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When alcohol is the problem in your relationship

What is it about this type of drink that causes people to become attached to it? What is it about alcohol that is so much more difficult to handle than say tea or milk? Could it possibly be that there is the huge possibility of an addiction coming to the surface; an addiction that even those who are faced with the problem can’t identify? So if one knows that one could possibly be at risk for dealing with such an addiction, why put one’s self into the position of having to deal with an uphill battle against the odds and alcohol? This question is even more apparent when it involves two people in a relationship. When the dangerous consumption of alcohol (and by this I mean the too frequent consumption to where it seems you have to have it just to make it through the day) in the middle of a relationship, things can become pretty rocky. I have personally known and watched many couples battle over the issue of one in the relationship being an alcoholic. So what do you do? If you’re the one in the relationship loving the alcoholic but not the alcohol, then its hard to say. After all, we always hear that the proper way to love someone is by accepting them as they are no matter what, but what happens when this ideal, unconditional type of love becomes too difficult to do?

Of all the things that can end a relationship (such as money issues, infidelity, abuse, etc), why does alcohol seem to be one of the leading factors these days. Yes, the U.S. is in a state of economic recession. Yes, people are losing their jobs. Yes, times are really tough right now. So why make things more difficult to deal with by turning to a bottle that costs way too much to be buying in the first place, and unless one is consistently consuming it and nothing else, only leads to a hangover in the morning. This is not what the world means by “going green.”

I know of a couple, I’ve actually mentioned them before. Allie and Craig are faced with this problem. Once again they deal with another relationship problem. Now, in their case, Allie’s consumption of alcohol might not be as drastic as some others, but she doesn’t know when she’s had enough. When Allie continually consumes alcohol, she becomes belligerent, mean, and Mrs. Hyde. Craig has tried to talk to Allie about how much she consumes, but she reacts the same way every time: she becomes defensive, proclaiming she doesn’t have a problem, and then points the finger at Craig. He begs her to lighten up on the alcohol, but she doesn’t. She even takes offense to some of these suggestions. So their relationship continues down the same path it has for the previous couple of years: continual arguing compounded with great make-up sex. Or so I’m told. And believe me when I say that both Craig and Allie are completely open about their sex life and sharing it with others. Hence, why they don’t mind me using them as points in articles.

For another example, I’m going to let you into my life for a moment. I like alcohol, probably a little more than it really likes me. I’ve drank too much before, and M usually gets pretty aggravated with me for doing so. Like Craig told Allie, M tells me that my attitude completely changes. He states that I don’t become mean or anything, just loud, hyper, and flirtatious. He then calms me down by saying that I don’t flirt with anybody other than him, but it’s like I lose all control of what decible level I’m speaking on, and he can’t calm me down when it’s necessary. When M first told me this, I reacted in much the same way Allie did. Then, during Ladies’ Night at the Veranda in June of 2007, I had drank way too much wine, got behind the wheel of a car, and drove home: something I always had sworn I would never do. Thankfully, I made it home fine that night without hurting myself, the car, or more importantly anyone else. The next morning, I was laying in bed when M came into the room and was talking to me about what had happened the night before. As I sat there, tears filled my eyes, and all I could think about was I could have killed somebody. It was right then and there that M told me he needed me to back my drinking off or else something was going to change between us. Drastic? Maybe, but it’s exactly what I needed. Unlike Craig and Allie’s relationship which seems to thrive on confrontations, mine and M’s doesn’t, and unfortunately, the alcohol was giving our relationship exactly what it didn’t need.

M and I are still together obviously, which means that I have backed off the alcohol to a limit of two on nights we go out to dinner. And with the economy the way it is, for most weeks, that night never comes, but I’m okay with that now. Relationships are hard enough without adding to them. Some may say that alcohol is something so inconsequential that it shouldn’t be a problem in a relationship, and if one ends due to that problem then there was obviously something more going on behind the scenes. Now, I’m not saying if your someone has a problem with alcohol that you should leave them (unless the alcohol has caused abuse of any shape or form). What I am saying is that alcohol can alter someone’s personality, and like the two examples I have provided for you, that change is not always for the better. So what do you?

Talk to your someone; sit them down and calmly, without getting angry, tell them how it makes you feel. Explain what it’s doing to you and to the relationship. If you’re comfortable with the alcohol then I suppose you are one step closer to achieving the ability to love unconditionally. If you are not comfortable with it, then be honest about it. Alcohol is one problem in a relationship that is usually compounded by a few others: dishonesty (on both sides) and a lack of ability to talk about the issues each are facing. Sometimes just hearing how someone truly feels about things is enough to make that person want to stop drinking. Remember though, there are situations when the person can’t stop drinking on his/her own. Here is where you being strong enough to intervene can really come in to play.

While saying all this, I must add that alcoholics, people who are truly addicted to alcohol and cannot go a day without their beverage of choice, usually cannot do it on their own. If you’re their special someone, help them. Get involved in AA, they even have meetings online now. But remember–an alcoholic will not change unless they are willing to understand that there is a problem and that they need help. The change has to start with them, but if someone they love is explaining how much it hurts them, maybe it might be enough to instigate that decision.

source: The Examiner

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