I didn’t really make the connection with my girlfriend struggling with alcohol until the drinking problem got worse. I was surprised when she stayed out all night with some friends after we had been dating for about a year. That’s when I realized that she was struggling with an addiction to alcohol that she had no control over. It was the beginning of a horrible relationship that ended in separation about seven years later.
An alcoholic friend or relatives mind stays preoccupied all the time when dealing with an active alcoholic. Mostly all they can think about is where they will get the next drink from. It doesn’t matter where they are or what they’re doing, if they can get their hands on some liquor they will do it.
As my girlfriend excelled in her drinking problem she spent less and less time at home. When she would get off work it was a convenient stop for her to go to a relative’s house and get something to chill out with. Most of here immediate family had an addiction to alcohol and even the one that didn’t, eventually he got hooked on drinking all the time too. Some of the craziest things happened during the time we were dating.
The boat was called “the boat from hell.” One of her family members had a party boat. Literally an alcohol party boat, not the fishing kind either. It’s funny how every time people would go out in the saltwater inter-coastal waterway, there was a horrible story that followed. It was obvious to me what the problem was; I’m sure they knew too. But, like all good alcoholics, they were living in a world of denial.
I once confided in someone and told them that my girlfriend was a problem drinker. I asked them, what should I do? They responded and told me that it was a common thing in their family and that I should seek to get help dealing with my girlfriend’s addiction. It wasn’t long after that that I sought out the Al-anon program. It was there that I found the strength that was needed to endure the relationship, in hopes that she would quit drinking. Guess what? She never did.
What did happen though is I began to learn how to love an alcoholic without conditions.
Eventually, the anger in me started winning over my passive personality. I got help though. Learning how to deal with my girlfriend’s addiction to alcohol took some time, but by attending Al-anon meetings regularly, I was able to stay with her for several years. Eventually her addiction took her into dabbling with other substances that were not acceptable. I continued to learn how to set boundaries and love her without conditions. Setting boundaries with an alcoholic is a process that takes time.
Finally, my girlfriend and I broke up because of her alcohol problem. It was sad, but at the same time somewhat of a relief. The battling was finally over and to my surprise; she was dating someone within a month of us breaking up. We had been together for a long time. Someone told me that alcoholics will easily replace boyfriends, girlfriends or even spouses rather quickly after a breakup. I was told to not let it bother me because that’s just what an alcoholic does.