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Facing Reality of Alcoholism

Community Member

Hi all,

I have been with my partner for two years and he is my dearest friend and someone who I feel I can truly be myself with. About a year ago he told me that he believes he is an alcoholic - because he could never stop at one drink (or five, or six etc) and he felt dependent on it. I have seen a lot of people engage with alcohol this way who don't believe they have a problem at all, and I guess I thought since he was acknowledging it himself, he was the one who identified the problem, and I hadn't really felt any particular issue with his drinking, I figured it wasn't a big deal. But I wanted to support him - so we've done a few different things over the year, we've both quit drinking together for short periods of time. We've had a calendar where we marked the days he didn't drink so he could see how he was doing across the course of a month (he went two months where he only drank a few days of the month). But I guess the past few months have been stressful, with pressure of study and social isolation. He started drinking fairly regularly again, the main issue of which really is that he can't really afford it and also that he never really invites me to drink with him, so he'll come home with a bottle and sit down with it and not even ask if I want a glass (though is happy to share if I ask). For a couple of weeks recently he started exercising every morning and afternoon and he didn't drink in that time, but then we went away and had a big weekend.

Anyway, just recently he got so drunk and it was actually really hard to handle. He was unpredictable, forgetful, and eventually hostile. When we got home he passed out and I wrote down everything that had happened for him to read the next morning, which he did. He was very upset by it all, and felt he didn't deserve to be with me. The next day he emailed me from work and said he wants to quit drinking and asked me to talk to my family for support with this. He asked me to tell my parents so they don't offer him drinks at dinners etc.

I feel like this is positive, but I'm scared as well of the possibility that things could get worse, not better. I guess I think I'm actually facing the reality that he's an alcoholic for the first time. Any support would be much appreciated... Thank you all.

10 Replies 10

Community Member

Hi Capybara,

Thanks for sharing. I think you will find much support and similar stories in these forums. I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict and have maintained my sobriety for 19 years. Alcoholism and addiction are the result of a mental illness where the sufferer has an inability to control his/her emotions and therefore seeks an escape within alcohol or drugs. I know I did.

You are correct in that only he can recognise it and be responsible for his recovery but good on you for being there to offer support. From what you describe, it seems that he does share common traits of a dependency on alcohol. One great source of information is to go into the website of www.aa.org.au where you will find multiple resources to assist you indetermining a course of action. There are many forms of recovery and there is not really a one fits all program. In my case, I had to go to rehab for 9 months and continue with support from various ongoing support groups but it is what works for me.

The main difficulty he will face is the fact that alcohol is socially acceptable and in there lies his ability to make a decision where if he feels that he is in danger of relapse because there is alcohol served at a social event, he needs to find support of someone who knows he is an alcoholic and/or have the ability and strength to walk away from the situation.

You are not alone, there are many sufferers and as such, a vast network of support. Be strong and move forward, you are heading in the right direction.

Thank you 🙂

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hello Capybara, and thanks Morpheous for your reply a great insight to a problem he will be facing.
I've just replied to Irish it's not particularly related to your post, but you may find it helpful.
An alcoholic can abstain for several weeks/months but they are still an alcoholic, simply because he will return to his drinking, which he has done, and not in a pleasant way.
It's good that he has asked you to inform his parents and family not to offer him a drink, that's good but if he wants to stop then he needs to test himself by having a bottle or a glass full of alcohol sitting next to him and not be tempted to drink it, that's the real test, because an alcoholic who has stopped drinking can sit next to this bottle all day without raising a sweat, dry mouth or be getting the DT's.
Just be spiteful that he doesn't leave the family dinner often if he does then he has hidden some alcohol somewhere, or he may have had a drink before the party, alcoholic's are cunning and will do anything to get a drink. Geoff.

Community Member

Hi Geoff,

Thanks for your comments. He's never been dishonest with me about drinking, and he was the one to identify his problem so I think, at least at this stage, hiding drinks and the like is not something I need to worry about, but it's something I'm aware of.

Hi everyone - things have progressed (sort of for the better and then not for the better) and I guess I have some questions I was hoping people might be able to help with.

Two weeks ago my partner and I both quit drinking with the intention of it being "for good" this time, no cheat days, no cutting down. This was after he asked me to tell him that I needed him to stop. He felt that would help him in his resolve.

