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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Alcoholism and Being Supportive

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Author Topic: Alcoholism and Being Supportive
Smarties
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Member # 93271

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Recently, my boyfriend realised he has a problem with alcohol. We had a really positive discussion about his situation and I think he has a really encouraging perspective on his drinking (i.e. he recognises the people and environments that enable his drinking and really wants to make changes).

Thankfully, I'm not much of a drinker at all so it will be easy for me to be supportive in that way, but I'm not sure what else I can do or say. Is simply being a cheerleader and a shoulder enough? Am I being supportive in a productive way? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Posts: 27 | From: Canada | Registered: Jan 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
coralee
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I think you could suggest activities that are alcohol-free. For example- I wouldn't invite him to a party where you know there will be heavy drinking. Instead you could suggest going to a movie.
He may realize what situations/people trigger his drinking, but will he act on that realization? At the end of the day those are his choices to make. If he is relying only on you for support, not only is that unfair to you, it is likely ineffective for him. Don't hesitate to reach out to others if you feel you're getting overwhelmed yourself.

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September
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What is he doing in terms of reaching out and getting professional help? Has he sought out counseling? Has he looked into joining AA?

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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Smarties
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Thanks coralee. Save for a few occasions, our dates are pretty dry anyway. We usually only have a drink or two with a meal when we go out to a pub, so that's pretty easily substituted. Also, he thankfully has other people who will support him as well; being his partner, I just want to help in any way I can.

He hasn't reached out for professional help yet. I know he's considering it, but I think he wants to try first on his own. If things stagnate or deteriorate, I won't hesitate to get him professional help.

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coralee
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Just so you know there are organizations besides AA that aim to help people with drinking or other substance abuse problems. For example, SMART Recovery, Rational Recovery and LifeRing are ones that I know of and I'm sure there are more. I've been to both AA and SMART meetings and IMO both have positive and negative qualities. Then there's Al Anon which is an organization for those whose loved ones have alcohol problems.

Some people find they can recover from problematic drinking by themselves, while others find they need more structured support such as AA or a counselor. Some people are quite firm in their opinion that no one can successfully "do it alone", however, IMO neither AA nor any other organization is a miracle-worker and some people are quite successful in cutting back or quitting drinking only with the support of family and friends.

The one thing I would recommend though, is he sees a doctor if he is a daily heavy drinker or he has ever experienced withdrawal symptoms when he went without drinking. This is because alcohol withdrawal can be deadly if one stops drinking suddenly so sometimes people need medically supervised detox.

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Smarties
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Thanks! I didn't know many of those organisations existed. I'll definitely look into them if need be. Also, I don't think his drinking is quite that bad, but I will definitely keep an eye out for withdrawal symptoms just in case. Thanks for warning me!
Posts: 27 | From: Canada | Registered: Jan 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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