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Ok so my girlfriend and I are both 16 and she goes to parties nothing excessive or anything above normal but she does drink a bit. Not like alcoholic but just like a normal teenager would. Now for some reason when she drinks at parties I get really nervous. Like super high anxiety and I just feel genuinely upset and I don’t know how to deal with this because she’s not doing anything wrong and I don’t want to make her feel bad by saying something. ( we have been talking about it together tho) I was In an abusive relationship (mental/emotional,physical) with my father I wouldn’t label him as an alcoholic but he definitely has a serious drinking problem. Maybe he is I’m not really to sure just looking for some coping advice for when my girlfriend wants to go out and have a good time and I have a panic attack and get really upset. Also I’m sorry if I was unclear just spewing out my thoughts; if any clarification is needed please let me know. Thank you for any advice. 

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Hello. @Robcapp0820, welcome! :)

No need to be sorry about the way you write - it's OK and it's clear enough and, as you say, you can always add more information if needed.

I think you've identified well the source of your problem: The alcohol issue of your father and its impacts on your relationship and your life. It's probable that the best way to deal with this would be psychotherapy (or at least counselling). You might contact the school counsellor and talk about the issue and the treatment options. But if psychotherapy isn't an option for you right now, you may try to find more info about how to cope with and prevent panic attacks and how to deal with this kind of consequences of childhood trauma.

We are not psychologists / therapists / counsellors here, but I hope some insights we can give will be helpful.

For instance, how do you prepare yourself for the parties (or other occasions where drinking 'occurs')? You may try to visualise (imagine) it in advance, imagine your girlfriend drinking, observe your reactions, analyse them - by posing questions about their proper, hidden reasons ("What exactly do I fear, what am I anxious about? Why is this thing so powerful in my mind? Will the thing I fear really happen now? Is it probable that this alcohol I see here will have the consequences my mind associates with alcohol due to my father's behaviour? ...") - and then try to relax, sooth yourself, while still imagining being in the situation where you see your girlfriend drinking. Doing it once won't probably help, but by doing it regularly, you might desensitize yourself enough to be able to do "the same" (in your mind) when you're actually around her drinking.

Also, you may reassure yourself by making "a deal" with your girlfriend about the alcohol: She may make a pledge to drink only a certain amount, not more, at every occasion - that would be not only good for her, but also for you: The certainty that she won't ever do anything excessive, scary, dangerous, ... would make you feel better, I think. That way, you may have a sense of a certain control over the situation. Because I imagine that a big part of your anxiety is the feeling that you cannot control her, thus you cannot control / influence the outcome - how much she drinks and how she behaves afterwards (if it's, one day, too much).

What do you think?

Also, you said you talked about it with her. What is her opinion and how does she feel about it? Is she trying to understand and being supportive?

Take care!

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4 hours ago, LaLa said:

Hello. @Robcapp0820, welcome! :)

No need to be sorry about the way you write - it's OK and it's clear enough and, as you say, you can always add more information if needed.

I think you've identified well the source of your problem: The alcohol issue of your father and its impacts on your relationship and your life. It's probable that the best way to deal with this would be psychotherapy (or at least counselling). You might contact the school counsellor and talk about the issue and the treatment options. But if psychotherapy isn't an option for you right now, you may try to find more info about how to cope with and prevent panic attacks and how to deal with this kind of consequences of childhood trauma.

We are not psychologists / therapists / counsellors here, but I hope some insights we can give will be helpful.

For instance, how do you prepare yourself for the parties (or other occasions where drinking 'occurs')? You may try to visualise (imagine) it in advance, imagine your girlfriend drinking, observe your reactions, analyse them - by posing questions about their proper, hidden reasons ("What exactly do I fear, what am I anxious about? Why is this thing so powerful in my mind? Will the thing I fear really happen now? Is it probable that this alcohol I see here will have the consequences my mind associates with alcohol due to my father's behaviour? ...") - and then try to relax, sooth yourself, while still imagining being in the situation where you see your girlfriend drinking. Doing it once won't probably help, but by doing it regularly, you might desensitize yourself enough to be able to do "the same" (in your mind) when you're actually around her drinking.

