I think I just need a third party perspective on something and for some unbeknown reason after frequently reading your blog I thought I’d turn to you. To make a long story short, my girlfriend is totally different when she drinks. She tends to push me away physically and emotionally. She says hurtful things to me when she’s drunk. But when she wakes up the next day sober, she acts like nothing she did happened. She thinks I should just overlook what she does when she’s drunk because she’s “drunk.” She doesn’t seem to understand that I’m hurt and still remember what she did, even if she doesn’t.
I have tried to ignore it and move on, but I have a family history of alcohol abuse and it brings back bad memories and the only way I knew how to deal with it then was to ignore it. So that’s what I do now.
I don’t think she’s an alcoholic. She doesn’t drink all the time, but when it crosses that line it’s really bad. When I’ve confronted her about it, she apologizes and says she doesn’t know what she does it. She’s stopped drinking before but it didn’t last. I don’t know what to do or think about this. I love her and want this to work. Any advice from you would be great.
I think that the first thing you do is ask yourself a few hard questions. The first one is, is she ever abusive while drinking? From your letter it sounds like she might cross some lines into emotional abuse. If she’s having to apologize the morning after and it’s bad enough that you reached out to me to ask for advice then I’m thinking you’re feeling abused in some way. Just because someone does horrible things to you under the influence of a drug or alcohol does not take away their culpability in it. No one forced her to drink. No one is forcing her to continue drinking. And if she loved you, like really really loved you? Then you would be more important then getting drunk.
You said you don’t think she’s an alcoholic but she sounds like one to me. If she drinks to get drunk, or can’t stop herself once she starts until she’s obliterated then she has a problem. If she can’t admit that, then you have to ask yourself if you want to stay in a relationship with someone that values the bottle more then she values you. I know that sounds harsh but it’s true. If she’s not an alcoholic and she loves you, then it seems like a no-brainer: she stops drinking so she stops hurting you.
If she can’t stop drinking then she needs help to stop. If she refuses to get help, then she’s refusing to stop hurting you. And do you want to be in a relationship like that?
Love should never hurt. Some people think that love always hurts. But that’s because they come from abusive households where the people that should have loved them and protected them, hurt them. So then you grow up to think that if your mother or father (who should love you) hurt you, then that’s what being loved feels like. Then we unconsciously find partners that make us feel the same way we felt when we were little because it feels like “home” and we mistakenly call that love. But abuse is NEVER love. And there is NEVER any excuse for someone to abuse you.
My advice to you is this: Give her an ultimatum. Tell her if she loves you, she should want to do anything to protect you, especially when it’s from her. Tell her the next time it happens you’re leaving and mean it. If it comes down to that, she’s either going to wake up and realize she loves you more then booze and clean up her act. Or she’s going to realize she can live without you, but she can’t live without alcohol. In which case, you are better off without her.
It’s sad and harsh but it’s really the advice I would give my best friend. Don’t waste any more time on someone that hurts you. There are too many amazing women out there to waste your time on someone that thinks more about herself then she does about you.
I wish you luck and love my dear.
ps: any readers that have some kind words of advice please share them in the comments