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CupcakesandTea's avatar

Could the guy I'm dating be an alcoholic?

Asked by CupcakesandTea (353points) April 3rd, 2011
25 responses
“Great Question” (0points)

I’ve recently started dating a guy that I met. We have been on about five dates now and out of the the five dates he has had a drink for about three of them. He doesn’t just drink one but he will drink at least two. Granted he only drinks beer but this does concern me. I feel like he is obsessed with drinking since he talks about it all the time. He will text me and tell me that he is drinking. At first he told me that he only drinks on the weekends but I have found that he also drinks on the weekdays as well. I really like him and he has not mistreated me even once but I am worried about the situation. He does not seem to be aware that he drinks a lot (so he doesn’t think he’s an alcoholic). I get that he is 25 and likes to enjoy himself but this is worrisome.

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AmWiser's avatar

Could he be an alcoholic….yes!

faye's avatar

I don’t think he fits the criteria. Look up alcoholic on google. I don’t know of any alcoholic who’d be satisfied with or stops at 2.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

The more important question is: do you find his amount of drinking to be too much to continue in a relationship with him? The label isn’t really important – the world isn’t as black and white as alcoholics and not-alcoholics.

zenvelo's avatar

From what you have said it certainly does not seem that he has alcoholic behaviors. Alcohol interferes with the lives of alcoholics, to the point they choose alcohol over a more rational choice.

A couple of beers on a date is not alcoholic drinking, neither is having a beer during the week.

WasCy's avatar

If he lies about his alcohol intake it’s a very bad sign. (Two beers a night doesn’t seem out of line, assuming he’s not working at night, for example, or driving right afterward, or drinking again when he gets home. But saying that he’s not even doing it… that’s worrisome.)

KateTheGreat's avatar

If it’s just beer, I wouldn’t worry about. Now if he is lying about his drinking, that could be a problem.

Or he could be Russian, like me, and that’s a problem in itself.

But good luck with him, if he keeps lying about his alcohol intake, drop him!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

The lying could be a problem – or, he could have been really nervous the first couple of dates, and thought you wouldn’t like him if he drank on weekdays. That seems more on the level of lying about just how much power you have at work, much different from lying about if you drank the entire liter of vodka last night.

faye's avatar

I wonder why you said he has not mistreated you. Alcoholics are not automatically abusive.

Disc2021's avatar

Does it cut into his work/school/life? Does he get bombed each time? Is it all he does?

If it bothers you, why not talk to him about it?..

mrentropy's avatar

As usual, I’m with @WasCy on this. The lying about drinking is worrisome.

@faye When it comes to alchoholics, ‘abusive’ is open to interpretation. It was years before my wife hit me or threw something at me, but there were a lot of things I could put in the ‘mental abusse’ column. People not involved in the situation wouldn’t see it as any big deal but when you deal with it on a daily basis there’s a pattern.

My wife was such an alcoholic it claimed her life, but if she wanted to she could not drink. She didn’t drink very much when we were first going out and it was only when I was hooked to her that she really started. With me. According to some of her family members her drinking was a huge problem before and it subsided a lot when we first started seeing each other.

But the one common thing I have seen in alcoholics and heard from Al-Anon meetings and reading is lying about the drinking.

SpatzieLover's avatar

All signs point to yes!

faye's avatar

@mrentropy I certainly agree with mental abuse, my ex-bf had that down pat. But my ex- husband was a happy drunk, the problem was always drunk, not abusive.
We had to ask (invasive unless directly a problem) patients about how much they drank at home and commonly doubled what some said.

Cruiser's avatar

Need more information to say for sure if he fits the definition of an alcoholic. But if he drinks on your dates when you are not….that is not a good sign. He may just be nervous around you and needs a little liquid courage. Talk to him and express your preference for booze free dates and see how that plays out.

mazingerz88's avatar

If you really like him I’d say give him a chance, get to know him better. I’ve known several guys who drank more than him at that age and lost interest in beer ( no they did not switch to hard ) after they went into serious relationships and eventually got married. Also I hope he’s not under the impression you like guys who drink. Guys could be that idiotic yes.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I dated a man that did not exhibit any signs of being an alcoholic while we dated. The telltale sign (and you must listen if someone says something even in passing) was when I met his sister. We were at a restaurant and he got up to go to pay the bill, and she leaned over and said, “Has his drinking gotten out of hand yet?” I remember being stunned. “What drinking?” I asked.

