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Please I need help with my girlfriend

Partners, families, children and friends - they all get affected by your drinking.
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isg88
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Please I need help with my girlfriend

Post by isg88 » 10 Oct 2011 18:27

I've been together with her for about 5 years we're both 20 and we never seemed to have any problems with each other we were always very happy and completely trusted one another. However a few months back she started acting very strange with me and started fighting with me for a reason that I am still not even completely sure about. And finally she started telling me that she wanted to be able to drink as much as she wanted again (she had a drinking problem but I helped her get over it and she promised not to drink anymore) and I tried talking with her about it and asking her if there were any problems with us or anything else and that whatever it was we could work together on it.

But basically she decided that this wouldn't work kept fighting with me until we ended with breaking up and she went out with friends and got drunk and had some guy basically take advantage of her.
A few days passed by and she calls me and tells me about all this asking for forgiveness and telling me she was being a real idiot and that it would never happen again and that she would either drink responsibly or not drink at all anymore. I felt bad for her at that moment and also did kind of want to see if we could get back together so I accepted forgiving her and everything.

But a few days later we were talking and again she started fighting over no reason at all and she started telling me that she wanted to still be able to do what she wanted because she could get drunk and do whatever else and be responsible. After a lot of arguing and explaining why I didn't believe that (especially with what had just happened to her because she was drunk) I finally was able to get her to agree that she would not be getting drunk but she seemed very unsure about it like she was only saying it to make me feel good.

And it seems like this was indeed the case since now in the last few days she keeps telling that I need to be okay with her drinking be it just a sip or regularly and if I tell her I can't do that she gets extremely defensive and basically says I'm the worst thing on this earth
I got her to agree to go see a therapist or psychologist but she still insisted that if she did this she should still be allowed to drink and that she could prove that she could drink responsibly.

I really don't know what to do right now because I really do love her and care about her but at the same time part of me feels like I can't really trust her anymore and like she will most likely just end up hurting me again. Should I try and give her another chance and see how things go or should I just break things off with her?

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Mark.
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Re: Please I need help with my girlfriend

Post by Mark. » 10 Oct 2011 19:04

Hi isg88, and welcome.

Sorry to hear about the situation you and your girlfriend are in.

If I were you, I would probably allow your girlfriend more time. However, it's probably not for any of us to give you a straight Yes/No answer as to whether or not you should stay with her - only you will be able to decide that.

Just reading between the lines, I wonder if there might be something else behind your girlfriend's desire to drink? I mean - why does she suddenly want to drink? Discovering the answer to that might be difficult, because she may not know the reason, herself - if, indeed, there is an underlying reason for it, at all. That's one reason why having a chat with a trained counseller/therapist/psychologist might be a useful thing. So, again, if I were you, I'd try gently to make sure she keeps her agreement to go to see one. It might help.

Dealing with people with a drink problem - people who prone to getting into drunken trouble, or who are intent on drinking to excess - is very difficult. As you are finding, there's only so much advice you can give them before they become annoyed/angry at your refusal to accept their "need"/"freedom" to drink. The truth is, in a weird way, they're right: people with a drink problem do have a "need" to drink, and they do have the freedom to choose to do that if they so wish.

What drinkers don't see, however, is that drinking just perpetuates that need to drink, and it robs them of their freedom to function fully in other ways.

However, the need can be tamed, and the real freedom to choose can be regained. It's very difficult to convince a drinker of that, though, unless they are ready and willing to accept that they have a problem. At the end of the day, until a drinker begins to put either themselves or others into very real danger, there is very little that other people can do to stop them drinking except to encourage them as best they can.

As long as you love your girlfriend, and so long as you feel you feel you can cope - mentally and physically - with her current problem, then I'd stick with her, isg88. Get all the advice and support you can, and encourage her to at least acknowledge the truth about her relationship with alcohol. You might both end up reaching different, incompatible conclusions about that relationship (and possibly also about your own relationship); but, for now, I think it's more than worth while trying to keep encouraging and supporting her through this troubled period.

The fact that you've come here looking for advice on how to help her really impresses me, isg88. Please keep reading and posting, won't you? I'm sure some of the others will be along shortly with far better advice than I've managed to come up with.

Take care and best of luck with absolutely everything.

Speak to you again soon,
Mark
"Addiction doesn’t go away when we stop drinking." ~ Tai

isg88
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Re: Please I need help with my girlfriend

Post by isg88 » 10 Oct 2011 19:53

Thank you very much Mark!

I have to say I am very happy I found this forum as already just by reading some of the things others have posted it has helped in dealing with some of the emotions that I have felt due to my girlfriend's drinking problem. Especially (even though I know it is not in reality true) that feeling that you are all alone in this world and nobody else could possibly have this same problem

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Re: Please I need help with my girlfriend

Post by Mark. » 10 Oct 2011 20:04

Thanks, isg88!

