1. You can’t change them. You can’t convince them to give up drinking. They need to make that decision on their own. So don’t feel like it’s your fault if you can’t find a way through to them. Don’t feel like you’re the one to blame because they would give up drinking if they love you enough to stop. Their issues aren’t your fault — and they’re not your responsibility. Even though you love them and would do anything for them, if they refuse to stop drinking and continue on treating you like shit, the best thing you can do for yourself is leave. Set yourself free.
2. You’re being negatively impacted by their behavior. It doesn’t matter if your partner, parent, sibling, cousin, or best friend is an alcoholic. If you’re close with this person, then their drinking is going to negatively impact you. It could change your own behavior. It could change your own thought patterns. They might not be the only one who needs a support system. Al-Anon exists for a reason. The program is built for family and friends of alcoholics. It’s free to attend and it will help you feel less alone in what you’re going through.
3. This might not be the real them — but it’s them right now. You might feel obligated to stick by their side because you know who they are when they’re sober. You know they’re a good person deep down. You know they aren’t trying to hurt you. However, you can’t wait for them forever. If they’ve been suffering for a long time and they aren’t even attempting to better themselves, then you need to give yourself permission to leave. Even though this might not be the real them, it’s the person you’re stuck with right now. That other person isn’t around anymore.
4. A goodbye today isn’t a goodbye forever. If they decide to get help, if they clean up their act, if they put effort into their recovery, then maybe you can reunite in the future. Maybe you can start over again. But you can’t start over right now. Not when they’re acting like this. Not when alcohol is the only thing on their mind. Even though you want to do what’s best for them, you have to start worrying about what is best for yourself because your mental health matters, too.
5. You’re not a bad person for leaving. It doesn’t matter if other people judge you. It doesn’t matter if they consider you heartless. They don’t realize how long you put up with toxic behavior. They don’t realize how many times you gave this person another chance, and another, and another. They don’t realize that you put your whole heart and soul into helping them get better — but they didn’t want your help. They kept making the wrong choice. They kept pushing you away. Even though you might feel guilty for saying goodbye to this person you love, this person you desperately want to help, you did all that you could.