Post # 1
My current boyfriend is the best relationship Ive ever been in and we share many pf the same and important values but I am struggling with dealing with his drinking. He’sjust turns into a completely different person that I hate dealing with when drunk. Its like he starts drinking and becomes a drunk frat boy and he’s too old to be acting like this now.
I’m a very chill person in general and when I drink I just want to relax and have a slow evening but he’s the complete opposite. He starts drinking and starts playing up tempo loud music. Alcohol energizes him and he needs to burn off the energy. At the end of a long week I would like to relax and hangout but he’s hyper and wants to run around and listen to loud music and talk and be loud. We have neighbors and I worry that the music bothers them but when I try to turn the music down or change it he gets childlike and pouts.
Recently his behavior has taken a different turn though, after he came home drunk one night he screamed at me and then took his pillow and blanket to the living room and cried until he passed out. Occasionally when he’s drunk he’s been overly aggressive with objects around our house. Like if a drawer won’t close because something is blocking it he will slam the drawer open and closed until it fully opens. Its destructive and careless and drives me absolutely crazy.
He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder years ago but never sought treatment for it because he doesn’t want to be influenced by or dependent on pills. The drinking makes the bipolar symptoms worse and makes me not want to be around him because his mood can go from happy and upbeat to sour and difficult so quickly. At the end of a long week he’s the person I want to be around but I don’t want to drink because that will encourage him to drink and my night will go from fun and chill to navigating a potential minefield between him slamming drawers open and closed, blasting loud music, having a bipolar mood swing, and being overall too high energy for me. He’s started drinking on his own too now, its never a blackout drunk amount of alcohol but any amount of alcohol in his system thats more than a beer or two is annoying to deal with. I would say he drinks about once, maybe twice a week and drinks about a 6 pack at a time. Sometimes more but usually once or twice a week. Alcohol causes so many problems for him too. He complains that he’s overweight and has a beer belly (he doesn’t, just dad bod), he complains that he’s broke and has no money but somehow still has money to buy craft beer.
He has friends/relatives with alcohol problems and will talk about how “alcohol” just isn’t meant for so and so and has no problem talking about how other people shouldn’t drink and alcohol isn’t meant for them but will not apply the same logic to himself.
I’m not sure what to do but if anyone has been in a similar situation I’d really appreciate the advice. Thanks
Post # 2
Yes, absolutly he has a problem. And I would not at all be surprised if his problems with alochol are linked to his untreated bipolar disorder. Is he at least seeing a psychiatrist?
I would be very worried about the drinking and the untreated bipolar. But focusing on the alcohol – have you talked to him about how you feel? How does he respond? I would be encouraging him to seek help.
Post # 3
I second @hikingbride ‘s words. He has a problem, with both the alcohol and his bipolar disorder. If he is unwilling to get help because he would much rather become co-dependent of alcohol than pills (which is a really stupid way of thinking), then I would advice you to seriously reconsider this relationship.
By your post it seems you’ve tried and failed to talk with him. I don’t think you’ll make him change, and his behavior could become more and more harmful as he ages.
Post # 4
jenniferbee : you don’t need permission or for him to have a problem with alcohol, although it sounds like he does – at the very least he’s self-medicating, to decide this isn’t how you want to live.
you have a right to feel safe and calm in your own home.
If he chooses not to deal with his mental health challenges, that is his choice but he can’t force you to accept it.
you have a right to be happy. This isn’t going to get better until/unless he takes real and lasting steps to manage his bipolar. He has to take responsibility for himself.
Post # 5
I grew up with an alcoholic mother that was very abusive. She had the crazy mood swings as described above. It was the most traumatic thing I have ever lived through. I walked on eggshells for most of my adolescence because I never knew whether I would get the happy drunk or the angry drunk. I suspect she also has mental health issues like your bf but either wasn’t diagnosed or she purposely never medicated. Her behaviour spiralled and got progressively worse over the years until she began threatening my life and chased me down the street with a knife. He is only your bf and not your husband. I would personally dump him and move on as he likely won’t change and will probably get worse.