I thought we were doing well... But the reality is he's been drinking secretly. I think at least twice in the past 15 days. Last night I came home and noticed he'd been out because the car had moved, when I sat next to him I was sure I could smell alcohol and then I noticed any time I left the room I would hear him drink from his water bottle. I asked him "are you drinking?" and he straight away said "no". Said he'd tell me if he was. I felt totally gutted. I knew straight away that he was lying because he responded so quickly and didn't even ask why I was asking that.

The conversation escalated, he kept lying and I asked him to give me the bottle and he said no. I took it eventually because part of me couldn't believe he was lying without "proof". I poured the wine out and cried. He became very distant, wouldn't let me near him and asked me to leave him alone. I guess my main questions are:

1. Did I handle it badly to take the alcohol from him and how do I talk about this with him? I know I can't stop him from drinking but I was just so upset about being lied to and it was almost a reflex to pour it out.

2. Is there hope for us as a couple? I have tried to find stories about people getting through this but everything seems to just be "why I left my alcoholic partner" or "why you should leave" ... I don't want to leave... I love him and I want a life with him, and it feels like there's this whole crowd that's just like "walk out" but if people can recover from drinking then surely there's the possibility that we can get through this?

3. I think I know the answers but i guess want to check... is he hiding it and lying about it because he's ashamed? And because he just can't stop and I'm now something that "gets in the way" of him drinking? I find this really hard because I never really wanted to say he had to stop drinking for me because I was worried that would make him feel he couldn't be open with me, and it seems that's exactly how it has turned...

Many thanks in advance..


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member


Gold news is yes you can work as a couple. Don't get me wrong...it's not easy. I met my partner of 17 years in A.A and know of alot of people who have gone on to have what's regarded as a normal life. Kids, house etc.

Yoh did the right thing..telling him it wasn't so much the drink but the lies that upset you was great.

Might be a idea to contact Alanon. It's for family and friends of alcohoics. They can help you learn to set healthy boundaries and also give you a social outlet with partners going through the same thing.

In my first year of getting sober a bunch of us would go out on Saturday nights drinking then go straight into a early Sunday morning A.A meeting...took 2 years before what we called the busters club was over.

17 years later all of us are still sober with lives we never thought possible.

All he needs to do is want to give up drinking. Very few of us manage it the first few times but once a person is willing and wanting to quit eventually they will succeed.

Pease don't worry to much depression is a normal part of giving up any addiction but a trip to a GP helps.

Community Member
Thanks Bethie, it helps to hear that. I should clarify that I am not an alcoholic, I just quit drinking at all to support him.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Your a good person to support him like that.

Please keep posting good or bad because it's not a easy road your going down but it is a amazing journey with alot of love

Community Member

Hi all,

I wanted to write a little update, there are good and not-so-good things but I find writing about it helpful and it sort of "documents" it all here for me. I can look back on these conversations and see how things have progressed and changed and re-visit advice. So thank you for this space and for the support.

We have not successfully quit drinking. My partner doesn't drink as much as he used to, even when there's alcohol in the house. He will often buy a bottle of wine, drink half and pour the other half out. He doesn't do that as regularly but he has had a couple of big nights in the past few weeks (always on weekends, always in party contexts where others are drinking heavily). I know it's not ideal that he's drinking at all, and so does he, but he's a lot more conscious of it and has never been rude or hostile with me again. But last night he did get a bit paranoid, someone had sort of put him down early in the night and then when we were walking home after having great fun dancing to a live band and laughing with friends he said people made him feel small, that people were looking at him like they hated him and stuff. He kept saying "I know I'm drunk, I know that's probably fueling this" but got upset when I'd ask why he thought people would do that and stuff, said I didn't understand.

Anyway, I was looking up alcohol-related paranoia and it does worry me that if he is an alcoholic then there are so many unavoidable consequences of him drinking on any level. Another positive I guess is that he has started talking about getting professional help. He even look up a psychologist in the area who specialises in addiction. He's had conversations with his mother who said he needs to see a professional to know for sure if he is an alcoholic, because if he is then it's just like if a doctor told you you can't eat gluten or you'll get sick. And he gets that. He hasn't seen anyone yet, but I know from my own experience of getting help that it can take a while from when you first have it suggested, to when you look into options, to when you actually book an appointment. So I'm giving him time but might talk to him again soon just checking in on how he's feeling about doing that.

Thanks for reading... C