Ask Wendy

How Do I Deal With My Drunk Boyfriend?

Reprinted from September 30, 2016
drunk boyfriend
Hey Wendy,

I drove to dinner with my boyfriend and when we got there he discovered a 32 oz. margarita on the menu. I said I wouldn’t help him drink it as he ordered it. The waitress explained the drink was for multiple people -- that didn’t stop him. I asked him to consider a smaller size. From there it was all downhill -- I was told I ruined the evening by asking him to order smaller.

He proceeded to become his intoxicated self and stayed that way all evening. When we got home, he went to his cave and I went to sleep. This was a bad evening for both of us.

The next morning I was informed that I think he is a bad person. That is not true and I did not say that. I have stony "standoff" behavior. Other than going to an Al anon meeting, what should I do?

Tara T. - San Antonio, TX

Hey Tara,

I could easily take a stab at this one solo, but I figured I’d turn to a trusty advisor, a true expert in this subject who’s been sober for 25 years. Our friend has supported men and women throughout the decades in varying recovery stages and knows what an alcoholic looks like, sounds like, smells like — you get it. Here’s what they had to say about this scenario:
First and foremost your man is behaving like an alcoholic. A person who doesn’t have a drinking problem but got a little overzealous at the thought of consuming a 32-ouncer would be sheepish, apologetic, or blazay the next day, and they would most def apologize for putting you in the position of chauffeuring their drunk ass around. (I remember being sheepish, I was in my 20s once.) They wouldn’t be pointing a finger at you as last night’s buzz-kill.

Second, there is absolutely nothing you can do to change his behavior. Period. The end. You might not want to believe this. You might want to fix him, save him, let him be and cross your fingers and toes and hope it’s a passing phase, but there’s not one single dingle thing you can do about this. If he wants to get his drink on, he will.

Third, it’s 100% acceptable, fine even, for you to not want to be around intoxicated people. They can be a real drag when you are sober. Being judged for this is a manipulative move and a flaming hot, red flag.

DD, you can choose to stay with a partner who behaves like an alcoholic. Buckle up, it can be a bumpy ride especially during the part where it’s you that’s the problem, not him (good times). If you make this choice, Al-Anon can be a lot of help.

Or there’s option B: You can choose to leave a partner who behaves like an alcoholic. It may (or may not) be a wakeup call for him.

And lastly, DD, I’m sorry you’re saddled with this problem. I wish you much clarity and a true partnership where everybody owns their own feelings and behaviors. Sending you love vibes from over here.

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