Yes, Bright Eye's been a life-saver for me, especially in making me realise that I wasn't/am not alone in all this. So I'm really glad you're finding this too.

I forgot to mention (and you've probably already found these, anyway), but there are some threads specifically about/for the partners of people experiencing drink problems. I think these are mostly in the Relationships section of the forum. There are a few, I think, so it's worth scrolling down the index to find them all, as they should all contain stuff that's relevant to your situation.

Best of luck!
Mark
"Addiction doesn’t go away when we stop drinking." ~ Tai

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Re: Please I need help with my girlfriend

Post by isg88 » 11 Oct 2011 02:27

I was just talking with her and she let slip that one of the reasons she feels like drinking is because she feels like I do not accept her. Personally I do not think this is true at all since I have always been there for her and have tried to support her in what she does but I suppose somehow she now thinks this. Worst thing is from the looks of it me accepting her drinking is the only way to show I accept her for who she is.

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Re: Please I need help with my girlfriend

Post by Mark. » 11 Oct 2011 07:44

Hi isg88,

It's very difficult, isn't it? I identified with what you said, because I used to behave towards my wife in a similar sort of way to how your girlfriend is reacting to you: I kind of resented her for not understanding that I "needed" a good drinking session every now and then, and I felt annoyed that she wouldn't accept this side of my nature - a side of me that I truly thought was both harmless and necessary.

Perhaps when I felt my wife was being disapproving, it kind of made me want to go out and get drunk even more? Perhaps her disapproval made me feel trapped, and getting drunk was a form of release?

I'm not blaming my wife - this was how it felt, but I only reacted this way because I was drinking so much I couldn't think straight. I look back now and realise she only had my own well-being at heart.

I don't really know what to do, isg88. The truth is that neither you nor my wife or anyone else is obliged to put up uncomplainingly with their partner's excessive drinking just to prove that they "accept their partner for who they are."

You can accept your girlfriend for who she is in every other aspect of her life, but it doesn't mean you have to approve of her getting drunk on a regular basis. It doesn't mean you have to split up, of course - but I think there should possibly be some recognition on her part that you don't like her to get drunk and incapable. There has to be compromise in all relationships, doesn't there? This might sound flippant, but my wife doesn't like me getting smashed, so I don't get smashed; I, on the other hand, don't like her cutting her toenails in the living room when I'm eating supper, so she - bless her - refrains from doing that. Ideally, I enjoy getting smashed once in a blue moon, and she finds it comfier to cut her toenails in the living room, but we try and avoid those behaviours as much as possible because we know it irritates the other one.

I don't know how to approach your girlfriend, isg88, because she is likely to be quite defensive and touchy about her drinking. Like I said, it's very difficult not to upset someone who has a problem - a drinker finds it hard enough to be honest with themselves sometimes, let alone with anyone else.

I think, though, that you said she'd previously admitted having a drink problem? Perhaps you won't want her to see your posts on here, but I wonder if it might help her if you could somehow - and very tactfully - get her to read this forum? Maybe she'd see posts from people who drink in a similar way - and for similar reasons - as she does; and if she realised she's not alone in this, maybe she'd feel more comfortable about exploring her feelings?

It's the only thing I can think of at the moment, I'm afraid, isg88 - but, then, it is rather early in the morning still! I'll have a coffee, and if I think of anything better, I'll let you know!

Take care and enjoy your day.

Speak to you again later,
Mark
"Addiction doesn’t go away when we stop drinking." ~ Tai

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Re: Please I need help with my girlfriend

Post by isg88 » 13 Oct 2011 06:37

Sorry for not replying until now but have been having a few problems with my internet.
I agree with what you are saying and I think that first time when she recognized she did have a drinking a problem and she recognized that it was something that really bothered me and this was one of her incentives to stop. I think for the most part after that things worked out fairly well and we both recognized certain things that we did that the other did not care for and tried to avoid doing those things as much as possible. It was until this year that I started to notice things really changing and around April this year when everything just became the worst it had ever been. One of the things that I think may be partly to blame is that in the last year or so my girlfriend really changed in her lifestyle and with this really started to change our relationship.

When I met her and up until recently she was really reserved and was not the type of person that enjoyed going out and partying or anything like that in fact she only had very few close friends. Now she has very many friends and goes out all the time and quite often chooses going out with her friends over having us spend time with each other. When in the past it would have been the other way around. The other thing is she recently found a job which I know she really wanted and I am very happy she was hired to do. However I think the job has caused her so much stress which she is not accustomed to and she also has to deal with the stress of school and she is not being able to handle all of it.

The reason why I mention all of this is because from the last time when she admitted to me she had a drinking problem she also admitted to me that she used alcohol as a way to escape reality and escape a lot of depression and stress she felt during that time due to some problems she had with her family when she was younger. However if I mention this to her now she says she was just "young and naive" when she said all of those things and did not realize how much she enjoyed alcohol.

