What to Do When My Partner is A Binge Drinker
Binge drinking is when you consume large amounts of alcohol within two hours or less causing your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to rise to 0.08% or higher. Binge drinking in men is defined as having 5 or more alcoholic drinks in two hours or less, and 4 or more alcoholic drinks for women. Although not everyone who binges drinks has an alcohol addiction or problem, having a partner who binges drinks frequently can be stressful for various reasons. If you’re searching, “what to do when my partner is a binge drinker”, we have some tips that may help.
How to Talk to Your Spouse About Drinking Too Much
Living with a binge drinker can be stressful. They may go weeks or months without having alcohol, to then suddenly binge drink in one night.
Again, while binge drinking isn’t considered to be alcoholism, it often progresses to this issue. If you’ve noticed that your partner’s alcohol use has become problematic but aren’t sure how to go about it, you’re not alone.
Plenty of people are out there thinking, “my partner has a drinking problem” and trying to search for tips on how to best approach the situation. As an alcohol rehab in Pennsylvania, we understand how difficult this conversation can be, so we’ve shared some helpful tips on how to deal with a binge drinking partner to guide you.
Learn all you can about binge drinking
Binge drinking is different from alcoholism in that binge drinkers aren’t physically dependent on alcohol. This means that they may not experience withdrawal symptoms or cravings for alcohol when they aren’t drinking.
Drinking patterns are also different among binge drinkers and alcoholics. While the former may go weeks without a drink, the latter struggles with a compulsive urge to drink all the time.
It’s also important to read up on the signs of binge drinking, such as mood swings, drinking early in the day, and drinking more than planned. It’s important to learn everything you can about binge drinking and what’s caused it in your partner’s life.
You can also try to find testimonials of people who have also struggled with binge drinking to have a better understanding of its impact, as well. Mentally placing yourself in the person’s shoes will make it easier for you to understand how they feel and why they’re acting this way.
Find the right time to talk to them
One of the worst mistakes you can make when learning how to get your partner to stop drinking is confronting them when they’re intoxicated. Do not attempt to talk to them about their drinking patterns when they’re drunk or in the middle of a binge.
Chances are they’ll be too intoxicated to understand, contribute to, and remember the conversation. It’s understandable why you’d want to confront them as soon as they get home from a night of binge drinking, but the goal is for them to understand the impact of their behavior.
To do this, you have to choose the right time to speak to them, which is when they’re sober. Another great tip is to sit them down at home where you two are comfortable and can speak to each other calmly.
Plan what you’re going to say to them
Jumping into a conversation as serious as confronting someone about their binge drinking without at least thinking of what you want to say first can result in disaster. Talking to your partner about their drinking is not a just-wing-it kind of moment.
What you should do is sit down and either write down what you’d like to say word-for-word or at least jot down some points that you want to talk about. For instance, jot down a day when their drinking negatively affected their behavior and how it impacted you.
Include examples of things they’ve done as a result of their drinking and how it’s affected your relationship. Not only will your notes act as a guide when you hit a mental block, but they’ll also prevent you from going off on an angry tangent that could potentially escalate the situation.
Mention things that possibly contribute to their drinking
Many people who binge drink so do for a particular reason, whether or not they notice. While some people drink to alleviate stress after a long day or week, others may do so to cope with underlying mental health issues like anxiety or depression.
Outside elements can also influence a person’s drinking, such as a particular friend or two, or a certain day of the week. Before confronting your partner, ask yourself these questions: when do they tend to binge drink? Who are they with when they binge drink? Are they struggling with something mentally that they haven’t told me about?
Speak to your partner about these things as a way of providing them with evidence of their behavior. For instance, maybe you notice that one particular friend encourages your partner to drink, so maybe they should limit the time they spend with that person.
Be open-minded and kind
Being “called out” for something isn’t fun. No one enjoys being admonished, so keep this in mind when speaking to your partner about their binge drinking.
Even if it’s not an addiction, losing control over your drinking can cause feelings of guilt and shame, especially if it’s affected a loved one (i.e. you). So think about this before and during your conversation with your spouse to avoid seeming accusatory and to remain empathetic.
Also, be willing to listen. Maybe they just need to air out about something that’s contributed to their drinking, and interrupting them or taking over the conversation can make this more difficult for them.
It helps to say things like, “I can see your point” or “I know you’ve been stressed lately.” Try not to use bribes, ultimatums, or guilt. If your discussion leads to an argument, take a break and revisit the conversation another day.
Express your willingness to help
Sometimes, the most impacting thing you can say is, “I’m here for you”. Maybe they’ve been hesitant to talk to you about their drinking because they feel guilty or they feel as if they’ll be a burden to you.
No matter how close we are to someone, reassuring them of your feelings and intentions to help can give them much-needed peace of mind and the motivation to change.
Look after yourself
Finally, being in a relationship with someone who binge drinks can take a significant toll on your mental health. Some days it may seem like their drinking is the center of most conversations, which can weigh down on your relationship.
Alcohol abuse is one of the most common reasons for divorce and separation, so don’t allow yourself to go through this alone. Seek the support of close friends, family, or a therapist.
Our Clearbrook rehab offers family therapy to loved ones of patients to help them heal from the toll that addiction has had on them, so we understand how important it is to have your own support system too.
Need Addiction Treatment?
If you’ve gone from searching “what to do when my partner is a binge drinker” to “how to help an alcoholic partner” don’t wait to find professional care. If your spouse’s drinking has surpassed occasional binge episodes and has become a frequent thing, Clearbrook Treatment Centers offers alcohol treatment that utilizes a range of modalities from medically monitored detox to addiction counseling to help patients recover physically, mentally, and socially.
If someone you care about needs assistance getting sober from a drug or alcohol addiction, our Northeast addictions treatment center offers everything you need and more. For more information about our Pennsylvania drug treatment, call Clearbrook today at 570-536-9621.