Dear Annie: I’ve been dating my girlfriend for four years, and she’s almost perfect. She has only one flaw: She rarely drinks, but when she does, she becomes verbally abusive and physically destructive. The following morning, I always get blamed for her being so drunk and not stopping her, but every time I try to stop her, she just drinks more.
This happens roughly every other month. The rest of the time she’s awesome, fun and supportive, and I love being around her. But when she drinks, she becomes another person.
I don’t think she’s an alcoholic, but I don’t know what she is. Is there anything I can do? I love her. I just don’t know if I can stand any more heartache. Should I let her go?
-- Bewildered Boyfriend
Dear Bewildered: Probably. Part of the problem is that she’s a nasty binge drinker. But the rest is that she refuses to take responsibility for her behavior and blames you for her lack of control. She may be awesome when she’s sober, but this type of drinking rarely gets better without effort. Would she seek help (and do the work) if you told her it was make-or-break for the relationship? If she isn’t willing to talk to her doctor, attend AA meetings or find other support and/or therapy groups for problem drinkers, she isn’t as wonderful as you think.
Dear Annie: Like “Brokenhearted Mom,” I, too, kicked my son out of the house, although he was 17, not 21. I basically raised him alone since he was 3. We had a tumultuous relationship, he was into drugs and alcohol like his father, and I just couldn’t take it anymore.
He stumbled through life, eventually moving to a city 90 miles away. We maintained contact for a while, and then he dropped out of my life for a year. He would not answer any of my texts or calls. The only thing that kept me sane was the thought that if something terrible happened, the police would notify me.
My son finally contacted me when he hit bottom from a gambling addiction (on top of everything else). He asked to come home for a bit to get back on track, and I let him. That was five years ago. He is now 26 and still not where I would like him to be, but he is working and self-sufficient, and happier and more satisfied with his life. The best part is, we have a relationship again and often tell each other “I love you” — something I had wondered whether he felt for me.
I just want to tell “Brokenhearted” to keep the contact via text, voicemails, whatever. Don’t ever give up on your son. Someday he will need you and want you back in his life.
-- Blessed Mom
Dear Blessed: We are so glad things worked out between you and your son, and we appreciate your words of hope. Some addictions are too difficult to overcome, however, and parents must learn to accept that which they cannot change. We hope you know how fortunate you are.
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