Also, you may reassure yourself by making "a deal" with your girlfriend about the alcohol: She may make a pledge to drink only a certain amount, not more, at every occasion - that would be not only good for her, but also for you: The certainty that she won't ever do anything excessive, scary, dangerous, ... would make you feel better, I think. That way, you may have a sense of a certain control over the situation. Because I imagine that a big part of your anxiety is the feeling that you cannot control her, thus you cannot control / influence the outcome - how much she drinks and how she behaves afterwards (if it's, one day, too much).

What do you think?

Also, you said you talked about it with her. What is her opinion and how does she feel about it? Is she trying to understand and being supportive?

Take care!

She is extremely understanding about it and open I’m so grateful for that. 

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Is this underage drinking?  At 16, it must be illegal.  That would make me nervous.  Do you ever drink illegally?  What about whoever is sponsoring the party?  Danger of being caught by them?  Don't some of the young people get out of control?  Who drivews home?  Parents who wouldn't approve of the drinking?  If you are driving, even if you don't drink yourself, a police officer could probably smell the liquor in the car.

Probably can't contact a school counselor if illegal drinking is occurring.

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I personally don’t drink and I will avoid it as much as possible do to my life experiences. The bottom line is teens will drink it sucks it’s not the best but it kinda is what it is. She’s not being irresponsible  not be reckless not hurting herself or anyone else. Although it is still underage it’s not causing a problem especially compared to some of the other problems are generation has. 

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I can understand your position.  You've had negative experiences with a loved one who drank, a Father no less, and you are concerned about your gf who drinks.  Completely understandable.  I am glad that you have decided at your age not to drink.  Also, completely understandable and respected by me and should be respected by anyone else who knows and cares about you.

However, you will have to decide whether or not you accept others important to you now and in the future who may drink, not to excess, but rather socially.  Excessive habitual drinking is not OK, ever.  There is a real underlying problem there.  So you really have some choices here and I want you to realize they will be lifelong as alcohol is ubiquitous in our society.   You can tell her your fears with alcohol.  She may stop or she might not.  Then, you can accept her decision or you can move on.  While I'm not encouraging it, I will tell you from personal experience that I drank some in high school, much more in college.  Tooled around with many different hallucinogens and I turned out fairly successful and currently like a nice bottle of pinot noir. My point is that not every one who uses a drug, alcohol included, ends up having a substance abuse problem.  In saying that,  I would never accept for very long substance abuse behavior from a significant other/spouse and we all know it when we see it.  I believe that if you are already cognizant that alcohol can be a problem for you, personally, tells me that you are already a step above your peers. Good luck.

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3 minutes ago, Toosmallforcomfort said:

I can understand your position.  You've had negative experiences with a loved one who drank, a Father no less, and you are concerned about your gf who drinks.  Completely understandable.  I am glad that you have decided at your age not to drink.  Also, completely understandable and respected by me and should be respected by anyone else who knows and cares about you.

However, you will have to decide whether or not you accept others important to you now and in the future who may drink, not to excess, but rather socially.  Excessive habitual drinking is not OK, ever.  There is a real underlying problem there.  So you really have some choices here and I want you to realize they will be lifelong as alcohol is ubiquitous in our society.   You can tell her your fears with alcohol.  She may stop or she might not.  Then, you can accept her decision or you can move on.  While I'm not encouraging it, I will tell you from personal experience that I drank some in high school, much more in college.  Tooled around with many different hallucinogens and I turned out fairly successful and currently like a nice bottle of pinot noir. My point is that not every one who uses a drug, alcohol included, ends up having a substance abuse problem.  In saying that,  I would never accept for very long substance abuse behavior from a significant other/spouse and we all know it when we see it.  I believe that if you are already cognizant that alcohol can be a problem for you, personally, tells me that you are already a step above your peers. Good luck.

Thank you so much. This helps a lot. We have talked about it and she is very open about making me feel better about it. Also I never seem to have any issues when my parents or friends drink/smoke just her she means so much to me. I also feel that if I was there things would be much different. But that is to be determined in the future. 

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