The most expedient solution for your concern when you’re dating an alcoholic is to get away as quickly and cleanly as possible. Of course, it isn’t always that simple.
There are often feelings of concern and misplaced affection where the non-addicted woman (or man) believes the problem can be solved by loving care and loyalty. Unfortunately, that overdone sentimentality is usually of no help at all. Worse, it becomes a total waste of time and affection to have any possibility of success.
Alcoholism is a disease, both of body and mind, and for a concerned sober loved one, it becomes an unnecessary obsession that is, unfortunately, nearly always doomed to failure. Naturally, when you refuse to make a quick end to the relationship, there can be extenuating circumstances to consider when you may opt to continue seeing the alcoholic.
Whatever your personal decision, you must keep an open mind and consider the effect it will have on your life. Some reasons for alcholism that may be worth your consideration:
1. The reasons for the alcoholism are specifically medical and may respond to treatment. Some alcoholism is a physical addiction, as are other drugs. With proper treatment, the addiction may have a chance of remission.
2. The illness may be the result of combat. Now called combat stress reaction (CSR), was described as shell shock in World War I and battle fatigue in WWII. This condition could result from being in actual war dangers, as well as what often happens to city police or fire officers who live with extreme stress every day.
Victims may seek relief from the painful memories in heavy drinking, which too often results in habitual alcoholism. Given adequate treatment and time, there is hope for recovery and a possibility to resume your relationship.
3. A history of heavy drinking, along with the abuse of the children by the victim’s parents, may have led to a grown-up child’s continuing the destructive tradition. Some theories are that children of alcoholics are likely to have a physical predisposition to uncontrolled drinking.
If you’re dating someone with this affliction, the problem is probably too ingrained for you to do anything about it. Your best course, for your peace of mind, is to end the relationship as soon as you can.
4. If your alcoholic friend is making serious attempts to cure the condition, such as being enrolled in Alcoholics Anonymous, there may be hope for continuing your relationship. Before you decide, make sure the cure will be permanent. It isn’t wise to go through periods of hope and despair, then realize frequent backsliding is having a very negative effect on you.
In the end, you must realize you have a life of your own and you won’t throw it away on a hopeless cause.
When you date an alcoholic, chances are very likely that the problem will affect your own life in many negative ways. You can opt to invest some of your time trying to help. However, you must set a definite limit on how much of your life and sympathy you’re willing to invest in the relationship.