Enabling An Alcoholic Boyfriend

Guest Post From Trisha
I have a question. I just never know who to write to. I know I’m enabling my boyfriend who lives with me. I take him to buy alcohol and I sometimes pay for it because he makes me feel guilty when I dont. He will tell me that he pays for things for me which he does. He says: “well arent we here to help each other?” What do I do? I take him to buy it, then I have to deal with him after? I dont know what to do anymore. Its hard not to drink in front of him because I enjoy a glass of wine now and then. I have a life too. I’m just so confused. I cant find an Al-anon meeting that I can attend because I work two jobs. The one I enjoyed is on Saturday mornings and I usually have to work.

15 comments to Enabling An Alcoholic Boyfriend

  • kaz

    I agree the situation is very difficult. I try and treat everyone the same. If my friend didn’t have enough money to buy what was needed, would I lend them the money even if I didn’t want to?

  • Caitlyn

    Best thing you can do is set a ground rule with him on the subject when he is sober and receptive to comment and concerns from you. Tell him you will you pay for anything other than his alcohol which fuels his addiction as it does not feel right for you to do this. Explain exactly what you have written here, you have to deal with him after and it makes you feel guilty for assisting him on his path of self destruction. We can’t stop them drinking but we can refuse to support their addiction.

    Why can’t he drive himself there? Already intoxicated? In which case you can say no. I’m your friend, you’ve had enough.

    Mine would stockpile the stuff [red wine mostly] at my place and his. When I worked out he had a real problem with alcohol, I put my foot down and said no stockpiling at my place. I got rid of it all from my home. The first thing he did when he called round was to load up a large brandy balloon glass and down it within the first ten minutes. This was after having a few at his place. How did I know? I smelt it on his breathe as he bent down to kiss me.

    I don’t have a problem with alcohol but I refused to support his addiction to the stuff and to making it readily available under my roof. He told me he was cutting down and had substantially from when he first met me but his behaviour and obsession with keeping it handy indicated otherwise. I said if he was dead serious, he wouldn’t have a problem with my ‘no alcohol in my house’ stance. What he does in his place is up to him, but I refuse to support his habit in my realm.

    Of course I haven’t worked out what will happen when and if we do get married in 12 months like he is proposing. Time will work that tricky number out.

    But back to you, just tell him you won’t support his habit and he should respect your decision and not pour the guilts onto you. Tell him you are more than happy to buy dinner at a restaurant or some other treat as a way of showing and telling him you are happy to help him in a healthy way.

    Hope this helps.

  • Teresa

    My suggestion would be to separate your finances and or write down who’s to pay for what monthly household expenses from each of your own accounts. 

    I’ve also done this for my husband up until we started separating our finances 3 months ago. I’d feel so hurt and angry when he’d ask me to stop at the liqueur store for him while I was already out running errands. My husband pays for all of our monthly household bills, his own gas $, food, cigarettes, booze, etc. I’m suppose to pay for food, gas $, school lunches, Dr co-pays, prescriptions, diapers, formula, my own cigarettes (yes it’s a VERY bad habit), etc for myself and our 5 kids. He’s “dilusional” if he thinks I can actually pay for all that with my once a month disability check of $1,600. His take home pay is signifantly higher than what I get. After he’s “suppose” to pay for our monthly household bills that still leave him with $2,000 a month and for “some reason” bills are paid late and or he has no money left before his next pay check. He’ll often write himself a “bad check” to carry him over till his next payday. 

    I’d suggest taking a long hard look at your relationship & future with him. Make a list of the “Pro’s & Con’s” of your relationship with him and how his drinking may or may not effect your future. Ask yourself is this the man I want to spend the rest of my life with? Are my needs being met in this relationship? Just a couple suggestions. :-/ 

  • Karen

    Been there done that!!! Because your brain and body is not controlled by the chemicals in alcohol it makes it harder to understand someone who is controlled by any substance abuse. This web site taught me that and I am grateful. I finally told my husband ,with a big teaseing smile that if he was hungry I would always buy food.
    However, your two 30 packs of beer every other
    day are heavy and
    expensive and I just won’t do it. If the truth of the matter every came out he would admit that he is more
    worried about money for his beer or what ever. If you
    buy it this time, maybe he will have some money pocketed
    for next time. He probably has it planned exactly how
    much money he needs until the next payday for his alcohol
    and he cannot do it on his own. I still find that I
    end up buying the stuff because he manipulated me into
    going to the store with him to get something else. He
    just wanted beer.

    Alcoholics can be very hard to deal with. I have never
    understood how they think and do until this web site and
    I encourage you to continue contributing with questions
    and examples for others to read of your experience. It
    is a long bitter battle that we must choose to find a way
    to be happy and not feel guilty. Good luck, keep reading.


