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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  I have a doctoral degree in psychology and have a history of providing couple's and family therapy.
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I recently got into a serious relationship with a woman whom

Customer Question

Hello, I recently got into a serious relationship with a woman whom I feel like is my soul mate, she's said the same about me several times. I've never met anyone like her or felt this way about anyone. I'm 28 and she is 36, we are engaged and living together
after only 4 months. We are very good with communication and compromising when issues come up that it never really bothers us. There is however one problem that we can not work on no matter what we try, we've seen a counselor together, tried multiple compromises
and nothing works. The issue is I believe her to be an alcoholic, when we started dating I did not realize her alcohol intake was a common thing until we lived together. It seems like she always has to be drinking and tends to get drunk occasionally. She can
not admit that she has a drinking problem nor thinks that she does. Some of her close friends have spoken to me about it and themselves have called her an alcoholic (only to me). As I understand it her friends don't talk to her about it as they worry she will
cut them off and not speak to them. She's told me that in past relationships she would just leave the person that had a problem with her drinking, but with me has already felt she's made compromises because she does not want to leave me. Her intakes change
based on a few factors. Firstly, she is a nurse working on average 3 nights a week, 12 hour night shifts, 7pm-7am, I work M-F standard 8am-5pm. Now, if it is the weekend and we are spending time together she will normally try to lower the amount she drinks
to about 4-8 beers per day. If it is the weekday and she doesn't have to work, while I am at work, she tends to drink more beer and liquor I don't have numbers, I only know when I get home if she was drinking by the remains or if she was drunk texting/calling
me at work. If it is the weekday and she works that night (7pm-7am night shift) she tends to drink before going to sleep which the amount can vary. While I can respect that she has felt that she has made compromises, I still struggle with accepting the amount
of drinking. I have thrown an ultimatum at her to choose the alcohol or me, she choose me but still refuses to give up drinking. I'm emotionally drained from the arguing about alcohol, stressed out, anxious, and depressed that this might end us. Is there anything
I can do to change her mindset to show her that she does have a problem? Is there anything else I can do in general to help us get past this issue? Also, she refuses to go back to any counselor and will not try an AA meeting.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 2 years ago.

*This website DOES NOT constitute treatment and only provides information and advice. For treatment (therapy and/or medications) you must go to a licensed professional in your area.

Hello, I am very sorry that you are having this issue with your partner, I can understand why you are concerned about her alcohol use. Unfortunately because she refuses to acknowledge that she has a problem with alcohol and will not truly put forth the effort into treatment there is very little you can do to help her as she has to be the one to help herself. You can say everything right and make the most logical argument on why you believe she has an Alcohol Use Disorder, but only she can make the decision to acknowledge that this is an issue and to truly seek treatment for it as well. Because she does not really believe that she had a problem with alcohol, most likely she never saw the point in treatment and that is why it was no effective...I mean who would change themselves or their habits if they do not believe them to be wrong or an issue. So while I know you want to help this woman with her alcohol uses, I am afraid there is little you can do for her if she will not help herself. You are the only person in control of your actions and behaviors, and she is the only person in control of her actions and behaviors which is why she is the one that must choose and push forward with treatment if she is going to change.

There are only two ways right now to get past this issue, and one is that you either have to accept her drinking as part of her identity right now because she is refusing to make any more concessions on this issue. Or you may want to consider taking a break from her, which either could be the "wake up call" she needs to realize she has an alcohol use disorder or it will give you the chance to move forward from this woman, albeit painfully, because of her unhealthy habit.

I know this is not exactly what you wanted to hear, but only your partner is responsible for her own actions and only she can decide when her alcohol use is a problem that she must seek treatment for. If she does not recognize this as a problem than her drinking most likely will continue and may even worsen over time. Your decision is if you want to stay in a relationship like this or if you want to end the relationship because you feel this is unhealthy, that is within your realm of control.

I hope this answers your questions and gives you some guidance on this issue. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns as I am happy to assist and support you regarding this issue.