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I Think My Boyfriend Has a Drinking Problem--How Do I Deal With the Situation?
Ama Ataa has been in a relationship with Kofi Nyarko for two years now. “Kofi spends hours sitting in bars, drinking, especially on Friday nights. I think my boyfriend has a drinking problem. I cannot get Kofi to accept that he is destroying himself. He insists his drinking is not a big deal—he will stop when he wants. But, it is getting worse. He prefers to spend time drinking instead of going out on a date with me. Furthermore, he has been arrested a number of times for drinking under the influence of alcohol. I love him very much and I am worried for our relationship. I do not want to break up with him. What should I do?” Ama asks in a quavering voice and with a worried look on her face.
If you find yourself in the same situation Ama finds herself, or in a similar situation, what can you do so that you can save your relationship?
Learn About How to Handle a Boyfriend With a Drinking Problem
The first thing you must do, if you think your boyfriend has a drinking problem, is to arm yourself with knowledge so that you will know how to behave around him so that his condition will not get worse. That knowledge will equip you with the skills you need to handle him in ways which will prevent him from getting annoyed with you often.
Consequently, you can prevent situations that may make him become violent or that may make him abuse you verbally.
Accordingly, visit a quality website such as the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website https://niaaa.nih.gov and devour all the information you can find on how to deal with an alcoholic.
Taking this action will help you to communicate in ways that will maintain tranquility in the relationship, which will increase the chances that you can influence your boyfriend to seek professional help.
Think to Yourself That “the Glass is Half- Full and Not Half-Empty”
Remind yourself every day that this test is your “cross.” View it as an opportunity to show your boyfriend that your love for him is genuine and not just superficial love which wishes that there will only be happy times in a relationship.
Furthermore, remind yourself often that this challenge will teach you to be more loving, patient, kind, and tolerant which will go a long way to improve your value as a lover and helper to your boyfriend.
When you adopt this mentality, you will not get depressed when your boyfriend acts in ways that make you feel like giving up on the relationship.
Moreover, adopting this attitude will help you to be upbeat often, which will increase the likelihood that you will relate to your boyfriend in a loving manner. Subsequently, it will be easier for you to get him to consult a therapists or a pastor for help.
Try to Tolerate Your Boyfriend
It can be frustrating at times to live with an alcoholic because he will act in ways that will annoy you and make you grit your teeth in anger.
Therefore, if you want to sustain your relationship with him, try to exercise patience so that you can avoid having quarrels with him often. Frequent fights may make him reinforce his habit and , consequently, he may drink even more.
Do Not Adopt a Condescending Behavior
Some girlfriends start to feel that they are better than their boyfriends, adopt a “I-feel –I-am-better-than-you” attitude and treat their boyfriends with disdain because they start to think that they are clean and their boyfriends are addicts.
When you treat your boyfriend with disdain, or when you treat him with disrespect, he will not feel motivated to collaborate with you to solve the problem—he may turn down your request when you ask him to see therapists.
Therefore, when you realize that you are behaving arrogantly towards your boyfriend, try to swallow your pride and treat him with respect so that you can influence him to see a professional.
Encourage Your Boyfriend to Exercise Regularly
Sometimes to break a bad habit, you need to replace it with a good habit that will make you feel that you are achieving something in life.
One habit you can encourage your boyfriend to adopt is exercising. Research shows that it can help some people to break their alcohol addiction. So, coax your boyfriend to run or swim every day.
Control Your Anger
Never question the self-worth of your boyfriend. For example, do not say words such as, “You are a useless guy! When all your friends are progressing in life because they don’t drink, you just choose to waste your life drinking. Useless man!” Taking such a line of action will only lead to frequent fights which will undermine the stability of the relationship and help to reinforce your boyfriend’s behavior.
Rather, remind your boyfriend of the ways in which his attitude is affecting his life and your relationship. Do this without maligning, lampooning, or lambasting him. Let him see that you care about him and want the best for him.
So, for example, you might say something such as this to him, “Isaac, when I met you, you were one of the bright guys in your company. But now, you get so many queries from your supervisors at work? It’s because you are drinking, Isaac. I love you! And I know your potential. You can achieve far more than you have done now. Please reconsider this habit!”
Be a "Friend in Need"
View your boyfriend’s addiction as a test of your love for him. By doing this, you will feel motivated to treat your boyfriend with compassion. Additionally, you will find it easier to empathize with him, which will increase the chances that you will give him the support and encouragement he needs to kick this habit.
Accordingly, talk to your boyfriend about the importance of having positive, worthwhile goals for his life. Constantly, make it a point to remind him that he can live a quality life, an enjoyable life if he decides to stop drinking.
Furthermore, reason with your boyfriend to let him see that he does not need to drink alcohol in order to be happy but that he will find satisfaction in life if he works assiduously to attain his life goals.
As you talk to your boyfriend, put your arm around his shoulder or waist so that he will feel the love connection between the two of you. Speak in mellifluous tones so that you can increase the chances that his heart will be touched.
