think that it’s only your boyfriend who needs help and a strong support system. That is not the case. As someone living with an alcoholic, you will often find yourself emotionally and physically drained. You may fluctuate between feeling overwhelmed, sad, mad, angry, and helpless. Having people you can turn to and lean on for support is critical.

Find a local Al-Anon group and attend meetings. There, you will meet others dealing with the same things that you are struggling with. Listening to these struggles and sharing your feelings will help you feel less alone.

During this tumultuous time, taking care of yourself is vital. Pay attention to your physical and mental health. Stick to your routines and don’t allow his behaviors to take over your day. Your job is to handle your own needs.

What Not To Do

It is important to not adopt a savior complex. As their partner, you may feel that it is your responsibility to step in and save them any time their alcohol causes an issue. Not only is that not your job, it actually can negatively impact the addict and fuel their addiction. Sometimes a crisis or a rock-bottom moment is needed in order for the alcoholic to realize that they must make a change. If you keep solving every problem for them, that will never happen.

In the same vein, don’t try to control them either. It’s not your job to be a detective and monitor their every action. If they themselves cannot control their drinking, it’s foolish to think that you can miraculously take over and control it for them. Attempting to do so will simply result in domestic discord.

You should also not be a secret keeper. It is not your job to hide their addiction from others and cover for them. The level of responsibility in keeping such a monumental secret can be extremely overwhelming and isolating.

Most importantly, make sure that you are safe. If you are with an abusive alcoholic boyfriend, seek outside help to keep yourself protected and safe. It is not your job to simply put up with such behavior because of their addiction. Your health and wellbeing should always come first.

How You Can Help Your Alcoholic Boyfriend

It can sometimes be easy to romanticize an addiction problem. You may think that the battle is what makes your relationship stronger and more special. When you are invested in a fight, it can give you a sense of purpose and a feeling of power, that you are strong enough to take on the challenge. You may feel like a warrior, fighting for your boyfriend and fighting for love.

You think that if you just fight hard enough and love him hard enough that you can help his addiction go away. You think that if you are diligent enough and fighting for his sobriety, that he can get better. Unfortunately, that is not the way addiction works. He needs to want to be better. He has to put in the work and fight for himself.

What you can do is research addiction and rehabilitation programs. You can choose a time when your partner is sober to have a discussion about your expectations in the relationship. If you are too scared about how the conversation will go, writing a letter to an alcoholic boyfriend is also a good option. Don’t stress too much about what to say. Simply have him understand how his addiction is impacting you and those around him. Let him know where you stand and what you expect. Remind him that you love him and offer to support him through the recovery process.

At Prosperity Haven, we understand how difficult it can be to stop drinking alcohol. We understand how daunting it can be to begin the journey of addiction recovery. Our expertly trained team of medical and mental health professionals will work with you to create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. As a disease that affects the entire family unit, we strive to tackle each facet of the addiction and provide the tools necessary to do so.


Take the First Step and Reach Out Today