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Addiction to Alcohol/Is my partner an alcoholic?


I've been with my boyfriend for 5 months and we're very happy together. We both drink socially at weekends but he works a 9-5 job and likes to drink on his own during the week. He texts me incomprehensible messages in the early hours when he does, says he normally passes out at around 4 or 5am at his desk chair and there have been a few times where he's phoned me pretty late at night and passed out drunk while on the phone to me. When he runs out of alcohol he'll often steal his house-mate's liquor. When we've drank together at weekends it hasn't really been a problem apart from the fact he'll often try to pressure me to catch up with the pace he's drinking at, even though I physically can't. It doesn't really impede on his life and he still goes to work every day even though he's sometimes hungover and he's never turned up drunk for anything important but I'm still really worried about him. He doesn't see it as a problem at all though and considers it recreational, or just winding down after work. Does he need help, and how can I help him?

     Thank you for your question and the explanation of the behaviors you are seeing in your partner.  The signs are certainly there in all these ways of drinking together with the rationale he is using for the behavior.  Although no one can call another an alcoholic, for it is up to the individual to make that determination, we readily see the downward spiral in those who do drink in this fashion.

     If you can broach the subject (many alcoholics are in such tremendous denial), then it is good to have a heart to heart with him about your concerns.  If he is immediately unreceptive then the subject is best left alone, from his standpoint.

     I say from his standpoint, because there is a second equally if not more important aspect to consider - that aspect is your happiness and life expectations.  Our behaviors can become quite selfish and drinking is one of the worst as it often turns to addictive behavior.  I reduce the damage from addiction to one simple bottom-line issue - the chief damage of addictive behaviors is the destruction of relationship.

    If you think about this statement you will see that the behavior will always impact someone else in the life of the addicted individual.  

    My suggestion to you would be to give some soul searching to this question: Do I love this person enough to hold all my life expectations within him?  We often do not think of such a deep question because we all have our own fears and insecurities and relationships often give us a way to hide from those.  Now is the time for you to consider your life.

    If this were to work out to the best for you two as a couple, he would hear your concern, think about it seriously, and seek some answers for himself as to whether he had a problem with alcohol.  If he won't do so, then that tells you something.

    Another suggestion is for you to attend some Alanon meetings, meetings for persons who have been affected by alcohol.  In there you are anonymous and can ask some questions and hear from ladies who have experienced your circumstance and how they managed to deal with it.  You'll hear success stories about relationships mended and you'll hear of the aftermath of failures.  Along with that suggestion, get a copy of the book entitled, "Alcoholics Anonymous" and read it to see what the alcoholic is up against in overcoming the disease.

    Hope these have helped and write again if I can be of any further help.

Grace and Peace,

Addiction to Alcohol

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I can answer questions on the recovery from alcohol addiction as I am a recovering alcoholic with 22 years of sobriety. I can also address the spiritual aspects of the 12-Step program as I have a Master of Divinity degree; serve as a pastor in the Quaker church; and, serve as a hospice chaplain. I have also served as a prison chaplain for one year and currently volunteer as a mentor once a week, working with two inmates one-on-one as they work towards reentry into society as free persons.


I am a recovering alcoholic with 22 years of continuous sobriety.

Master of Divinity awarded in 2000 from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

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