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I asked my fiance to drink less. Am I out of line?


Addiction & Recovery Recognizing, conquering, and coping with addictions, substance abuse & dependence.

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Old 21st February 2017, 1:02 PM   #1
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I asked my fiance to drink less. Am I out of line?

I'm uncomfortable that my fiance seems to drink everyday, although he sometimes skips a day and can stop drinking for a while. We don't live together, so I don't know how much he drinks exactly. I'm most worried that he seems to have a psychological dependence on alcohol. I never see him get drunk and he usually drinks 1-3 glasses per day (of wine, beer or liquor), but he struggles with depression and anxiety and he turns to alcohol when he's unhappy or stressed. Besides that, his father was an alcoholic and my fiance has minor health issues that would benefit from drinking less.

I'm staying at his place for a few weeks and this week it looked like he drank everyday. I hate that I keep tabs on his drinking--maybe it is unfounded--so I decided to speak my mind. Before he opened a bottle of wine, I simply asked if he took a day off from drinking this week. (We had this argument before, when I asked him to stick to moderate drinking guidelines.) He immediately got upset. I tried to explain that I want him to enjoy alcohol, but I think not drinking 1 or 2 days a week would be healthier. He eventually told me that his drinking is his business, we're too different (I don't drink much at all) and I should look for someone else.

I think we will break up and it's upsetting he chooses alcohol over me. All I'm asking him for is to not drink 1 day a week, but he thinks I'm trying to control him. If we're going to be married, isn't his drinking my business (and whatever I do his business)? Am I being unreasonable?
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Old 21st February 2017, 2:03 PM   #2
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You are not being unreasonable but you don't have a good handle on how serious addiction is. A person who isn't addicted would be horrified that somebody commented on their drinking & would take steps to cut down. Addicts get defensive.


Get yourself to an Al-anon meeting. It's a group for people who love & care about addicts. Do not move forward with your wedding until you do this.


After you educate yourself about addiction, then you can make informed choices about what is best for you to do next.
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Old 21st February 2017, 4:53 PM   #3
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d0nnivain, thanks for your input. I don't believe he has an addiction though. I'm more concerned about his psychological dependence. It bothers me that he needs alcohol to feel better when he's stressed or depressed, and I worry that he'll drink heavily if we experience a crisis someday, like he did in the past. But I never said this to him or that he has a "problem" -- I only tried to encourage him to drink less for health reasons (lose weight, better sleep, etc). As I told him, I don't understand why he accepts my opinion on almost anything else, like eating healthy or working out, but alcohol is off limits...
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Old 21st February 2017, 4:55 PM   #4
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Go to an Al-Anon meeting. You really don't understand the issue. After you sit through one meeting if you still believe everything you wrote in your response to me, fine. Marry your FI but please, please educate yourself.
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Old 21st February 2017, 7:41 PM   #5
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I see, maybe his drinking is more serious than it looks and I need to educate myself. Thank you for the suggestion. More than his drinking, I think the root of our problems is our difference in values.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 1:45 PM   #6
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Oh honey, do not marry this man. He's an alcoholic. Alcoholics cannot moderate. Alcoholics will not change for you. It will only get worse. He has to hit rock bottom, it may be tomorrow or 20 years from now. But rock bottom may be his death or yours. My advice is to run. I don't wish this life on anyone. Run to an al-anon meeting. This disease will destroy you and everything you love.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 2:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qwerty3210 View Post
d0nnivain, thanks for your input. I don't believe he has an addiction though. I'm more concerned about his psychological dependence. It bothers me that he needs alcohol to feel better when he's stressed or depressed, and I worry that he'll drink heavily if we experience a crisis someday, like he did in the past. But I never said this to him or that he has a "problem" -- I only tried to encourage him to drink less for health reasons (lose weight, better sleep, etc). As I told him, I don't understand why he accepts my opinion on almost anything else, like eating healthy or working out, but alcohol is off limits...
What do you think the reason addicts drink is? It's self medicating in an unhealthy way.
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Old 2nd March 2017, 4:31 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by qwerty3210 View Post
I'm uncomfortable that my fiance seems to drink everyday, although he sometimes skips a day and can stop drinking for a while. We don't live together, so I don't know how much he drinks exactly. I'm most worried that he seems to have a psychological dependence on alcohol. I never see him get drunk and he usually drinks 1-3 glasses per day (of wine, beer or liquor), but he struggles with depression and anxiety and he turns to alcohol when he's unhappy or stressed. Besides that, his father was an alcoholic and my fiance has minor health issues that would benefit from drinking less.

