My boyfriend of a year got a DUI this weekend and has had drinking problems in the past. He fully admits he is an alcoholic, and will do therapy/go to AA moving forward. My therapist suggested I be a “computer program running in the background” and essentially leave him to allow him to work on himself. This is obviously a really hard decision, and I feel like I should listen to my therapist, but my heart is pulling me the other way. Anyone else been through something similar or have advice?

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My husband is an alcoholic and that impacts me 100%. Leaving him is the easiest way for sure. If you want invest your time and mental health because you do love him: the best thing so far for me has been al Anon (also recommended by three different therapists).

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Hi OP, and thank you for your post. My experience, as a recovering alcoholic (through AA, which has been amazing), is that therapy only prolonged my suffering (granted, none of my therapists were recovering alcoholics, so they could never know what I was experiencing, and in turn could not offer the help that I needed). Therapy might help a non-alcoholic who has some issues with drinking, but a real alcoholic has a different affliction (at least I know I do).

Every relationship situation is unique and has its own nuances, so I’ll just share what I’ve seen and heard. In general, there’s nothing you can do to get him to recover if he doesn’t have the willingness to try and an honest desire to stop (or at least the ability to be open-minded when attending AA meetings, if he chooses to go). Al Anon is the partner organization to AA, and Al Anon is a 12 step program designed for friends and family members (and girl friends) of alcoholics.

You might say to yourself, “he’s the alcoholic, why do I need to go to meetings too?”, and the answer is that alcoholism impacts everyone in the life of an alcoholic in such a way that everyone ends up with their own disease. In the case of the significant other , the disease is that of control.

We want to control the drinker; we want them to drink less or not at all. We want them to not be a hung over mess. We want them to not embarrass us or needlessly spend money. We want to control all those things, and after a long enough time of trying to control an alcoholic, the significant other gets just as sick.

I went to a few Al Anon meetings (I mainly go to AA, typically 3-7 times a week). It might be worth checking it out to see if anything resonates. I find all 12 step programs amazing!

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Phew…I had wildly different reactions to your first and second graph. 1st: I have been I regular therapy with someone who specializes in addiction and recovery (very important distinction to your point) and I can’t not recommend it more. It’s been as important as AA and healthy lifestyle changes. OP…I would always recommend paying close attention to the guidance of a great therapist.

2nd paragraph: this is by far the most important and misunderstood aspect IMO. I was an alcoholic in a loving family. I have an incredible daughter and my wife would always say “why won’t you just stop for us…you have so much to live for.” She took it personally. Until the addict internalizes that they must change, that nothing is more important to them than to change (not even the outcome) they have no chance of hearing the advice of their loved ones.

Good luck!!!

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