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How to Deal with Dating an Alcoholic

Updated on November 2, 2013

Many people end up dating or falling in love with someone who drinks too much......sometimes this is by pure accident as in not knowing this person drinks as they may hide it from you, or you may be needy or codependent as in this person's behavior, though not healthy, made seem normal or acceptable to you, if you are used to abusiveness in people or if you feel you just need to be with someone. Either way, you're in for a potentially bad ride.

Codependency is often a result of being from a dysfunctional family, being brought up around alcoholism, abuse, and perhaps divorce or fighting parents. Codependency is a feeling of being dependent on another person to make you happy or safe and truly if this is the case, you need desperately some help to get over codependency.

Most people come to Al anon-12 step meetings which help then to understand and cope with an alcoholic-because they have family or a significant other who they are already in love and wish to seek help in order to deal with it themselves and know how to encourage the drinker to get help. Often times we may realize we ourselves may be:

  1. too perfectonistic or hard on the drinker
  2. we need to learn what our role is
  3. we may be clueless to what alcoholism is
  4. we may need help understanding why we act or react the way we do

Some people may distance themselves completely from dating an alchloic while others feel "at home" with the alcholic because they grew up with it. But this doesn't mean to say that people cannot move on and put it behind them.

Online Al anon outreach

Are you at the end of your rope?

Many al anon goers will go because they've tried everything; they are living with a parent or loved one who spends all their money on drinking, yells frequently, and acts out in such a way (possibly even hurting themselves) that the family member has no clue what to do!

What do we talk about in Al anon?

  1. How to accept the alcoholic and understand it is a disease
  2. Coping skills- how to better understand, bepatient with them and ourselves
  3. Whether it's worth it for us to continue seeing this person
  4. We vent alot about how we feel and support each other
  5. We learn how to treat the person with "tough love"

We may have learned unhealthy behaviors by growing up in an alcoholic home and may have developed these traits and be injured emotionally. So often we may gravitate toward an alcoholic. Or it may be just the opposite--we may never have met an alcholic till now.

Are all alcoholics bad?

Alcholics are not bad. Some of them just can't handle alcohol and need help getting into AA. We are taught to encourage them to do so. Many people who drink may not be alcoholics.

Here are the 10 signs you may be an alcholic:

  1. Do you ever drink after telling yourself you won't?
  2. Does your drinking worry your family?
  3. Do you drink alone when you feel angry or sad?
  4. Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
  5. Do you get headaches or have hang-overs after drinking?
  6. Does your drinking ever make you late for work?
  7. Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
  8. Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
  9. Do you ever forget what you did while you were drinking?

  10. Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?

Okay now to the punchline: It is basically ok to date or to marry a person who drinks daily or is an alcoholc~it depends on:

  1. If we're willing to accept that person
  2. If we can make it worthwhile and cope
  3. If we want to be up for the challenge

What are some ways to cope?

  1. Go to al anon meetings often
  2. Learn the 12 steps and 12 traditions
  3. Find a "higher power" to call on or God if do not already believe in Him
  4. Practice and accept your partner as a person--stop thinking of them as screwed up or as a jerk but as a person with a 'disease'.
  5. Love them unconditionally

REMEMBER....If you want to, or feel you can detach completely from a spouse/family member/friend, you should. It's important for your own sanity/mental health and emotional health. Remember YOU are FIRST.

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    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 5 years ago

      wow I'm honored please accept my gratitude .. :))

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 5 years ago

      I especially like your last point , "you can detach" , which is what so many , including myself , cannot or could not do for a loved one ! And right then become a victim of this terrible affliction . You my dear , are an awesome writer ! Thank you for that !

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 6 years ago

      Hi fpherj48

      Thank you for your comment, very valuable. :)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      schoolgirl...The title of your hub caught my interest. The moment I read, "How to Deal with Dating an Alcoholic," I had an immediate answer.

      You STOP dating an alcoholic. No marriage, no children, no mutual investment in a family unit, in a long term commitment? Stop NOW. Walk away while the walking is easier.

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 6 years ago

      Dear StacieL



    • Stacie L profile image

      Stacie L 6 years ago

      there's no understnding for someone who is an alcoholic..they will take you down with them

      They need to hit bottom and want to stop by themselves...good hub

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 7 years ago

      hillrider, 1/31/11

      thankyou, I just updated this hub.

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 7 years ago


      I'm sure you're right as most al anon goes also are codependent.

    • hillrider profile image

      hillrider 7 years ago from Mid-west United States

      Having been involved with Al Anon I would like to add there is a need for people to educate themselves on co dependence as well. Something that may be added to revive your topic perhaps...

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 7 years ago

      Unfortunately, no matter how "nice" a drinker may be, the alcohol consumed every day or very often does affect the person's behavior, or personality.

      I've spoken to a few women who married/dated men like this and they all said the men behaved very similar. Controlling, argumentive.......not fun.

      get out while u can!!