I'm staying at his place for a few weeks and this week it looked like he drank everyday. I hate that I keep tabs on his drinking--maybe it is unfounded--so I decided to speak my mind. Before he opened a bottle of wine, I simply asked if he took a day off from drinking this week. (We had this argument before, when I asked him to stick to moderate drinking guidelines.) He immediately got upset. I tried to explain that I want him to enjoy alcohol, but I think not drinking 1 or 2 days a week would be healthier. He eventually told me that his drinking is his business, we're too different (I don't drink much at all) and I should look for someone else.

I think we will break up and it's upsetting he chooses alcohol over me. All I'm asking him for is to not drink 1 day a week, but he thinks I'm trying to control him. If we're going to be married, isn't his drinking my business (and whatever I do his business)? Am I being unreasonable?
I really hear that you hate keeping tabs on his drinking, but I'm wondering if it felt like something that you needed to do, not only for him, but also for you?

I do hear some things that are concerning in your post. Using a something or an activity to mood shift repeatedly is a hallmark of addiction. That does not necessarily means that at this much he has one, but I can tell you that more than 14 drinks in a week for a man does put him out of being low-risk in his drinking.

Also concerning is that he puts alcohol ahead of a major relationship in his life, and seems to do so very impulsively based on his desire to drink (read here, mood shift) in the moment. This is a really big warning right here from where I am standing.

I am not qualified to be able to diagnose an addiction, but I can say from what you're telling me it does sound like he is at the very least, dancing on the borderline of an addiction with some strong risk factors.

I don't know whether you are ready to hear this yet, but if you can hear it, now might really be a good time to evaluate whether you really want to marry him, with no change, as he is right now (because that is what you need to base your decision on).

There is a really good model that is getting more commonplace in being applied to people with addiction, in jargon-y terms it is called the transtheoretical model of change. If you want to continue a relationship of any sort with him, I would strongly recommend looking into it. What it means for you, right now, is that he is in the stage where he is not ready to change at all, and asking directly for change will only make him dig his heels in further. I am really sorry that you are in this situation.

What I can recommend, and this will require much patience, maturity, and careful listening on your part if you still have the patience and inclination to do so, is not even broaching the subject of drinking without also telling him that you absolutely promise not to hassle him about his drinking.

And then, talk with him about the difficult things in your relationship that he will talk about, and listen carefully, reflect what he says, and particularly if you start to hear little phrases that suggest ambivalence (it is likely he has it, just that he is hyper wary about expressing it, since he knows you want him to change when he isn't yet ready to) about his drinking (like if he says something like, "you know, I start drinking to feel better, but in the end, end up feeling worse," you could say something like, "I really hear that. It sounds like when you start to drink, you feel really bad and just want to change the way you feel, to feel better, but in the end, all it does is make you feel worse." and keep expressing both sides of the ambivalence, as they come.

There's more, but it gets complicated and is probably much better done by a trained professional, if you can convince him to see one, in a manner that he feels like his autonomy is being respected.

I am so sorry, when I listen to your words, it really sounds like underneath, you might be feeling very defeated right now.
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Old 2nd March 2017, 5:04 PM   #9
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I went through this exact thing a few years ago. I chose the bottle over a woman I really would have given my life for. I still love her to this day. I'm glad she is now happily married to someone who isn't an alcoholic like me.

I drank almost every day. Hardly ever to excess. I wasn't a binger, but I was almost always "medicated", if you will. Two or three drinks a day to steady my nerves. Every day. Day in. Day out. On The Weekends, more. Sometimes I'd drink in the morning if I were stressed.

I was never abusive. Never had legal problems. Have held a high paying professional job for 20 years. High functioning by definition.

She came from a family in which her mother was unavailable due to substance abuse and I could see she was eaten alive with worry but I just couldn't stop, so I turned her loose. I broke off the engagement.

