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Looking for advice and to understand more about alcoholism

I'm not really sure where to start because I don't know how to feel. Basically, I found out yesterday that my long distance boyfriend is now in AA. A bit of background history: he is American, we met when I was studying there and fell in love.
We have been dating for 8 months, 3 of which have been long distance, and before I came back home we were living together for 3 months. He has a history with depression, anxiety and PTSD, as well as a bad experience with long distance relationships. Basically lately we have been fighting a lot and I have been putting a lot of pressure on him for us to decide what we are going to do in the future like long term.

He has repeatedly told me that the distance part of our relationship is very overwhelming for him and is affecting his health - mine too. Yesterday, he told me he is now in AA because his drinking has been out of control, and we decided to take a break because he needs some time to focus on healing. He said he can't do distance anymore, and honestly neither can I. But he also said to me that he still wants to be with me, he just needs to get better. 

I feel really bad about putting more pressure on him. I wish I had known what he was going through because I would have done things differently.

I guess we're both really hurting right now, and my heart hurts for him. I just want to be there for him and support him. I guess what I'm asking is for advice dating someone who is healing. Should I fly over there for a couple of weeks and be with him? Should I cut off communication completely and wait til he contacts me? I want to know more about it but I don't know where to go and I've never been in a situation like this.

I love him with all my heart and when we are together we are so so happy, I guess the only real issue we have is the distance. He was doing so well mental health wise when we were together in the same place. I just want him to be okay. I want to help if I can. But I'm not sure what is best right now.

Re: Looking for advice and to understand more about alcoholism

Hey there @nelly212, welcome to the forum! 


Thanks for reaching about this- its really clear to me reading your post just how much you care about your partner and his wellbeing - and how much you want to do the right thing for you both. Heart

Mental health issues, and addiction are really tough gigs for your boyfriend to be dealing with - but it sounds like he is actively trying to recovery by engaging with supports, and taking actions to priortise his own needs - that's really great! 

Your questions about how to best support him are really good ones! I think the best thing for you to do would be to ask him outright what he needs at the moment, and make it clear that whatever he says is fine - if it's having a break from the relationship so he can focus on recover, then you may need to accept that. Or if it's a different form of relationship with different boundless - that's an option too - you will need to work these out to be fair for you both. 
 It's really important that are also looking after yourself - supporting someone with alcoholism can be a very emotional and confusing experience, and you'll need to be topping up your own energy, and spend time prioritising your own needs.

What supports do you have for yourself ? 

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Re: Looking for advice and to understand more about alcoholism

@nelly212 One more thing - In  terms of information around alcoholism, you could call the FDS support line and chat more to them as they specialise in supporting family members, or other loved ones, of those with an addiction or substance problem - their number is 1300 368 186


Please let us know how you are and how it goes if you call Heart

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Re: Looking for advice and to understand more about alcoholism

Hey @nelly212,


I'm sorry that you're going through such a tough time with someone you love, speaking from experience, I know how hard it is to watch someone you care about suffer with mental health issues and addiction.


I agree that you should talk to him about what he wants or needs right now, and he knows that you support his decision. He likely knows that you're hurting too and will be feeling guilt on top of everything else about hurting you so if he pulls away, that could be why. You clearly care about him a great deal and as long as you keep telling him that, he will hopefully be able to accept it.


I spent a long time with someone who had similar issues and if I could do one thing differently it would be to take better care of myself. I ran myself into the ground not sleeping well, taking his calls at all hours and trying to balance my other responsibilities that I did a lot of damage to my own mental health and my body. As much as caring about him is, a little separation in order to keep yourself from harm is just as, if not more, important. 


I hope you're doing OK. Sending love x