I also thought about somehow having her see this site or something like that the only thing that scares me is that I know the moment she sees the word alcoholic or anything of the sort she will react very negatively and will most likely say I am trying to change the way she is and all of that.

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Re: Please I need help with my girlfriend

Post by Mark. » 13 Oct 2011 20:55

I know what you mean, isg88 - alcoholic is a scary word, isn't it? I agree with your girlfriend on that one.

But, actually, it's not a word that everyone here uses, and I've always found this really quite useful - it seems to help me to think of myself of having a problem with drink, rather than classing myself as an out-and-out alcoholic (whatever that means), which seems so much more final and scary, doesn't it?

Before I say anything else, I just want to repeat what I said the other day: I'm really impressed by your maturity in seeking out advice. I hope that doesn't sound condescending. I really mean it. When I was your age (I'm only 35 now, but 20 seems a long time ago...) I wouldn't have had that level of awareness. I probably wouldn't have had the courage to enquire about a partner's drink problem at all, in fact. I couldn't even recognise or admit my own unhealthy level of drinking at that age, let alone anyone else's. So, well done.

Having said that, 20 is still a very young age, and I kind of get the impression that your girlfriend is still developing her personality, and trying to work out exactly who she is? At that age, people can change really quickly, as you'll be aware - you can believe one thing one week, and then believe something entirely different the next. That might be the case with your girlfriend, mightn't it - she's experiencing going out drinking and partying regularly with friends for perhaps the first time in her life, and she's a little bit enthralled to it all at the moment?

This could just be a phase - she might tire of it quickly. Partying all the time is tiring. It can also be expensive. She might find quite soon that it's not worth the effort, doing it all the time.

However, on the other hand... perhaps she's going to enjoy the party lifestyle for some time to come.

I think you're just going to have to show some patience, isg88, over the coming weeks and months. I think the success of the relationship is going to depend on you both compromising and accommodating each other's desires. You (just as I would be) are naturally going to be very worried about her going off and getting drunk, if that's what she chooses - especially in light of her recent experiences. However, I guess that you have also got to accept that she is at an age where it's natural (if not always totally sensible) to go out and socialise with friends and new colleagues. On the other hand, I think she has to realise that it would be unfair of her to do this on too regular a basis. If you're going to stay together, then she must realise she can't neglect you! And if she's going to go out drinking, then she's really (like anybody) going to have to learn to take care of her health and personal safety when she does it.

It's all very difficult, isn't it? I think if it's going to work out, you'll need to continue to show some patience, isg88. I think you've been doing amazingly well so far. But I also think that she also needs to show a little understanding about how her drinking affects and worries you. If I were you, I'd continue to try and deal with her drinking as tactfully and compassionately as possible. As you say, it might well be caused just by the stress of her new job. The difficulty is that it's almost impossible to tell someone that they're drinking for the wrong reasons - they won't accept that until they see it for themselves. I'm afraid you might have to accept that this is something only she can work out for herself.

I wish you all the very best with everything, isg88. I'm also hoping that someone else here might have some better advice than I have!

Take care and speak soon,
Mark
"Addiction doesn’t go away when we stop drinking." ~ Tai

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Boris Bike
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Re: Please I need help with my girlfriend

Post by Boris Bike » 14 Oct 2011 12:58

I can't think of anything to add, Jarvis. Great post.

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Re: Please I need help with my girlfriend

Post by isg88 » 18 Oct 2011 05:41

Thanks a lot and I actually take what you say as a compliment.
I think you are right and if I want things to work out I will need some patience as for many reasons this is not a problem that will just vanish overnight. As you mentioned my girlfriend may still be trying to find out who she is and this may in fact be something that does not go away and if this is the case than I have to accept it and think whether it is what I want in my life or not. I think deep down inside she knows getting drunk the way she has been doing is wrong and is affecting our relationship however I think sometimes her craving for alcohol is more powerful than she is and she just looses herself.

I really care about her even though she has made me go through some pain because of all of this but because I care about her I worry about some of the things she has been doing which can have extremely serious consequences on her both physically and emotionally.
I will just have to be patient and show her that I care and see how things go I suppose.

Just want to say thanks for all the advice though because this site really has made me think more clearly when it comes to handling this situation. I will try and update with anything else that happens between my girlfriend and I. Also hope to read and contribute more to the forum as time allows it because as I said it really has helped me out.

Thank you very much

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Re: Please I need help with my girlfriend

Post by Mark. » 18 Oct 2011 08:59

No worries, isg88.

Yes, please keep us updated, and do use the forum as much as you find useful. I've benefited from your posts - it's always very valuable for a person with a drink problem to be reminded of how it feels from a partner's perspective. Thanks!

Very best wishes for everything and hope to see you again soon,
Mark
"Addiction doesn’t go away when we stop drinking." ~ Tai

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