Alcoholic Continually Relapsing Bipolar Boyfriend Pulling Away

Banner 37 Audio LessonsThe following story was submitted by one of our readers who is concerned about her relationship with her boyfriend. The alcoholic in this situation is also bipolar, a recipe for heightened dysfunction. The boyfriend seems to have made several attempts at getting sober, but has a history of relapsing. He is now in a rehab and is pulling away from Christine.

Story submitted by: Christine
Street AlcoholicI met my boyfriend a year ago at work. He has been an alcoholic for 20+ years been in and out of rehab 8 times. We didn’t officially get together until December 24th 2014, We have been together for 9 months. I have never been with anyone that is an alcoholic. I’ve stayed anyway…something inside me just said, “this is the one”. I have seen him sober and he has the most incredible heart and soul. I completely fell in love with him. As the months progressed the drinking became more intense. I was learning through experience everything I needed to know about this horrible disease.

He did counseling at 16 days sober. I have watch him detox himself. I have watch him get sick from detoxing, get the shakes, endure sweating, spend days in bed and lose jobs. I’ve seen the anger when he drinks, the crying when he says that he “missed” missed out on good things in life. He has also shared some of the deepest darkest secrets he has with me.

He has said to me, when he is drinking, “I love you and am in love with you. I want to be your partner in life”. When he is sober though, he is a totally different person. He’s quit, doesn’t speak to me, barley says I love you, doesn’t touch me or even look at me. His sober times are few and far between. He also suffers from a Bipolar disorder.

I have stood by his side for the last 9 months through the tears, arguments (Beaten Down By Alcoholic Boyfriend), fears, verbal fights, physical fights, laughter, lost jobs and have supported him in what goals he try’s to set for himself. I’ve stood by him during every relapse.

September 17th, 2015, I pushed him to get into a rehab program. He is 47 days sober. He told me 3 weeks ago that he couldn’t mentally handle a relationship and he has cut off all communication with me. I was crushed. Will I ever get him back? Was he lying to me about the way he felt? Was he using me? I don’t understand?

JC: Christine, I cannot begin to imagine the wild roller coaster ride you have been on while dating this person. It’s very difficult just being in a relationship with an alcoholic. I can’t imagine what life is like when the alcoholic is bipolar too. You might enjoy reading: Letting Go Of The Alcoholic’s Choices.

You Might Also Like:
Mood Swings Of An Alcoholic
When An Alcoholic Gets Sober

Please feel free to leave a comment below.


22 comments to Alcoholic Continually Relapsing Bipolar Boyfriend Pulling Away

  • Christine

    I do not want to walk away, I love him I have been reading things on recovery but not getting my questions answered, is this normal for recovery to push girlfriends away until they are better. The worse part is I see the building he is every single day when I go to work. Knowing he is in there and I can’t see him or talk to him hurts even more. I have been going to therapy everyday and al-anon once a week. I am getting ready to move in the hope of changing the surroundings in case he does come back. Sometimes the hurt is just too much to bare


  • Pat

    It is my belief that most alcoholics are bipolar to some degree. After having 2 husbands that both have been alcoholic I can say I speak from experience. There is something in those of us that are involved with alcoholics that makes us drawn to these broken people. I have been helped by al-anon to realize that while I love my husband that I cannot judge or control him. Once I let him go mentally my life got much better. Have to say it is the hardest thing I have ever done. It is something I work on each day. Instead of focusing on him turn your attention to your life and make yourself happy by creating a wonderful life for yourself. I can say that I wasted so much of my life living it around my alcoholic that I missed things I would have enjoyed. I have no one but myself to blame for this. When you make a wonderful life you are excited for each day when you wake up. If he gets himself together then maybe he will want to be part of your life. He may not and that is also a possibility. I have read a wonderful book called Loving someone in recovery. It helps you to look at your issues and has work for you to do to focus on you. I highly recommend it even if your alcoholic is not in recovery.

  • christine

    I have to say this community is the ONLY! community that has responded to my story and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for it. I want to be there for him I want to do what I need to do for him out here. But part of me feels like it will be a waste of time. He is making me feel like I am the enemy that I did this His parents don’t want to deal with him anymore he is working on his relationship with his daughter I think she talking to me as well as soon as he broke it off with me she stopped communicating with me, he changed his relationship status to single on facebook but he didn’t unfriend me I guess that’s a plus I still have his stuff here with me at home I have been the only one here for him and now I was thrown out into the trash I feel lied to and used. My ex-husband passed away 8 years ago and I have not given anyone my heart until Justin came into my life and he ripped out of my chest and crushed right before my eyes in less than 2 hours that I got to spend with him after his 30 day lock down. I don’t know if this is normal? Should I keep working on myself and wait and see what happens after his 6 months? I just don’t know.


  • christine

    I also want so desperately to get to know this person he is becoming, go for walks, talk, to movies, go to the mountains etc…How do I get there if he is not talking to me? my therapist tells me he has set up his boundary and I have to respect that so he can recover and I have I haven’t text, called or or communicated with him in going on a month now, I journal to him everyday on the computer but, I do not send it to him.

