Addiction to Alcohol/break up...


QUESTION: I broke up with my boyfriend last Monday and am feeling very nervous and unsure of my decision.... he was sweet and loving  most of the time in our years of dating, but had a drinking problem on weekends and has a bad temper sometimes where he is a bully and mean. Is this normal?
Feel like I gave up on love...

  Thank you for your question.   Yes, it is normal, it is the process of grief workings its way through your heart, your mind and your soul.  It hurts and it is a nasty proposition but it is one of those things of life that just needs to happen.  You will survive.

   You do not say much about the length of your relationship or much about the specifics of the abusive bullying, but it is not important because you did share that this is hurtful to you.  And that is the important thing to know.  Addictions, and alcoholism is one of them, has a chief aim - and that is to destroy relationships.  It has done so in your case.  See, the addictive behavior becomes so blatant and so pervasive that the person under the influence can not recognize how their actions affect other people - particularly the ones that they love.

   Your boyfriend probably does have feelings for you but they are not above those of alcohol.  He is getting something from it that he can get nowhere else and until he discovers this for himself he will continue to be a person who acts sweet sometimes but becomes a brute at others.  Better that he is out of your life so he may see this.

   But for you, it is time to really look at what you want out of life and relationships, time to know more about who you are.  More time to just be you even though it hurts that some one you love can not be that special someone who cares more for you than anything else in the world.  It is time to really ascertain whether you esteem yourself - ask questions of why that type of relationship has come into your life and why you might fall back into the same pattern.  Basically, spend time being good to you.

   I recommend you get a little book and read it as you experience this loss.  It is by Colgrove and is entitled Surviving the Loss of a Love" and it will help you work through the process of grief. It does not give you any answers - you find those for yourself - and the readings are short and simple but powerful in their help for your daily walk right now.  

   I will hold you in my prayers and if I can be of any help write again.

Grace and peace,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you, Clyde! I will find the book on Amazon today...

Just a bit more information per your question about the length of the relationship- 4 years. And the forms of poor communication (verbal abuse?) are bullying, threatening to leave, yelling, public humiliation (twice only). It's rage and it's a horrible experience! I do not communicate this way. Attempts to talk are met with anger first, and apology second. But, I can't seem to let go of these incidents and have resentment as a result.
He promised and failed to start counseling...but, he could come through!

    This is a classic symptom of alcoholism - resentment.  we say it is the #1 offender and it is true.  He probably has resentments toward you as well (most assuredly) and does not know how to express his true feelings.  I do not know how long he drank or his age, but the effects of alcohol is to stunt maturity.  It can take many, many years to break out of the immaturity and become a man.  Unless he is serious about counseling, going to 12-step meetings (AA), getting a sponsor (who can act as a role model and a mentor as he grows up), he will be of no value in a relationship.  He can not have a good one because he dislikes himself so much - rage is anger gone interior against one's self.  It is an inner job to heal this and requires a tremendous amount of energy and determination to achieve it.  Good luck as you read the book to heal your own sense of loss over the relationship and leave yourself open to good relationships in the future.
   I hope you will continue to seek readings and trusted friends in order to work through your resentments and let them go.  An alcoholic will hold on to them for dear life.

Grace and Peace,

Addiction to Alcohol

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I can answer questions on the recovery from alcohol addiction as I am a recovering alcoholic with 24 years of sobriety. I can also address the spiritual aspects of the 12-Step program as I have a Master of Divinity degree; serve as a pastor in the Quaker church; and, serve as a hospice chaplain. I have also served as a prison chaplain for one year and currently volunteer as a mentor once a week, working with two inmates one-on-one as they work towards reentry into society as free persons.


I am a recovering alcoholic with 24 years of continuous sobriety.

Master of Divinity awarded in 2000 from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

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