How you can cope with an alcoholic partner

Being in a relationship with an alcoholic is like dealing with a person with two faces.Here are a few tips on how to cope with an alcoholic partner

Identify the problem

If you’re in a relationship with someone who is always drinking or getting drunk and drained from drinking the night before, chances are they have a problem with alcohol. But there is a difference between someone who just enjoys his/her drinks and someone who is addicted to alcohol. The former likes to party, even party hard but does not lose control of his/her sense. The latter on the other hand will drink so much that he/she is likely to pass out, throw up or fall into a stupor. Among the earliest signs which indicate that you might be dating an alcoholic is that you always seem to meet him in a bar and there is a lot of alcohol involved in your dates.

Proceed with caution

You might think you can handle your lover’s alcoholic nature in the relationship but after some time, you’ll realise that it will only bring you down. Don’t be moved by pity or a missionary feeling for an alcoholic person, thinking that he/she only needs your love and care to kick the bottle. There is nothing to be done about a person who simply doesn’t want to change. Even if your partner wants to change, it’s going to take maturity and determination for this to even happen in the first place.

Decide on what to do

Once you have recognised the symptoms that confirm that your partner has a drinking problem, there are two things you can do. If you have just started seeing this person, you can walk away. However if you have been dating him/her for some time and this problem emerges during your relationship, you may not want to end it immediately. If you love this person and want to help him/her as much as your relationship, realise that you are taking on a very big challenge.

Educate yourself

Read up as much as you can about alcoholism. This will not only help you understand better the causes and circumstances which draw people to alcoholism but also make you aware about the various ways to help your partner conquer his or her addiction. Even if your attempts are not successful, you would know where to seek help for yourself as well as for your partner.

Talk to him/her

If you are lucky enough to diagnose your partner’s drinking problem at the earlier stages, then you have a fair chance of making him/her realise where he/she is headed for. Choose a time when your partner is sober and talk about how their alcoholism is affecting you and your relationship. Tell your partner how you feel when he or she loses control over their behaviour and how the addiction has consequences for the relationship as a whole. If your partner still has some control over his or her drinking habit, this may act as a wake-up call and motivate them to combat the problem. However, make sure that your partner is sober when you speak to him or her, so that they register the significance of your words.

Set boundaries

If you have decided to stick it out with your alcoholic partner, it is extremely important that you set boundaries for their behaviour. Talk to your partner when he/she is sober and gently but firmly tell them that there are certain behaviours that you will not simply tolerate. Anything that embarrasses you, puts you in danger or potential trouble with the law is strictly off limits. The easiest way alcoholics get away time and again with their addiction is to make others, particularly their partners, feel sorry for them. No amount of love or tears on your part will convince a confirmed alcoholic to give up the addiction. Trying to help an unwilling alcoholic will only enable them to fall further into their alcoholic abyss. The only way to help them is to gather information about de-addiction treatments and then leave them to decide what they want to do with it.

Copyright PUNCH.

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