    I wrote this poem to him in my darkest time the first couple days after the break up

    Please see me…

    Please do not dismiss me, for I am learning and growing as well.

    Please do not judge me, I am not perfect.

    Please see me, for I am beautiful inside and out.

    Please hear me, for I speak words of love and kindness.

    Please feel me, for I touch with gentleness and warmth.

    Please love me, for my heart is pure and real.

    Please believe in me, for I have dreams and goals.

    Please be patient with me, for I have also seen the darkness.

    Please understand me, for I am strong, wise, and I’m not complicated.

    Please laugh with me, for my smile, my humor, and personality will fill your heart with joy.

    Please enjoy me, for I am a rare diamond in the rough.

    Please enjoy my heart, for it can speak volumes.

    Please enjoy my strength; for I have so much to give, I know how to share…:)

    Please feel my heart, for it knows how to love unconditionally.

    Please look into my eyes, for you will see the beauty of my soul.

    Please touch me, for the goose bumps I receive will tell you everything.

    Please kiss me, for my kiss will send you to that place you dream about.

    Please enjoy my spirit, because I to will be gone from here one day.

    Please allow me to teach, for I have learned great things!

    Please allow me to listen, for this is how I learn.

    Please allow me to show, for this is how I believe.

    Please allow me to be me, for this is what allows discovering someone so exciting!!

    ~ Christine B. Bolton

  • Jean

    Sounds like my life a whole lot. I was married to an alcoholic spouse with bipolar disorder. There were some good times, but it was a very codependent relationship on both parts. I went through the car wrecks, arrests, fights, constant chaos, etc. I stood by his side for 2 decades until I was so distraught, I had to leave. My sticking by his side without any concrete change on his part, just continued the vicious cycle. I was an enabler!!! I was tempted to go back many times, but my gut instinct and fear told me not to do it. I slowly learned a better way of life after lots of Al-Anon and therapy. He is still the same, still drinks, still blames others for his misery and still has not gotten therapy or on medication for his bipolar disorder. Me, thankfully, on the other hand, live a peaceful, happy life without the constant ups and downs. I have been where you are, and it is a “no win” situation unless he takes many steps to treat his bipolar and his alcoholism, and unless you attend Al-Anon and seek some help for yourself. Get some counseling for yourself. You are the only one you have control over and you deserve to be happy. It’s a hard life to be with an alcoholic and a hard life to be with somebody who suffers from bipolar disorder. Combine the two and it is a recipe for disaster. Take care of yourself and let him take care of himself. If you both do the necessary work to get emotionally healthy, maybe there is a chance down the road. Best of luck to you!

  • christine

    He is on new medication for his bipolar and today he is 48 days sober in rehab I a small glimmer of hope inside

    Thank you for your comment


  • Jean

    Christine, At least he is being proactive about his issues. I hope for his sake and yours, he stays on medication and stays sober. He can’t do it alone in a successful manner. It is common for alcoholics to learn that they need to get healthy before they can have a healthy relationship. Give it time.

  • christine

    Thank you so much I do try everyday to remember that he is getting better and that I pushed him to do this to save his life. This was what I wanted from him, still doesn’t make it any easier from side

  • Jean

    That’s why you need to take care of you and seek some support through Al-Anon and therapy. You need to ask for help too. You owe it to yourself!!! It can get better. Keep the faith.

  • christine

    I am. I go to therapy everyday and I go to Al-anon every Thursday. I wake up every morning a little bit stronger a little bit more positive, and a little bit more hope. If he comes back I know this is a life long process and I’m willing to put 200% into it to make him stronger, me stronger and us stronger. I’m just concerned he won’t see that or know that.

  • Jean

    Let go and let God…

  • christine

    I just want the chance to see the the person he is and get to know him

  • christine

    what does let go mean? that to me says walk away from him and never see him again, never have him in my life

  • Bill

    Christine, thanks for sharing your story. I am sure you are heart broken. I promise that in time you will feel better, getting over someone just takes time.

    The only person you can change is you. Take time to focus on yourself and let your friend focus on himself. This isn’t an easy thing to do once we get caught up in obsessing over the alcoholic in our life. Keep yourself busy through going to meetings and try to connect with Al-anon members over the phone too.

    JC listed an article in this post about letting go:

  • K

    Christine, Love runs deeply. Sometimes the person you love is so sick that he will never totally recover from it. My step daughter is an alcoholic and heroine user and is also bi-polar. We had her in a recovery center and she lived with us for 4 years. She worked, was pleasant and her future looked very positive. She met a man who had the same previous bad habits who day by day involved
    her into the drug, alcohol life. She broke our hearts, over and over. There is no law you can use to force them to take the medications for bi-polar, nothing could keep her away from him, nothing worked. We struggled with this. He wrecked her car and she wrecked it several times. Now all of the payments she made and down payment provide by us is gone as the car is now a total wreck.

