Shayne on You: Sometimes, the best thing you can do is leave

Dear Maggie,

Iím am a 25 year old mother of two boys. My boyfriend and I live together. Heís the father of my kids and I love him. But he drinks way too much and heís just never around when I need him. Heís so great when heís here, but heís often gone for days at a time. Anything could happen and I wouldnít even know how to get hold of him. I think itís not him, itís the beer. He just drinks all the time. Starts in the morning and doesnít stop until heís asleep at night. Sometimes he doesnít stop for days, and then only when he passes out.

My family think I should leave him. But I love him, and I just donít know what to do. Please help.



Dear Desperate,

Your partner is an alcoholic. He wonít change until he has to. The most loving thing you can do for him is give him a reason to get sober and stay that way. And for most drunks, that only happens when they lose the things they cherish most. So leaving him, taking the kids, might be the wake up call he needs to get straight.

But thereís something you need to get straight, too. Itís not your job to fix this problem for him. Your job is to create the best, happiest life you can for yourself and your sons. Forcing them to live with a drunk is not the best you can do for them. In fact, letting them grow up in a home with a man who behaves that way, increases their chances of ending up just like him. That risk grows every day they spend with him.

Women who stay with men like this not only enable the man to keep throwing his life down the toilet, they destroy the lives of their kids. He will not change if you stay. If you leave, he might. Or he might not. But itís not about him, itís about you and your boys. You need to do whatís best for the kids even though itís probably the hardest thing youíll ever do. And even though you know they love him. Kids love their parents, even when those parents are abusive. Theyíll love him more if he gets straight. Theyíll love you more, when theyíre older, for doing whatís best for them now. Leave.

Good luck,


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