Relationships, Alcohol and Children
anonymous Asks ...
There is someone in my life who is a very good person who is probably an alcoholic. He is not violent or abusing in any way. But he will fall asleep drunk on the sofa many nights of the week and sometimes my 3 year old will be the one to find him there in the morning. I do not know what I am getting myself into but one area of concern that I have is how this may impact my children. My children are 1 and 3 currently. At what age would having a live-in person who drinks start to be a bad example that they would remember?
Loren Gelberg-Goff Says ...
It's very good that you are aware and asking now and not waiting any longer. If you believe that the significant other in your life is an alcoholic the the issue needs to be addressed sooner rather than later! Alcoholism doesn't ease up over time; it gets worse and behaviors related to it become exacerbated! It is imperative that you look at your relationship and the qualities it has that are beneficial to you, your life and the life of your children. There are reasons people drink, and when they drink to excess, it is generally to avoid dealing with life issues, feelings, stresses, etc. What are the reasons your boyfriend is choosing to drink?
There are resources available that I strongly recommend you seek out... Al-Anon is a great beginning step as there are many meetings in most locales, so you should be able to find one near you. Additionally, it would be beneficial for you and your significant other to go to counseling... both individually and as a couple. If this relationship is going to survive, you must be able to communicate openly, honestly and with clarity about your needs, feelings, hopes, plans and goals for yourselves and your lives. I do not know where you live, there are many ways to locate a therapist near you or even on-line, but I strongly recommend that counseling be a number 1 priority.
If you are questioning "what am I getting myself into" then it tells me you already have some doubts, fears and uncertainties about your relationship and this person. When we have doubts early on in a relationship, PLEASE pay attention to them and do NOT ignore your gut feelings. Children remember things from very early on and if there is unusual behavior that you are concerned about, then trust that it is behavior your children (esp. your 3 yr. old) are noticing and it is never a good idea to have to be making excuses for someone's behavior who you hope they will be looking up to and who will be a role model.
While this man may be wonderful in many regards, it's imperative that you deal with the issues you are seeing and experiencing now. Clearly because you are asking the questions, you don't want to wait, so please take the first step and seek counseling, guidance and support before you make this relationship even more involved for you or your children.
If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact me: [email protected]
I wish you a loving, respectful and compassionate relationship and one that will empower and enhance your life and the lives of your children.