Dear Friend: An Open Letter About My Alcoholic Boyfriend
My significant other is an out of work, depressed alcoholic.
It's Friday night right now. Like other Friday nights, when I got home from work today, he was already passed out drunk. In about an hour, he will stumble out of bed, into the kitchen looking for food and shovel it into his mouth. Afterwards he might stumble back into bed and not show his face for another few hours, at which point I will have already called it a night. Or he may wander around the apartment ranting about anything from Rob Ford to how he doesn't like a bunny that lives in the park beside our apartment.
He has never physically hurt me when he's drunk. He will never physically hurt me. He knows that his drinking is why I needed to take a leave of absence from work. And over the past year, he has improved so much. But every Friday night ends up the same, and they still leave me exhausted.
On Fridays I don't want the workday to end. Instead of having a partner to spend my evening with, I am babysitting someone who is sometimes so far gone that he can't even stand up on his own to get to the bathroom.
I don't want your pity. I don't want your judgement. I don't want you to magically try to fix things. I just want you to listen to me when I need someone to talk to.
And please, don't try to give me advice because I can assure you that I have heard a hundred times before.
Don't tell me I’m being an enabler. I'm not. He is fully responsible for what he does and he knows that he has to dig himself out of any trouble he gets himself into. I do not buy him alcohol and I do not make excuses for him. He has had plenty embarrassing situations when he has had to deal with the aftermath of his alcoholism. He will continue to deal with them.
Don't tell me to break up with him. He's not a bad person, but he is sick. He has stuck with me through my worst times; I will stick by him through his worst. And we will get through this.
Don't tell me it's not a problem because he has always been this way. Either you don't see the same side of him that I see, or he always had a problem and you never noticed it.
Don't tell me I should make him get help. You can't force help on someone. Like anyone dealing with depression or anxiety, an alcoholic won't accept help until they are ready for it. You cannot force it on them.
And for the love of all things good and wonderful in life, if he decides not to drink at a social event, do not say he’s being a stick in the mud.
I appreciate your concern. I really do. But sometimes I just need someone to listen to me and understand.