Consequently, you will gain his trust and that will make it easier to influence him to seek help.
Remind Your Boyfriend of the Ways He Will Benefit if He Stops Drinking
Remind your boyfriend often of the ways he will live a better life, if he chooses to stop drinking.
For example, you may say to him, “Isaac, I am not happy about your drinking habit. Remember, you used to own two cars? And remember you had to sell both of them because of this habit?”
Then, pause for a few seconds to allow the words to sink in so that he will reflect. Whilst he is reflecting, shake your head to show that you are sad about the situation.
Then, resume by saying something such as, “No, darling! Don’t continue doing this to yourself! Think about all the money that you used to use to buy designer clothes and quality shoes, and also think about the tickets you could buy to go and watch Accra Great Olympics play every week end? You are unable to do those things nowadays because you are wasting all your money on alcohol.”
Give your boyfriend something that he can ruminate about. Your words may touch him and make him see how he is destroying his talents and his resources, and that may instigate him to take steps to deal with the habit.
Remind Your Boyfriend of His Dreams
Remind your sweetheart of the plans he had for his life which he used to share with you, but which he has given up because of his habit.
So, say something such as this to him one cool evening after you have cooked his favorite meal for him, “Darling, do you remember you told me you wanted to be a great soccer star? Are you going to let that dream remain just a dream and instead destroy your life with alcohol? No, darling! You know, you can still achieve that dream! All you need to do is to have the will to stop this habit. I am willing to cooperate with you to help you stop this habit. Don’t give up your dream! Choose to live a great, fulfilling life!”
When your boyfriend ponders over this message, he may see that there is still hope for his life and that can inspire him to collaborate with you to solve the problem.
Let an Authority Speak to Him
According to Dr. Robert Cialdini, professor of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University, people respect authority figures and so there is a greater chance that a person will heed to the request of an authority figure and give a positive response.
So, get a person your boyfriend admires or respects to talk to him about his habit. You may choose to seek the help of his parents, his boss at work, a pastor, his dearest friend, or contact his favorite sports star or his music idol, and let them try to make him see that he is wasting his potential.
Your boyfriend may stand back and take a serious look at his life again after this authority figure has a word with him. Consequently, he may see that he can achieve a lot more with his life if he stops drinking. So, he may repent and take drastic measures to ensure he stops drinking.
Encourage Your Boyfriend to See Therapists
Regularly, in a subtle manner, try to let your boyfriend see the need to consult professionals, or the need to see pastors, if he is religious.
Whenever you pass on this concern to him, express your feelings in a manner that will make him feel that you are taking this course of action because you love him, and not because you think he is a nuisance.
So, instead of saying something such as, “You cannot continue to embarrass me in front of my girlfriends the way you have been doing. If you don’t see a therapist, I will leave you!” say something such as, “Isaac, I want you to be the best employee in Papee Company Ltd., and I know you can achieve it if you deal with this habit that makes you keep taking retrograde steps. It hurts me to see you wasting your money and your potential because of this habit. And you know what will become of you if you continue drinking, don’t you?”
Then, pause for some time to let him think about what will happen to his life if he chooses to continue living the way he is living.
Throw the suggestion to him and give him the right to make the final decision. Let him choose to seek help so that he will feel he owns the final outcome, when things turn out right. This is more likely to influence him to consider your suggestion than pushing the suggestion on him.
Use this strategy and other strategies to convince him to see therapists.
Pray for Him
God has the track record for saving people who were enslaved by bad habits. He can help your boyfriend to stop drinking, if you will believe in Him and pray for your lover. This requires seriousness on your part and a desire to persevere because helping to break a bad habit can be tough.
So, every day, make it a point to intercede for your boyfriend in the morning and also in the evening. If you can, wake up at 12.00 midnight on Friday nights and pray till 3.00 am on Saturday mornings. Involve your boyfriend. Encourage him to participate.
You may pray a prayer such as, “Dear God, Almighty Deliverer who sent Jesus to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound. Jehovah, Great Deliverer, my boyfriend is a prisoner to the habit of drinking. He is in bondage and I need You to set him free. Please hear my prayer, Oh Lord! Let him come to himself so that he can see the harm he is doing to himself and to me! Please set him free so that he can use his life as a testimony to witness to others who are also in slavery to drinking! Deliver him Lord so that he can use his body, which is your temple, to honor and glorify You! Lord, please hear my cry! Set him free! Deliver him, Lord, for Your glory! Amen!”
Persist in prayer and God will honor your efforts and break the chains that bind your boyfriend so that he can become sober again.
I Think My Boyfriend Has a Drinking Problem
Do you pray for your boyfriend?
If you think to yourself, “I think my boyfriend has a drinking problem,” then you must be patient, try to control your emotions, continue to respect him, seek help when your efforts do not yield fruitful results, and pray seriously for him so that he can change.
© 2017 Isaac Yaw Asiedu Nunoofio