Post # 6
hikingbride : He just gets kind of sad and mopey when I’ve talked to him about it
Post # 7
jenniferbee : alcohol and manic people should not co-exist. It just turns up their chaos to 11. He needs to seek medical help for his mental disorder and lay off substances that he can abuse.
Post # 8
If he had cancer would he refuse treatment because he didn’t want to be dependent on something? Bipolar disorder is serious, try googling bipolar relationship forums…. Scary. My ex-best friend has it and she’s medicated. I couldn’t take it anymore and don’t even care I’m thought of as the bad guy for ending it, it was that bad. I miss her so much sometimes but I can’t risk the consequences of being her friend anymore.
Alcoholism is a different beast. By the time I see them as patients they are lonely, bitter, angry people. If he doesn’t get help you need to leave to protect yourself.
Post # 9
I have bipolar disorder, as does my grandma, my uncle, my cousin, and one of my siblings.
What you are describing does not sound like the symptoms of bipolar disorder. It sounds like an angry, moody drunk.
I’m not saying your Boyfriend or Best Friend isn’t bipolar. But this doesn’t sound like depression to mania. This doesn’t sound like rapid cycling either. This just sounds like somebody self medicating with alcohol.
How long have you been together? Some people take a few years to go through a cycle of mania.
In my unprofessional opinion, his bipolar disorder is not the problem. The problem is the drinking and impulse control.
Of course if he refuses treatment for his disorder that comes with it’s own challenges.
Either way I think he’s drinking too much and acting aggressive. I would reconsider if you want to put up with his childish behavior for the long term. Good luck.
Post # 10
I don’t think drinking once a week is a problem, but his behavior while drunk is definitely an issue that should be dealt with. The fact that he drinks regularly and behaves this way every time is where the problem comes in… how aware do you think he is of this behavior? Have you ever brought this up with him?
A lot of times things that are not dealt with in our sober lives break through when we’re under the influence of something or other. My ex used to be totally kind and put together when sober, but would get super dark and a total mess when drunk. I came to realize that dark stuff was always there, he just lacked the ability and/or desire to hold it back when drunk. No matter how much his sober self told me otherwise, he was deeply unhappy.
Sorry bee, this needs to be addressed. Good luck!
Post # 11
Our marriage guidance counsellor told my exhusband that if alcohol was causing difficulties in our marriage then he had a drink problem.It couldn’t be cured because he didn’t want to accept that there was anything wrong with him.
Get out of this relationship while you still can. It is so much harder when you are married with children.
Post # 12
I’ve been a very functional alcoholic for approximately 8 years–and your boyfriend’s behavior worries ME.
Given that you say he drinks once or twice a week but does so with a six-pack at a time, I’d say he’s particularly a “binge drinker.” They don’t drink every day (as I do with my wine every evening), but WHEN they drink, they can’t stop. This is bad; his behavior while drunk is dangerous; and, yes, you should be concerned.
Post # 13
Alcohol use is having a negative impact on his life in at least one respect—his relationship with you. That’s a clear symptom of addiction.
Then there is the bipolar disorder. It typically responds well to treatment with the correct medication. Life with an untreated bipolar is the stuff nightmares are made of. He absolutely needs to get proper treatment for the bipolar. For me, that would be non negotiable. There is not a chance in hell I would put myself through the misery of trying to have a relationship with a bipolar who refused treatment.
Talking to your bf about his drinking will be utterly pointless. It’s past the point where he could quit via will power alone, if he even wanted to. He’s self-medicating.
If you really care about this guy, I’d draw a firm line in the sand. He gets treatment for his bipolar and alcohol abuse or you’re gone. To do this, you must be fully prepared to follow through.
Post # 14
Alcohol abuse and untreated bipolar? Girl, run. No matter how great he is in every other way. Been there done that. It just gets worse.
Or at least lay down an ultimatum that he deals with his issues head on (treatment, medication) if you two are going to stay together.
Post # 15
jenniferbee : I’m honestly worried that if this is his behavior now is it going to escalate?