PS. I am sober today. One day at a time.

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Old 2nd March 2017, 8:27 PM   #10
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It's not about whether you're out of line; it's about whether you're comfortable with his drinking, and whether he's comfortable with your limits.

It's a mistake to think of this as some sort of moral crusade, like "He's a bad, immoral alcoholic, and you're his savior" -- he's not necessarily a drunk and you're not necessarily his savior.

But that doesn't mean you *have* to accept him or his behaviors. You no more have to accept a man who drinks than a man who shaves and doesn't rinse the sink afterward. It's what you're comfortable with. Nothing more, nothing less.

I write the above with the assumption that it's just a drinking problem he has, and not a drinking and behaving stupidly problem. It's one thing to drink; it's quite another to drink and drive or use a chainsaw, or get into fights at pubs or do things that end up causing stress and take money outta your bank account.

But if that's not the issue, then see it for what it is: it's about what you want from your man. Nothing more, nothing less. And by the way, there's nothing wrong if you want to marry a puritan. Just be straight up about it, and the sooner, the better.
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Old 5th March 2017, 11:56 AM   #11
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Hold his feet to the fire...he said find someone else, so do it!

Ok, I'm not serious. You obviously love this man and breaking it off over something that seems so simple to you is the last thing that you want to do.

However, you do need to draw the line at some point. He may, in fact, have no real drinking problem but his unwillingness to address something simple that you see as a problem is an issue.

I am not a big fan of compromise in a relationship. Seems to me the best ones are built without a bit of compromise but a compromise from your concern for his health and well being seems not just appropriate but quite telling of your love for him and I hope, as you do, that he can see it as such.
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Old 10th April 2017, 7:19 AM   #12
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Hi, I'm sorry to hear about your fiance and I know it must be such a difficult time for you. I am sure someone will be here to share their experiences and show their support.

If your fiance is ready to quit drinking just ask him to gradually reduce the intake. A strong desire can help him to stop the drinking habit. Try talking to him about this. One of the many things that addiction takes away is the ability to communicate honestly and directly. If that doesn’t work, take him to a recovery centre and get him an addiction therapy from any clinic in Calgary. I appreciate you for being with him at this stage. Good luck dear!!
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Old 10th April 2017, 7:21 AM   #13
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Hi, I'm sorry to hear about your fiance and I know it must be such a difficult time for you. I am sure someone will be here to share their experiences and show their support.

If your fiance is ready to quit drinking just ask him to gradually reduce the intake. A strong desire can help him to stop the drinking habit. Try talking to him about this. One of the many things that addiction takes away is the ability to communicate honestly and directly. If that doesn’t work, take him to a recovery center and get him an addiction therapy from any clinic in Calgary. I appreciate you for being with him at this stage. Good luck dear!!
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Old 12th April 2017, 8:53 AM   #14
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I know it's been a while since you posted, but the thread is still open and it's unlikely that the two of you have resolved this yet.

His drinking is one thing, but the greater red flag in a long-term committed relationship is that he won't discuss it with you. There should be no subject that is off-limits as you approach marriage together, as in you're not allowed to bring it up if you want to be together.

He may find it to be an uninteresting topic of conversation, but the fact that he won't indulge you and engage on the subject, or any subject, during your engagement is a very bad sign.

It's a health issue, and zero alcoholic beverages per sitting is better for his health than three alcoholic beverages per sitting. Just as my doctor tells me at each visit that I should lose ten pounds and that a glass of grape juice is better for me than a glass of wine, these are simple facts of medical science. I may prefer the glass of wine and be comfortable at my current weight, but he's correct, and I acknowledge that and thank him for pointing these things out.

Alcohol is also expensive. It's not unusual for a person "who doesn't have a problem" to spend $150 or more per week on alcoholic beverages

The only positive I see here is that he hasn't committed to quit on the day of your wedding. Those promises, when broken as they most often are, are clear signals of a rocky road ahead. He's saying that you should take him as he is or not take him at all. That's fair of him.

He's being unreasonable in not wanting to discuss it with you. The most reasonable thing to do, on that basis alone, might be to let him go, to walk away.
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