How to confront my fiance about her drinking

Hi~


Thank you SO much for the work you do. I am thinking of looking into meridian tapping to help me and my fiance.
She was diagnosed with bipolar, and visits a therapist. She IS doing really well, and is studying Pilates, and very driven.

She's gone drinking with a good friend twice, and the first time, called me in a rage and upset she couldn't find a parking space, and 'why wasn't I home.'

The second time i was here, but she had a noticeably different personality swing, and stared into my eyes, with almost a 'look of daring', or a 'crazy' look. It really upset me, and i just held her and waited for her to relax. She immediately started feeling body issues, so I just told her I loved her.

I know it's hard being with someone bipolar, I just am worried about the alcohol, and i don't want to just pretend everything is alright, even if she's doing well...it's like an 'elephant in the room', and if i just say ' well I'm proud of you, you're fine', then it seems like I'm not doing right by her.

If i talk about it, then I'm afraid I'll burst her confidence, or trigger something and she'll relapse.

Just need some guidance, anything...thank you !

Ben's Answer:

Bipolar or not, if you ignore the elephant in the room, you are just enabling her to drink, which in her case is clearly a dangerous behavior. The average person can have a few drinks on occasion without a problem. An alcoholic can't. A person with Bipolar disorder who is very well balanced, self-aware, and established in their treatment, might (possibly) be able to handle a drink or two without serious negative consequences, on occasion. But for most people with Bipolar Disorder, even a few drinks can tip the balance. For some it can be a trigger for a major mood episode or can mess up the effect of their medication.

You are right to be neutral, loving and non-judgmental when she becomes so irrational and mentally altered. Confronting her harshly at a time like that is likely to have a negative effect on her mood. But when the dust settles, if you don't confront her about this, it may just keep happening. And the next time, it could be worse.

If it upsets her, it's not the worst thing. It doesn't mean she will completely fall apart. You just have to do it with love and concern, and be firm and sure of yourself when you say it. You can't know how she'll react, but by remaining silent about her drinking, you are taking a much bigger risk.

Take care, and good luck,

Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist


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