Doesn't drink often but drinks a lot when he does

by Tammie
(Ontario )

Hi there, I have a question and would appreciate any feedback. My boyfriend of 1.5 years now used to drink heavily every weekend prior meeting me. He knows it bothers me so he doesn't do that anymore, however, once in a while (once a month) he will get together socially with friends or alone while watching a game and he will consume beer quickly (seven in 1.5 hours). It's almost like he's got to have that buzz feeling as soon as there is a beer in his hand. Is this normal?


My concern is he has asked me to marry him but I don't want to be married to a ticking time bomb where sooner or later he will be less cautious about his consumption.
Thank you.

Reply


I think you are wise to be cautious. Seven beers in 90 minutes is excessive. This sounds like alcohol abuse which can most certainly lead to alcohol dependence.

I think it’s best that you share your concerns with him in a loving and supportive way. In other words, don’t accuse or presume to know what he’s thinking. Ask questions with an open mind. Ask things such as: “Sometimes I’m rather surprised at how fast you can consume alcohol. Have you ever noticed/kept track of how many beers you are consuming per hour?” “Sometimes I get worried when I see how much beer you can drink and how quickly you drink it. Why do you think you feel the need to consume so much?” “What do you like most about drinking?” “Would it be hard for you to stop after one or two beers at a social event? Why?”

Do NOT ask these types of questions when he has been drinking. These are good questions for the next day. Pick a time when he’s in a good mood and seems open to talking. Make sure your tone is one of genuine curiosity and concern. The goal is to keep him from being defensive and to provide a safe place for him to think through/talk through his drinking patterns. You are a sounding board for him. You are also an advocate for him.

The answers to the questions should give you a better idea about his vulnerability to future alcoholism. Marriage is a very serious commitment. Once someone is married, they tend become even more relaxed and his drinking could escalate. It’s best to work on it now before the commitment is solidified.

Here is more information on alcoholism and marriage, and what it is like living with an alcoholic.

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