Having a Partner Who Drinks

My boyfriend Fernando is a drinker and I am not. Most of you know this already from other posts and photos. I've received many questions asking me what it's like to be with a partner who drinks and if it is ever a problem for me.

Fer and I met in the party scene. He is a DJ by trade and has worked in nightclubs for years. When we met, we both partied and drank a lot and at the beginning that's what our relationship was based on. Our relationship started out rocky and any time we had an argument, alcohol was involved. In the beginning I tried to push him away and I treated him badly. I was an emotional and alcohol addicted mess. I couldn't really figure out why he wanted to date me in the first place, and I tried my best not to let it happen.

Eventually he grew on me and I let myself feel the feelings I had for him. Our arguments would continue until I decided to stop drinking. Every argument that happened was when one or both of us were drunk. Normally it was about me getting too drunk, him having to take care of me, me not remembering what I did, or being mean while intoxicated, etc. As soon as I quit drinking our arguments stopped - I kid you not. Since the day I put down the bottle, our relationship has grown and changed so much.

I know that many paths to recovery advocate staying single and working on yourself when you first start with sobriety. Relationships can be messy, complicated, and can take away from the time and energy it takes to work on yourself. I can understand why jumping into a relationship when first becoming sober is not recommended.

The truth is, I wasn't sure if it was going to work out with Fer and I. There was a lot of hurt, fights, and anger between us in the beginning. When I decided to quit drinking, I didn't know if Fer would stay with me to see if I would really change. I wouldn't have blamed him if he didn't. Like I said, I was a mess and I couldn't figure why he wanted to be with me in the first place. I also wasn't changing for him, I was changing for me. Maybe I wouldn't want a relationship with him after these big changes.

Fer decided to stay with me while I committed to sobriety. He has been there with me on the best days and the worst days of my life in the past two years. His drinking habits have also changed dramatically. In 2013 when I stopped drinking, he stopped working in nightclubs and he stopped going out so frequently. He never had the issues I had experienced while drinking (blacking out, getting sick, doing things you regret etc.), yet he still welcomed his own changes. When we lived in Cancun he would still go out with his friends every once in awhile (1 or 2 times every two weeks) and he would drink and sometimes stay out late. Most of the time I wouldn't go with them. I preferred to stay home. Sometimes I would get annoyed with how late he stayed out, but I always knew where he was and what he was doing. I trusted him and I still do. I realized some of the time I was upset because I felt jealous. I wish I could be out drinking with my friends and having a great time like he could. I was taking my insecurities and emotions out on him. It took me a long time to accept the fact that I am different and that that is just the way it is. Just because I have a problem with alcohol, doesn't mean Fer does and it doesn't mean he should miss out on socially drinking with his friends.

We don't keep alcohol in our house. That doesn't mean that I'm opposed to it being in the house when we have friends or family over to visit. I've told Fer he is welcome to have beers in the house if he wants, but he prefers not to. With his drinking cut back and since I've stopped, he likes to save his alcohol consumption for special occasions - weddings, birthdays, celebrations. He likes to enjoy the occasional non-alcoholic beer with me when we grill out by the pool.

Would it be cool if Fer was 100% sober like I am? Of course. But he doesn't need to be and I would never try to force him to be. Just because I have issues with alcohol doesn't mean he does. Just because I am sober, doesn't mean he needs to be. He is extremely respectful and supportive of my sobriety and I appreciate that. If I ever thought he had problem drinking habits, I would be the first one to bring it to his attention.

With that being said, I can say being sober has helped our relationship tremendously. We almost never fight because the topic of our fighting has been removed. I also feel that me being sober has allowed us to become a closer and more honest couple. We have better communication and I have let myself truly love this man who has been there for me every step of the way. Feeling healthy, rewarding, stable love and being able to give that to him in return is an amazing feeling. He is the definition of a best friend. He has loved me at my worst and at my best. He makes me want to be a better version of myself every day. He has shown me what real love is and I am so thankful to have him in my life.

I know that relationships don't always weather the storm, especially through serious issues like addiction. I do know that removing addictive behaviors from a relationship can change both people for the better and working on a healthy partnership is possible. I am lucky that Fer and I have been able to support each other through hard times and I have all the faith in the world that we'll be able to make it through anything. For now, I just count my lucky stars that I am able to fall more in love every day and experience the world with my best friend.