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Boyfriend Drinks and Does Drugs

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My boyfriend drinks and does drugs. I told his parents and we've talked to him, but nothing seems to get through to him and he won't stop. I don't like watching him do this to himself. Should I break up with him?

A: It's very hard to watch someone you care about behave in a self-destructive manner. It makes us feel angry and helpless. Neither you nor your boyfriend's parents have been able to convince him to get the professional help that he needs. You cannot be his therapist or his savior. You can only be his friend. But if you continue to be his girlfriend while he abuses drugs and alcohol, you are saying that he can continue to do things to himself that aren't part of your value system, and that you will continue to stay his girlfriend no matter what. I don't think that helps him or you.

This young man's parents need to intervene in his life to get him the professional help that he so desperately needs. Unless and until he can get sober in a treatment program, I strongly suggest that you terminate your relationship with him. If his health means something to you, you need to break this off and hope that he can come to his senses before he does himself or others irreparable harm.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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