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Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.

You can contact Dr. Frisch, Psy.D. at
(847) 498-5611.

Recover from chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series.


How to Confront a Friend or Loved One Who Has a Problem With Alcohol and Other Drugs

Dear Dr. Steve:

I’ve known my boyfriend now for about 5 years. Over the course of that time we’ve had our ups and downs but overall things have been pretty good. We’ve talked about getting married but there’s one thing that troubles me—his drinking. I think over the course of the last five years his drinking has become more and more of a problem. My mother was stuck in a marriage for thirty-five years with an alcoholic and I don’t want the same thing to happen me. How can I talk to my boyfriend about my concerns?

If you have concerns about your boyfriend’s drinking, I would encourage you to not ignore them or be talked out of them. It’s critical for your physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being that you trust yourself—trust what you’re seeing, trust what you’re thinking, and trust what you’re feeling!

As for talking to your boyfriend about your concerns, let me offer you the following suggestions.

1.) Do not put your conversation with him off until you find the perfect time. There is no perfect time to have a conversation with your boyfriend about his drinking and your concerns. Just remember, if your boyfriend does have a drinking problem, it will only get worse over time.

2.) Do not confront your boyfriend when he is drinking or drunk. Have the conversation with your boyfriend at a time and place that you feel emotionally, psychologically, and physically safe.

3.) Do not blame your boyfriend for his drinking problem. Alcoholism is a disease not a moral weakness.

4.) Do not threaten your boyfriend. Confront your boyfriend only with actions that you will take if his problems continue without him addressing those problems.

5.) Do not allow your boyfriend to change the subject or start blaming you or anybody else. Keep your conversation with him on point: 1.) His drinking, 2.) Your concerns about his drinking, 3.) The impact of his drinking on you and the consequences of his continued drinking as it relates to you and your relationship with him.

4.) Do not overwhelm your boyfriend with opinions and judgments about his drinking. Stick strictly to the facts, not your judgments or opinions, about his drinking. For example: a.) On such and such a day, you drank to excess, got behind the wheel of a car and put me at risk. When that happened, it made me feel…, b.) On such and such a day, you drank to excess and had an affair with the waitress at the bar. When that happened, it made me feel…, c.) On such and such a day, you drank to excess and slugged a security guard at the dance club. When that happened, it made me feel.

Whatever you ultimately decide to do, please make sure that you don’t neglect your emotional and spiritual well-being. Alcohol problems can adversely affect even the hardiest of people. This may sound counter-intuitive but taking care of yourself can be helpful for your boyfriend as well. I wish you luck!

To get more information about how to best cope with and confront your loved one’s use of alcohol and other drugs you can contact Alateen at Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.:

Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.
1600 Corporate Landing Parkway
Virginia Beach, Va. 23454
Tel # 757-563-1600
Fax # 757-563-1655
www.al-anon.alateen.org
1-888-425-2666 for meeting information
Monday-Friday, 8am to 6 pm ET except holidays


Recover from chemical dependency and its impact on family members. Raise your children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series—From Insanity to Serenity.

Pathfinder’s Checklist

1.) Don’t ignore what you see, feel, and believe about somebody’s drug and alcohol use
2.) Don’t minimize what you see, feel, and believe about somebody’s drug and alcohol use
3.) Remember that chemical dependency is a progressive disease. If you have your suspicions now about somebody’s drug and alcohol use, things will only get worse with time if your friend or loved one does have a problem
4.) Be clear about what you want to say to somebody whom you have concerns about their drug or alcohol use
5.) Be clear about what actions you will take if your friend or loved one continues to refuse to address their problem. Communicate that consequences in a calm, non-threatening way
6.) Speak only the facts as you know them. Do not inject opinion, judgment, or blame in to your conversation

G.B.U.

Steve



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