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Am I Making Assumptions About His Drinking?

by Violet
(Santa Fe, New Mexico )


My name is Violet. I'm 23 yrs. old and I'm wondering what I should do in now knowing that Jamie, my 26 yr. old boyfriend of five years, is in the early stages of alcohol addiction.

His father was an abusive alcoholic, and Jamie's mother (still married to father) and I are incredibly close. Today, I confided with her my fears.

We moved to New Mexico three years ago, knowing no one, and since then, Jamie has become best friends with one of his co-workers, who he admits to be an alcoholic. They've been going to the bar together semi-frequently for years, but in the past few months, an obvious shift has occurred. Or at least I think it's obvious.

Jamie used to go to the bar maybe only once every other week. Frequency has increased, and now, he accompanies his co-worker an average of once or twice a week. He then returns home (we've lived together for 3 yrs.) as I'm getting back from work. On days he's only had a beer or two, things are always fine. On days where he's had three or more, it's a coin toss. When drinking heavily, he's so easily angered.

I love Jamie more than anyone or anything; we're high school sweethearts that have grown into adulthood together. He's caring, supportive, smart, and I've watched him become someone I truly admire and respect for so many reasons.

But these sudden mood shifts have been happening more frequently. Today, after he had already been out drinking with his co-workers for two and a half hours (who knows how much he had had - he claimed two beers), he calls me at 5:30pm to let me know he was headed to the bar. It's Friday, and I asked him about packing for the getaway trip we had planned for this weekend, as well as mentioned the need to make dinner.

"It'll only take 30 minutes to pack." I disagreed, as we needed to go to the grocery store and didn't yet have a single thing in the car. Sudden mood shift. "You always think you do everything and treat me like I do nothing, when I do so much you don't see or notice. I cleaned the last three days while you worked late." I told him that we're a team; we do things for each other when the other has to attend to other priorities. Going out drinking with buddies isn't the same as working late.

He became angrier. I told him not to come home if he were doing so begrudgingly, and that we could just cancel our trip. I didn't raise my voice; I said this factually and calmly, because at that point, it wasn't of interest.

He came home and began furiously packing, and I flat told him I no longer wanted to go on this trip. More anger ensues, and I choose to leave.

I called his mother and drove the area in circles; for the first time, I shared with her my fears that Jamie's drinking was causing issues in our relationship. While on the phone with her, Jamie called 13 times, and texted me multiple times. In one message, he told me, "I'm done if you don't pick up. This is BS because you demanded me to come home and you're not even here." I feel that I clearly, calmly stated he could go to the bar if being home was resented.

After getting off the phone with his mother half an hour later, I called Jamie back. He didn't pick up. I drove home, and he's taken my car. I assume he's at the bar with his co-workers, and I'm worried that later, he'll drive home (even more) drunk.

This whole week, we've been going through the process of purchasing a home. The offer letter is in my email inbox. I'm now unsure if this is the right decision. I read an article on this site about Early Signs of Alcoholism, and I can check off nearly all the boxes. I'm heartbroken because I fear to receive a response confirming Jamie's addiction, or developing addiction.

Honestly, I'm confident that is the case. But my question is, What do I do now that I know there's an issue? Should I confront him personally?

His mother has stayed with Jamie's father for over 30 years. But in the wake of their divorce, I've heard of her regrets, sadness, and the fear and anxiety she lived through for so long. I love Jamie, but I'd never want to live that way.

I don't want to look back and remember these signs, but then choose to move forward with our relationship anyway. What about the house we were about to put an offer on? What about everything we've dreamed of, and the history we have?

I don't want to leave him. I want him to stop being this person, but I don't know how to approach this. I've mentioned my concerns in the past, and although he'd slow down the pace at times, he hasn't stopped. And the frequency makes me think it may be getting worse.

Please advise, and thank you for reading and helping me through this.

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Jun 25, 2019
Your Assumptions Seem Correct
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hi Violet, and thanks for telling your story here, so that others might benefit.

As sad as this is for you, I think you're wise to be taking a close look at this now, before buying a home together, and other big decisions.

Unfortunately, there really isn't much you can do, that you have not already done. The next step has to come from him.

I strongly encourage you to attend a local ALANON meeting, where you will find people in similar situations to yours, who will be able to offer support.

Your job is simply to take care of yourself, as you did when you chose not to go on that trip. I know this is hard, because of how much you love him, but to stay in an abusive relationship is actually the opposite of love.

His addiction is his, 100%. Please do not take any responsibility for his alcoholism or his recovery. Just love him in your heart, hope and pray for the best for him, and focus on your top priority of caring for yourself.

I hope this helps you, Violet.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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