    You are surely enabling him both by drinking in his presence and by escorting him out to buy the booze, a clear sign to him that you are behind him in all he does. Helping one another should not involve doing the harmful for one another. Draw that line by starting with yourself…restrain yourself from drinking in his presence first, that will show him how willing you are to change things around you, then you can try to talk to him about his issues. Many times my loved ones tried to get me to drink like them. They thought i would admire and acquire their restraint when i witnessed it but it only strengthened my zeal to drink…”after all they were drinking too”. If he loves you he will listen and you can make him see things your way. Remember to be gentle because you are now making the journey to change together.
    Hope this helps

  • admin

    Trisha, thanks again for sharing with us. There are several articles that you may find a few ideas in to help you stop enabling.

    Tough Love With An Alcoholic
    Communicating With An Alcoholic
    Facing Alcoholics With Courage
    Stop Enabling An Alcoholic
    Alcoholic Giving Me A Guilt Trip

    I love what Caitlyn said: “Best thing you can do is set a ground rule with him on the subject when he is sober and receptive to comment and concerns from you.”

  • Trisha

    thank you all for your responses. I so appreciate it. It has made me see things a bit better.

  • kaz

    hey trisha, i’m living the same problem.. i’m hoping to learn from you and all the others who have supplied some handy hints.. all the best to all.. Kaz

  • kaz

    as for the Al-Anon meetings, I’ve been lucky enough to find one (120km’s from home) bit it’s soooo worth it. Apparently, you can start your own. Maybe you will find like minded people close to you?

  • Denise

    It is getting closer to christmas, a time in our house that my boyfriend wishes was over and done with. He has no money left to spend on presents. I have bought all the food and paid all bills this week. Last night was not very nice.
    He was in a very bad mood. He hated himself and everyone else around him. Was mad because he ran out of booze. He knows I have money and won’t give it to him. Very mad at me for taking his keys. He is saying he can’t wait for his life to be over with. I’m at work today…worried to death, but if it is his time to go I cannot stop it whether Im at home or at work. Actually probably safer for his son and I to be away from him today. He looks very bad. Hasnt eaten in days. Or cant keep food down. Im a nervous wreck today. Praying God will take care of us all.

  • Caitlyn

    You’ve done the right thing by all, for all. All you can do is look after yourself, look after the young man in the house and continue on over the Christmas hurdle.
    Am thinking of you. You are strong and brave. Continue to be so. To diffuse the tension in the house, tell your boyfriend presents don’t matter, it’s the simple things that do.
    Hope you didn’t have an argument over the keys. Tell him you’ve got his best interests at heart and that you hope he’d do the same for you. Reverse it back on him to shift any anger directed your way.
    Do something uplifting for yourself today to keep your spirits high.
    May God bless your household.

  • Trisha

    OMG Denise i’m so very sorry. You have done the right thing. You are so brave and strong.

  • Teresa

    I must agree, you are doing the right thing. I’m sure it’s not easy situaltion to have to deal with but you are a stronger person for doing what you have. May you be blessed with a peaceful Christmas and New Year.

  • Denise

    Thank you for your support girls. Last night was a bit more peaceful. I am up early this morning around 3 listening to my boyfriend vomit. This is a common thing when he is coming down from a drinking binge. He will either start drinking again or stop for a while. Who knows what he will decide to do today. Looking forward to spending time with my daughters this week. Tired day at work. I will try and take a nap this afternoon.
    Have a great day all. Remember that you are not alone in your troubles. It certainly helps venting and hearing encouraging words. Not enabling someone to drink is a hard road to follow. Some days I am strong enough to do this, other days I have to forgive myself. Leaving all in Gods hands when I am too tired to take it on alone.

  • Teresa2

    I stumbled upon this thread tonight (morning) while I am up still upset about watching my husband skip another meal, drink it instead and be sick, throwing up, hurting… He has been on a drinking binge for about a week, after slowing down for two days and drinking for about a month solid before that. I feel for all of you and what you are going through. I’m not young. I married my high school sweetheart at 45, and thought we would have a happy ever after. I didn’t know anything about alcolholics and really and truly thought he was only drinking because he was sad and lonely when we got together. Of course then I had to find the excuses for AFTER we had gotten together,(he lost his job, I can see now why…) but I love him. I keep reminding myself of that. He has been off work for 6 months, draws unemplyment, and used every bit of it for his own needs. I work and support the home, both of our kids are grown.
    I guess I felt a little comfort knowing someone else goes through watching someone they love do this to themselves. It’s a horrible disease. My husband that I love so mcuh goes from my hero to a joke in one 30 pack a day. I do understand about pulling myself away. We’ve been married for 4 years and I have no friends, no family that wants to come around, and I feel like I can’t leave to go anywhere, because “what if?” I think I’ll watch this thread and try to find a meeting close to me. Thanks ya’ll.

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