What drinking? You’re joking, right?” she responded.
I said (truthfully): “He doesn’t drink, not that I know of.”
She said, “Well, that’s a first!”
I let it go, thinking that she was just being a bit mean-spirited (as siblings can be at times.)

Then, we went on a trip. And then, I found out the truth. He was hiding bottles in the hotel room, sneaking around and spending too much time in the bar in the lounge. And he did get nasty when I questioned him. He got more animated and embarrassed me in front of people in public. It was a nightmare. Thank goodness, I didn’t get too deeply involved and ditched him after the trip.

I think that alcoholics can hide their behavior quite well, especially if they are attempting to impress you. But eventually, they cannot pretend.

I would be extremely cautious.

augustlan's avatar

Too little information is available to say for sure. He may just be young and drinks a lot (as many young people do), or he may have an actual problem. In my experience, what makes one an alcoholic is the need for alcohol, whether it actually causes problems in their lives or not. If he can’t do without it, or seems to suffer without it, he’s an alcoholic.

nikipedia's avatar

Whoa, I think some responses on this thread are seriously overreacting.

Saying he only drinks on weekends and then having a drink on some weeknights doesn’t sound like a lie to me—a lie implies that he’s deliberately misleading you or actively hiding something. He might have simply meant, that he usually only drinks on the weekends with some exceptions, or maybe that he would only let himself get drunk on a weekend. Given that he drinks in front of you, and texts you mentioning that he’s drinking, it doesn’t sound like he’s being deceptive at all.

In my world, a beer or two with a meal barely even registers as “drinking.” What you are describing does not sound to me like alcoholism, or even vaguely problematic. However, if you have a problem with the amount or type of drinking he does, I think you should feel comfortable having an open and honest conversation with him about it. If he gets angry or defensive, that might be a red flag.

downtide's avatar

Two drinks during the course of a date is not alcoholic behaviour. Even two drinks a night, seven nights a week, wouldn’t be enough to consider him alcoholic. An alcoholic can’t stop at two.

asmonet's avatar

@downtide: The number matters less than the dependence. Yes, most alcoholics can’t stop once they start. But, the person who can’t let go of it as a relaxant every night of the week is still using it as a crutch.

That is still a dependency if they can’t or won’t stop either.

I’ve known both kinds, the similarities run deep. The crutch drinker is less common, but they are there. And I still consider them alcoholics at least.

Buttonstc's avatar

I picked up a very valuable tip from recovering alcoholics regarding addiction in general.

It’s not how much that’s the critical factor. It’s the “why”.

That’s a little more difficult to evaluate but far more accurate. Many alcoholics can moderate the amounts they drink so that it’s not so blatantly apparent to others, especially in the early years.

But if someone’s relationship with alcohol is anything more than casual (basically a “take it or leave it” approach, depending on circumstances) then there is a high potential for the NEED for alcohol (or pills or whatever) to increase over time.

This factor is possibly what is prompting you to question his drinking. It seems as if you’re sensing that something is “off” with him and his drinking, compared to other average people whom you know. Would that be the case here?

SOMETHING is giving you concern about it as I assume it’s not SOP for you to get overly concerned about the drinking of most guys you date.

Since I’ve never met either him or you, there’s no way I can definitively say if he’s an alcoholic or not.

But the fact that his relationship to alcohol is raising even the faintest little alarm bell for you indicates a huge “SLOW—proceed with extreme caution” sign flashing before me.

Also be aware that the more you harp on his drinking, the more likely that he will take greater care in hiding it from you or minimizing it.

If it were me, I’d be dating other guys and either drop him or keep things very casual regarding romantic involvement with him. Once you fall for him, it will make it so much easier to ignore your intuition in this matter. If you don’t want to drop him, just be sure to keep an eye on this.

You might also find it helpful to go to a few Al-Anon meetings (for family and friends of alcoholics) and strike up a few conversations after meetings with others and ask them what were the first signs and what made them brush it off or ignore the inevitable.

