Anna, 33, in London asks:
I have been with my boyfriend for over 3 years now and love him very much. Recently I’ve become concerned about the amount he is drinking. He started a new job at the beginning of the year and has been going for “after work drinks” 3-4 times a week. At the weekends I rarely see him without a beer in his hand, and I don’t like the person he becomes when he is drunk. He becomes rude and obnoxious, and rarely remembers the things he has said the following morning. He says I am over reacting and that he is just relaxing after work, but I feel it is more than this. Do I have a right to be worried? Would be grateful of any advice you can give.
I think it is natural to feel concerned when a loved ones behaviour changes, especially when their alcohol intake is increased also. It could be that he is trying to fit in to the after works drinking culture in his new role, but the fact he is then continuing this through the weekend could indicate that he has a problem with alcohol. You don’t say how much he is drinking, but the recommended weekly guideline for men is 21 units. That’s approximately 3-4 units a day, which is equivalent to a pint of 5-6% alcoholic strength beer. If your loved one is drinking more than this, and from what you say at the weekends he is, he could be risking his health.
It may be helpful for him to work out exactly how much he is drinking over the weekly guidelines. If he is drinking more than the recommended 21 units, he ought to consider cutting down. If he is drinking far more than this, it is really time for some tough talking, especially if his behaviour is affecting you and your relationship. If he continues to drink in this way, he will develop a tolerance and be at a high risk of becoming physically dependant. Basically Anna, the ball is I your court, he can only continue in this way around you if you allow it. If he is unwilling to cut down or seek help to do so, then you have to decide if this is how you want your relationship to continue.
It may be worth your while asking your boyfriend to cut down at the weekends and his after work drinks, if he refuses to try, or refuses help to assist him in this, then I would suggest you get in touch with Al Anon so you can learn how to deal with his behaviour and gain support for your self
Al Anon : Confidential Helpline 020 7403 0888
*Poppy is our resident agony aunt. If you have a question that you’d like to ask Poppy for publication on this blog, please email : firstname.lastname@example.org. Poppy is a columnist and as such can’t respond personally to emails. If you need immediate help or addiction advice for yourself or a loved please call: 0800 024 1476