If Drinking is An Issue In Your Relationship: Check-in w/ Yourself

If Drinking is An Issue In Your Relationship: Check-in w/ Yourself

I had a problem when my girlfriend drank too much.

That statement is so open-ended, it’s not very helpful. How much is too much? What’s MY problem with their drinking? And even if the statement is true, “Who cares?” What I think is not very important when it comes to other people’s drinking habits. However, if we are in a relationship and drinking continues to become a topic of negotiation and conflict, we might both need to take a time-out and reconsider our objections.

Daily Drinking, Day Drinking, and Identifying My Issues

When I was dating a daily drinker, I had some issues that were mine alone:

  • Not everyone that drinks is an alcoholic (this is my legacy after growing up in an alcoholic home – I’m never quite clear on what is too much and what is none of my business)
  • Because of my historical relationship with drinking and drinkers, I was unable to distinguish between my then-girlfriend’s casual drinking and potential problem drinking
  • How I am affected, how I feel, about someone else’s drinking, if we are in a relationship, becomes an issue when we don’t agree about their drinking and how it might be hurting our relationship
  • I can drink and stop after one without any problems and so could my then-girlfriend, but frequently she would not stop at drink number three or even four – often she would continue drinking to the point of slurred speech and impaired functioning.

And some of the issues were clearly my then-girlfriend’s responsibility:

  • She rarely went 24 hours without having a drink or two
  • While she was super high-functioning, her emotional availability was mostly limited to the morning and early afternoon hours
  • She once said as we were about a year into dating, “You will probably save my life, because you don’t drink with me.”
  • When she chose to cut loose, she occasionally drank to incoherence

Is My Girlfriend an Alcoholic?

That’s not really for me to say. I am not a doctor. I am not a therapist. What I did learn over time: her drinking was taking a hefty toll on my emotional and spiritual livelihood.

[read the rest of the story in The Third Glass –  Available Now on Amazon.]


The Third Glass - By John Oakley McElhenney

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