This might give you some helpful pointers from people who have dealt with this for years. There is a lot of collective wisdom in those groups.

But what it boils down to is following your own instincts. IF (and that’s an important IF) he is an alcoholic or potentially one, he’s likely in the very early stages. That makes it so much harder to make a judgement call on it.

But something is nagging at you about WHY he drinks the way he does. Listen to that something and try to get that nailed down more precisely.

One good resource, as others have mentioned, is other members of his family. You don’t want to drill them like a prosecuting attorney, but be alert to any opportunities for casual inquiries about it.

Also try to find out if there are other members of his family or ancestors with a history of alcohol problems. The more there are, the likelier that there could be a genetic component also present.

Try to get a feel for his parents’ attitudes toward alcohol as that’s where his strongest influences are likely to be.

Just keep the basic principle about alcohol in mind: it’s not necessarily how much, but why someone is drinking that is most important.

You also mentioned that he initially told you that he ONLY drinks on weekend and that you later found out that he drinks during the week as well.

However, you didn’t say how you discovered that. Did he offer up the additional info of his own volition or only after it was obvious you’d find out anyway so he figured he might as well come clean about it?

Since you didn’t really specify, that’s why I hesitated to assume he was lying about it or trying to cover it up or minimize it.

But, quite frankly, people who are NOT alcoholics don’t really have a need to hide or disguise their alcohol frequency. It just doesn’t occur to them (non-alcoholics) that there would ever be a need to do that for any reason.

Depending upon how all this came up, it would likely raise a potential red flag for me.

Just for curiosity, exactly how did you discover that his initial “only” statement was stunningly inaccurate?

BarnacleBill's avatar

Are you talking you go out for pizza and he has a beer or two, or do you mean he comes over with a beer in hand? Drinking a beer with food, or meeting friends at a bar to shoot pool or watch a game on TV is different than drinking a six pack in one sitting.

Lots of people drink beer regularly and aren’t alcoholics. I would be more concerned that he talks about it, and that he texts you to tell you he’s drinking. That sounds rather immature, like “Look at me, I’m cool. I can drink, and I am.” That’s not impressive, and can be annoying. Some social circles revolve around drinking, and it sounds like his is probably more prone to that than yours. And going out to drink on a regular basis can be a huge financial drain.

Perhaps you’re socially incompatible. You might want to point out that he seems to be wanting to impress you by the fact that he’s out drinking, and you’re not impressed.

theninth's avatar

Don’t listen to everyone who says things like “Alcohol interferes with the lives of alcoholics” because it doesn’t always. There are alcoholics who can and do function quite well. They have jobs, show up on time, get their work done, earn bonuses for being fantastic at their jobs, go to the gym, take care of business, and seem to have everything together. Until the workday is over. Then they drink too much until they pass out. Sleep it off, get up in the morning, and do it all over again.

If he drinks to the point of getting drunk every single time, that’s more of an indication than anything else. If he has two drinks on a date and then goes home and drinks himself into a stupor, THAT is evidence.

Don’t listen to everyone answering you saying “Oh yeah, he has a problem” because you don’t know if he does. If you can, talk to his friends or his family.

Or, if you’re really worried and think he might have a problem he’s hiding, break up with him now before you get too attached.

blueiiznh's avatar

It sounds like it is something already that are differences in what each of you are about.
I can understand how it can be a dealbreaker. If your gut says it is an issue, then it is an issue to you. This does not mean the HE has an issue.
There really is not enough information to go on here.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I just wonder if you’ve said something about drinking (not his, just drinking in general) from the beginning. Are you totally against ALL drinking? If so, this may be his way of telling you that he likes you but, hey….he does drink beer now and again. Perhaps he’s feeling somewhat defensive? I’d also have to see the context in which he texts you that he’s drinking. Like:
You: “Wat up?”
Him: “Shootin pool and drinkin beer.”
That’s a normal kind of text. However, the way you make it sound it’s like he texts you out of the blue specifically and ONLY to tell you that he’s drinking. I somehow don’t think that’s the case.
I’d have to see everything in context and know what he’s getting from you to really make a call.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@blueiiznh I just read your response….exactly what I meant, only you said it more-better!

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