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Cathy, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1436
Experience:  Ms, MS.Ed., thirty years clinical practice
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I am 64. My girlfriend is 53. She is an alcoholic and doesnt

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I am 64. My girlfriend is 53. She is an alcoholic and doesn't believe she has a problem. I have been going to Al Anon meetings which helps in a small way. I love her and don't want to give up on the relationship, but she is a mean drunk. I don't know what to do.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Cathy replied 5 years ago.
Hi and thanks for writing JA, It is often hard for alcoholics to access help because there remains so much stigma and ignorance about the illness.

You can tell your girlfriend that six years ago we identified the gene for alcoholism and we now know this is not a willpower thing. You can download this article and show it to her.

This should help a bit. She needs to know that it is not her fault that she has the illness.

You can also tell her that most treatment programs fail miserably in treating alcoholism. It is in fact the only illness (including addiction) where for years we blamed the patient for not getting better instead of looking at our own treatment methods to figure out what WE were doing wrong. Yep, arrogant health professionals that we are, we just always blamed our addicts and alcoholics for not wanting to give up drinking or drugs. and we were wrong.

Alcoholism is now one of the most easily treated illnesses there are. She needs medicine to help with her brain chemistry and so that she can feel normal when she is not drinking. She needs some not stigmatizing support to get well and she really just needs to educate herself as best she can about this.

Yes, she can feel joy in sobriety and yes if she gets well now there does and will come a time when she never even thinks about drinking again.

Okay, let me share with you two things?

The first is a great book she can check out from the local public library that will help her to feel so much better and yes she can continue to drink while she reads the book although she will probably want to stop drinking by the time she finishes it

While the book title suggests that addiction can be cured by nutrition that is not the reason I am recommending it. The first five chapters that explain how one becomes alcoholic is what is valuable and here is that book title:

Finally I am going to send you a site from an organization that works with women with alcoholism in a much less blaming and punishing way than 12 step programs. The founder of this program was an alcoholic who had lived experience of the illness and much wisdom and compassion.

Okay give these resources a read and thank you for caring for her so compassionately and well. Most men leave women who are alcoholic (about 12 per cent stay) while most women do not leave male alcoholics (about 75 percent stay) so I like hearing from Men like you who care enough to look for ways to make things work. Bless you and I hope she is better soon.
All my best,
Cathy and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
She gets very defensive when I bring up the topic of her drinking. Her father was an alcoholic. Thanks for a great reply.

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