Drunk Every Night

Q: I have been with my boyfriend now for over five years and he has always been a daily beer drinker. But the last year it has gotten worse. He gets drunk every night, goes to bed early, and sleeps it off. I have told him to cut down, been supportive, etc., but he just continues drinking. Shall I give up or keep hoping he will change? He is not an abusive drunk or anything like that but I just don't think I can be with a man who gets drunk every night! Shall I give him an ultimatum? Not sure what to do. I have offered help with counseling, etc., but he refuses. He is a wonderful man but this is getting tiring. Please help! -- Linda, 40

Dr. Susan: Your boyfriend sounds depressed, as well as having turned into an alcoholic. You can nag and nag, or advise, or be sympathetic, but he won't change this behavior until he has something to lose. Maybe not even then, as so many partners have found to their dismay. An ultimatum to go with you to counseling wouldn't be a bad idea. What he has to understand is that you're feeling alone every night, and that this way of living isn't what you have in mind for the rest of your life. You are with him because he is "wonderful," and you're missing that now. Alcoholics CAN adapt their behavior, but they have to see that it's a real problem and that they are harming themselves, their loved ones, and their hopes for a good future. Above all, don't just keep hoping he will change on his own. That's extremely unlikely as things stand.

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