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What defines an alcoholic

(20 Posts)
VivienScott Mon 25-May-15 12:04:01

Having recently split from my most recent ex (i.e. not my DC's dad) mostly because I thought he had a drink problem and he said he didn't and I was unreasonable, it's been going round in my head, like it does after a break up.

If he was working, or had some other reason he couldn't drink, he wouldn't, but when he drunk, he would just drink until he passed out. It was always one extreme to the other with him. We couldn't have a glass of wine each then finish the bottle the next day, he had to finish it, when he was drinking he would not leave any drink undrunk and to be honest he drunk whenever he could but he could also not drink a drop for periods of time.

He was also an unpleasant drunk and could never see it, nothing physical, just mean nasty comments and would always say he didn't want to be with me, though when he was sober he was as sweet as pie and incredibly loving.

Was I being unreasonable in saying he has a drink problem?

TulipOHare Mon 25-May-15 12:06:59

YANBU. That is most definitely a drink problem.

ImperialBlether Mon 25-May-15 12:08:30

No, you're not unreasonable at all. He clearly has a drink problem! The fact is that he didn't drink unless he could drink to get drunk, did he?

He will be justifying it in his head, thinking that because he can go for a while without a drink, he doesn't have a problem. That isn't the issue, though - he needs to ask himself whether he can just have one or two? He clearly can't.

I wouldn't be arguing with him anyway. He didn't suit you and that's it. Some people might find a daily glass of wine a drink problem; others might think drinking before noon is a problem. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks - you don't want to live with his level of drinking - and I don't blame you at all.

CrystalMcPistol Mon 25-May-15 12:09:07

I think it's easier to think in terms of problem drinking rather than a physical addiction. And it certainly sounds as though he has a problem with alcohol.

PrettyInPinkPan Mon 25-May-15 12:10:06

IF he is losing a relationship, in which he was otherwise loving outside of alcohol, then yes, he has a problem with alcohol. You are best out of it, without a doubt. No need to have an internal debate with yourself.

flora717 Mon 25-May-15 12:11:28

Yes, that's definitely problem behaviour as a result of his attitude to drinking. I'd say yes an alcoholic as well. Alcoholics have to stay completely clear of it when quit, because it's not possible to stop at one.

Birdsgottafly Mon 25-May-15 12:12:19

What your doing is common after an emotional/complicated break up, but don't overthink it from his POV.

He has a drinking issue, but he also simply prioritised having alcohol above treating you decently.

You Made the right choice to end it.

VivienScott Mon 25-May-15 12:14:06

Thanks all, I'm just at that shitty rose tinted glasses phase where you wonder if you were BU IYKWIM. I think I need to go and walk the dog, get some perspective and revel in being able to do my own thing for a bit, and possibly enjoy a glass of wine without the stress of thinking he'll get pissed if I have one!

LadylikeCough Mon 25-May-15 12:14:50

Purely from what you've written, YANBU.

Don't let it stew: many people with drink problems can waste all of their energy and yours getting into endless discussions about what exactly defines a drink problem, and strangely enough it's never the habits they have.

Someone who needs a drink every day will say 'but I don't get hammered' -- someone who sporadically but compulsively gets hammered will say 'but I don't drink all the time'.

From an alcoholic's point of view, YAalwaysBU when you question their drinking. Don't even bother. Glad you broke up with him.

Haffdonga Mon 25-May-15 12:17:38

My lay person's definition is it's a drink problem/ alcoholism when it has a negative or damaging effect on that person's life (health, relationships, work or family) yet they still choose to drink.

Your XP's drinking clearly had a very damaging effect on his relationship with you and his behaviour was affected negatively but he still chose to drink despite knowing this. That's a drink problem, right there.

Becauseicannes Mon 25-May-15 12:21:58

No yanbu, trust your instinct. I suspected a partner of being an alcoholic. 15 years later he most definitely is and only rehab will save him. I would define it as alcohol controlling his life/ using it as a crutch not to deal with emotional problems.

fatlazymummy Mon 25-May-15 12:48:30

I don't think it matters if he fits into a strict definition of alcoholism. The fact is ,his drinking caused problems for you, and he chose to carry on regardless.
You have to do whats right for you. (And definitely your kids if you have any).
Move on, and don't look back.
PS. I'm an ex 'problem' drinker. I decided my life was better without alcohol than with it, and I don't trouble myself with definitions beyond that.

Anydrinkwilldo Mon 25-May-15 12:53:17

My DF is a recovering alcoholic. He could go for months and be perfect and then suddenly one night he'd have a drink and literally drink the place dry, could disappear for a couple of days on a bender, come home and not drink again. In between benders he'd go out and have a 'normal' night out not sure what used to set him off (don't think he even knows himself). So YANBU, distance yourself from that behaviour. That's how it is now but could progress further.

PuntasticUsername Mon 25-May-15 12:55:28

YANBU at all. The behaviour you describe is definitely problem drinking.

Another thing problem drinkers very commonly do is to blame those around them for their drinking, and/or get very upset when they inconveniently insist on discuss the drinking when it causes problems, rather than just quietly letting the drinker carry on drinking as much as they want, whenever they want, because don't you know that's just what I DO?

It's not your fault, and you've made a perfectly sensible choice in leaving the relationship. Alcoholism is a horrible, horrible illness and you can't help an alcoholic unless and until they are ready to help themselves.

FlabulousChix Mon 25-May-15 14:02:59

Sounds more like binge drinking. My kids dad was an alcoholic and it killed him last year at the age of 49. Found rotting in his flat surrounded by drunk and not found for two weeks. He drank daily, he had the shakes when he woke until he had a drink.

strawberryblondebint Mon 25-May-15 14:10:16

I'm an alcoholic. His behaviour rings true with me. I have nearly 4 years sobriety now but if I had one drink I would have to have ten. No matter how much I promised and meant it as soon as the first drink went down I was planning the next. It's a mental and physical reaction. I had periods of no drinking but then letting my guard down and a bender would ensue. Likewise I had periods of daily drinking which always ended in hospital police or misery. The thing is you can't control it. You didn't cause it and you cannot cure it. If he is lucky like me he will hit his rock bottom and get some help. If not it's a progressive illness and the periods of sobriety will get shorter and the effects on him will get worse. It's a truly awful illness

Chatty987 Mon 25-May-15 14:15:13

Yanbu....definite drink problem.

IndridCold Mon 25-May-15 15:58:53

We have a friend who is exactly as you describe. If he has important commitments then he is able to stay off the booze. But when he drinks he gets completely blitzed.

We consider him to be an alcoholic, I'm afraid. He also has ADHD, and is quite a difficult friend, but he has no family and not many other friends, and he does think us as his closest friends.

amicissimma Mon 25-May-15 16:46:18

"... and possibly enjoy a glass of wine without the stress of thinking he'll get pissed if I have one!"

For me that's it. A problem drinker/alcoholic has people around them modifying, or thinking about modifying, their behaviour because of the drinker's drinking or potential drinking.

ImperialBlether Mon 25-May-15 18:26:48

Good for you staying off the booze for nearly four years, Strawberryblondebint. That's amazing.

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