    My husband is an alcoholic. He tried and tried to help her but all she would do is throw the alcoholism back into his face. Many times my heart has ached over both of them. I had to let go and let God in order to save myself from the emotional roller coaster I allowed them to put upon me. I was a total wreck and still have ageing parents in nursing homes and do everything to make sure they are
    cared for. I had to become strong beyond normal expectations. I ignore
    their guilt trips. Step daughter and boyfriend never come to see us and it is
    a blessing. Enough is enough. Set your self free of this insane situation.
    Bi-polar is a real disease but it is also used by the addict to control the
    environment around them and you. I am sharing this as my personal experience
    in dealing with the bi-polar addict.

  • christine

    the bi-polar does not bother me The drinking does, and he is getting help for both I knew this man before I ever knew about his bi-polar and hid drinking I sat at work next to him for a 6 week training class he is very smart with the work that he does and he is very funny and loves to laugh he was 3 months sober when I met him he has also been 23 months sober so I know he can do it I always told him he could do it and I believed in him. I am not ready to give up on him I will do what I need to do for myself to get better and understand all of this. Going to my Al-anon meeting tonight and I found a new apartment to move into next month, removing the old bringing in the new. A new and brighter future.

  • K

    I hope for your sake that he always takes his meds and stays sober. Bi-polar is a devastating
    disease that does not go away. Please take time to read on the internet about what being
    bi-polar does to the mental state of the patient. I do not want to dampen your brighter future. Educate
    your self so you know exactly what you are doing to your self as it will cause a lot of sacrificing
    on your part. There is a lot of alcoholics that are bi-polar If he forgets his meds or picks up the drinking habit, one or the other, you will be walking on eggs in a world that is beyond your control. I wish you
    well, I understand that love is very blind, walking in my shoes is a reality check. Good Luck.

  • Bill

    K, I can relate to what you have shared. I had someone in my life who suffered from anxiety and depression, not bipolar disorder. They were on several medications, but never really drank alcohol.

    When they would start getting mentally unbalanced, the psychiatrist would make medication changes. Those changed in medications caused serious mood swings. For one, they would have to ween off of the present medication and then take the new one for 6 weeks before they knew if it would actually work. At times it would take up to a year for them to get the right medications worked out. That’s a lot of med changes and emotional roller coaster rides for the diagnosed person and their partner to endure.

    I cannot imagine being with an alcoholic who is drinking and trying to get mentally balanced with medications. It seems like a recipe for disaster.

    Christine, it sounds like you are making some healthy changes for you, good job.

  • Kristy


    I have spent the last 5 years with a severely bi-polar alcoholic. He has finally been sober for two years now however, learning to let go and love him through his bad times continues even through sobriety. There are days I believe that I hate him just as much as he says he hates me. Part of what an alcoholic does is blame you for how they feel and what they do. It may never stop. The pain you feel can only be controlled by you. You can allow it or not allow it. Letting him see it only makes matters worse. He gets two things from it. Self gratification that he is able to have such a profound control over you and guilt for being such a horrible person to be causing one more person so much pain. Stick with Alanon. Find your lines between enabling and supporting. You must ask if he can do certain things for himself or if he will do certain things for himself. If he physically or mentally incapable of doing something then you may offer help. If he just won’t or just says that you do it better or wants help so that he can dump the responsibility of it on you. By doing it you are now enabling the behaviour. You must step back and let him figure out what he needs to do. You must Let go. You can always love him and always be concerned for his well being. Yes it hurts but, it hurts more to be in the middle of something watching them suffer when only they can help themselves while you are helpless. Be strong, know that you are not at fault for any of this. Loving with detachment is a difficult concept to understand but an oh so powerful one. I pray the man you care about finds his way but, do not loose yourself in the journey.

  • Alex


    From what I can tell, I think expecting a relationship from this person is expecting too much at this point in his life and his recovery. From my experience with my boyfriend who has both been in recovery and relapsed, it is impossible for me to expect my boyfriend to provide love and care to me and to himself while trying to begin a new life of sobriety. It is so very difficult being in love with and giving so much of your love and care to an alcoholic. Alcoholics and addicts in general, are selfish, as their whole lives revolve around addiction. I do not say that because I feel that they mean harm but innately, they are selfish because of their addiction. Even sober, my boyfriend demonstrates alcoholic tendencies that take WORK to overcome. He has to work on being more thoughtful and caring. Im no expert, but I do not think you should be taking his actions personally. This doesn’t have anything to do with you, or whether you did the right or wrong thing. Know in your heart that you did all you could, but focus on your own needs during this time. Perhaps there is someone out there that can give you everything you’ve dreamed of, without you having to give EVERYTHING away to them with nothing in return.

  • Christine

    Well we are seeing each other on Sunday and I am terrified not sure what to say or do he just got his 2 month chip. While I am excited to see him. I guess I’m afraid of this being our last time if ever seeing each other again.

  • karli

    I was with an alcoholic for nine years, it took me six years to realise he was an alcoholic as he was in denial, due to believing he was the one, the same pattern has continued just as you describe in your opening paragraphs. i feel crippled from the experience and even with psychological help it is a rollercoaster ride that never ends. Let him go. That is what l should have done right from the outset.

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