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Addiction to Alcohol/Is my boyfriend an alcoholic?


Hello, and I would like to thank you in advance for reading and answering my question. I've been with my boyfriend for about six months, and I've noticed a few things regarding his constant use of alcohol. I'm not a drinker myself (I've had a few sips here and there, but I never drink heavily), so I might just be paranoid. Either way, I can't deny that I'm a little worried.
My boyfriend never seems to be extremely drunk, nor does he act negatively with alcohol in his system. However, he will casually pour himself an entire cup or two of vodka or rum almost every time I'm with him (unless he had already been drinking with friends). Like I said, he is very rarely incoherent, and he's never shown stereotypical signs of alcoholism (you know, agression, lack of care for anything else but an alcohol fix, etc.), but I'm not sure if his drinking is excessive.
Also, he's not a small guy, so I'm not too sure if the alcohol affects him that much. He's about 6'4, 200 lbs, and a 24-year-old grad student.
Again, his drinking doesn't affect me negatively physically or emotionally, but I'm just a bit worried for his health. I haven't confronted him about it, because if his drinking isn't going to harm either of us, I'm fine with it, and I don't want him to take it personally. I just wanted to get another opinion first.
If you could let me know if you believe that his use is leaning towards more of an alcoholic side, or if it probably won't affect him much and it's just a routine, I would really appreciate it. Also, if you need more information regarding the situation, I would happily provide it for you. Thank you again!

Hi Jessie

First of all, apologies for my delay in replying to your enquiry – I have been away and due to unforseen circumstances could not access my emails.

This is not an easy question to answer as people have very different tolerances to alcohol and it’s often the way in which they drink rather than the amount they drink that becomes problematic.

However, the way you have described your boyfriend’s drinking would certainly raise some concern.

Your boyfriend may well have a problem but it depends on a number of factors such as how often he drinks, how much he drinks and what effect it has on him and others around him. Some people have an inordinate tolerance to alcohol and there are many who are heavy drinkers but maintain the ability to stop if their drinking becomes problematic. Alcoholism is such a powerful disease that those affected lose control over their drinking have great difficulty in stopping without outside help. Drinking a full cup or two of, presumably, straight Vodka would not usually be regarded as moderate drinking and would suggest that your boyfriend is either using alcohol to mask some of his feelings or to help him feel more confident and outgoing to overcome low self esteem.

As a non-drinker you would be more aware of his drinking than others who drink on a regular basis but the fact that it is bothering you needs to be addressed. I can understand why you are reluctant to broach the issue with him but I firmly believe that if you want your relationship to work you need to be straight and honest about your concerns. The longer you leave it, the more difficult and problematic it will become.

If he doesn’t have a problem he will more than likely be open to hearing what you have to say and talk about the issue but if he’s denies that he has a problem and refuses to discuss it I would be concerned.

You need to decide how you want your life to be and whether this relationship is in your best interest.

I would support to to go to my website at where you can find more information about alcoholism and how it affects the families and friends of those around them.

I wish you well.

Di English  

Addiction to Alcohol

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Di English


I can answer questions on aspects related to alcoholism and drug addiction and in particular, questions from families and friends who are suffering from the behavior and consequences of someone’s drinking or drug abuse. My aim is to help these family members and friends gain a better understanding of the disease of addiction and to gain a greater awareness around the choices available to them. I can answer many of the "nuts and bolts" questions that people frequently ask when living with alcoholics or drug abusers. I prefer not to answer questions related to pharmacology or in depth physical effects of drug and alcohol abuse which are better answered by medical doctors and psychiatrists.


I am a registered nurse with 45 years experience, the last ten of which have been in mental health, particularly in the area of drugs and alcohol. I have worked consistently with people suffering from alcohol and drug addiction helping them to deal with their day to day problems and assisting them on the road to recovery. Much of this time has been spent facilitating their group therapy sessions and for the last seven years I have also run a family support group on a bi-monthly basis. I also have a close family member who is an alcoholic and my involvement with both the affected person and their families has allowed me to have a balanced perspective on the problems and issues involved for all concerned.

Al-Anon associate

E book for families - "The Key to Recovery - The Family and the Alcoholic"

Registered Nurse, NLP practitioner skills qualified.

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