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May 20, 2010

Alcohol and Relationships: Do You Have a Drinking Problem?

IStock_00couple alcohol Too many couples have a third party creating problems in their relationship.  That third party is alcohol.  When alcohol is a source of stress in a relationship, it is typically because one partner thinks the other partner either drinks too much or is no fun to be around when they drink.  The other partner, of course, does not think this is the case. 

For those of you who struggle with this issue in your own relationship, let me help you out.  Below are several warning signs that your drinking is, minimally, a problem and possibly alcohol abuse or alcoholism. 
•    You’ve ever been worried about your drinking and tried to stop or cut back as a result.
•    You’ve experienced blackouts due to drinking.
•    You become mean-spirited and nasty when you drink.
•    Your drinking has resulted in your missing work, losing your job or not being able to perform your job as expected.
•    Your partner, friends, children or co-workers have commented on your drinking.
•    Your drinking is a source of tension between you and your partner (and not because your partner is opposed to drinking).
•    You “have to” have a drink to calm down or relax.
•    You often drink to get buzzed or drunk.
•    You seldom, if ever, stop at just one drink.
•    You use alcohol to loosen up and give you social confidence.
•    You drink alone or hide your alcohol use.

There are several signs that your drinking has moved beyond social drinking to problem drinking, but the best indicator I know is:  if your drinking is creating problems in your relationship or your life—your drinking is a problem.  The problem is not your partner’s thinking it’s a problem. 

If you’re not sure whether or not you have a drinking problem -- chances are you drink too much.  If people in your life think you have a problem and you get defensive when they say this -- chances are you drink too much.  If either of these two circumstances is present and you have a family history of alcoholism -- you’re playing with fire.  If you don’t control it, you will get burned.

Alcoholism has an uncanny way of getting passed from one generation to the next.  If there is any question that your drinking is a problem, then deal with the issue NOW.  Stop the toxic legacy of addiction. You, your marriage and your children deserve to have a safe, sober environment in which to thrive.

CHALLENGE:  If alcohol is playing too big a role in your life, commit to take steps to get it under control.  If your drinking is in question, stop defending and start managing your drinking. If you can't manage it on your own get into AA and seek treatment form a substance abuse counselor. If your partner’s drinking is in question, be clear where you stand.  Don’t enable their drinking.  Get into Al-Anon to learn what you can do.  (Note: Resource with more info: http://tinyurl.com/6ltzet)


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any form of addiction is not good at all...

Thanks for sharing this very entertaining post though this is real and proven base also in my own experience. I believe that if you are wise enough to deal with this problem this will get solved sooner or later. Just be patient always. Never stop throwing advises to him when the timing is right. Because of this and a prayer of course, my husband is now starting to control his vices.Thanks to God.

I totally hate alcoholic people. I myself don’t drink alcohol. So thankful that my partner doesn’t like alcohol too.

Your articles and contents are inspirational.

Your blogs and every other content is so entertaining and useful It makes me come back again.

Hello there. I am new to this site and feel very sad today. I have been with my boyfriend who I love dearly, for 13 months. I am sure that he has a drinking problem and have watched him consume a bottle of vodka or similar in one sitting. He drinks every day and I think he is in denial. My approach has been to stay on my side of the fence and set boundaries to protect myself. My life is good and has continued the way it always has with the inclusion of him. He has asked if he can live with me but I have refused, thinking it would be lethal to me and seeing him a few times each week has been enough. I am at a crossroads though because being with him is now hurting me and I feel tired protecting myself and having to continually set boundaries. The last straw for me was last night when we celebrated my birthday at my mother's home. That part was good and enjoyable. Then we came home to my house and he proceeded to finish off a 4 litre cask of wine that he had bought earlier in the day. He stayed up drinking and listening to music as if I wasn't there. I eventually took myself off to bed. He came to bed around 2:30 and I woke up. Today he had a dance rehearsal early and he asked me to set the alarm on my phone for 7:30 am. I was woken up and felt really angry; loss of sleep and lack of consideration of me! He wanted to make love but expected to just lie there while he received the loving. I refused to engage and decided to move to another room. He was upset but quickly dropped off to sleep. I lay there and decided what to do. I couldn't go back to sleep. At 5:00 I woke him up and decided to tell him that I would take him to the train station because I had promised and because I was awake. I told him that if he was ready in the next 10 minutes, I would take him, but if not, then it was his problem because I was going to sleep. He chose to go. I drove him and told him to contact me when he can prioritize me higher than alcohol. When I dropped him off, I went home and texted him ,telling him how empty, sad and disappointed I felt. It's not working and I feel very sad. I want a partner in life who is responsive to me. I will not allow him to come back unless he deals with the alcohol because its just too hard. It feels so painful to let him go knowing that he mightn't come back, but I want someone who is more available. I love him but not all the stuff around alcohol. What is your opinion please.

I have always drank beer, no hard liquor except maybe once a year. My wife started to say that I could only have 1 beer a day. This drove me to Binge when she was away. Now we are in full arguments because she finds the the empty cans. She knows I like to Drink and by prohibition it only causes things to get worse. I would rather come home and feel if I want a Beer, I can have one instead of having to drink them fast while she is not around. I do not have withdrawals but I do drink to buzz stage which is sign of Alcholism.

I'm not convinced about the 'any sensible person' argument, however. A lot of this depends on how much the media has influenced people's thinking in the past. Particularly when talking about 'discrimination by omission'. As an example think of the *types* of stories that are 'sent to print'. Eg there are countless stories about the gender pay gap.
(incidentally I am sure on a purely statistical basis they are correct: men on average earn more than women - what I dispute is the reasons for this)

I don't drink any more due to health reasons.. But my husband does. Beer only most of the time anymore, but I can't stand the personality changes, the rude and crude comments and the smell. How can I help him understand that this is harming our marriage...

Dear Shirlie: You can help him understand that this is harming your marriage by saying it straight. Tell him exactly how you feel, how it's impacting your marriage and what you're going to do if he doesn't stop. I recommend you get into Alanon to help you decide what you're next move is as well. Do not try to be nice or understanding about his drinking or he will not hear the message. Be direct, respectful and strong.
Good luck-Lisa

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