What do I do: I’ve just discovered my boyfriend abuses drugs and alcohol?


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Dear Stanton

My name is candy and my boyfriend told me last night that he has a drug and alcohol problem and then he broke up with me cause he said he doesnt want to bring me down. I want to help him but I don’t know what to do. Even though we arent together I told him I’d be here to talk to and to do whayever I could. what do I do? Is there anything I can do to help?


Dear Candy:

You can always help someone if you have a real relationship with them.

Your boyfriend telling you he has a drug and alcohol problem wasn’t revealing much about himself. If he wants to share, he needs to talk about his pain and his purpose. Why does he get intoxicated? When? How does he feel before, while, and after? How much does he want to change? He didn’t really let you into his life.

How long has he had this problem? Through how many other relationships? What happened in those, assuming they broke up, in part or largely due to his substance abuse? How long have the two of you been together? Is this the first inkling you had that anything was wrong?

If he isn’t willing to confront these things, then he doesn’t sound serious about changing. After all, saying that he is a substance abuser and that he realizes this is bad for your relationship leaves two possibilities — breaking up with you or trying to quit drugs and alcohol. He chose the former. He didn’t really let you into his life. You can’t take his pain on yourself without him genuinely opening up to you.

Best wishes,

Stanton Peele

Stanton Peele , recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts by The Fix, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

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