Dating an alcoholic

Hello Everyone,

I need advice!

There is a wonderful young man in my life that I am very close with. I’m starting to wonder if dating might happen in the future. He has shown interest in me.

However, he has an addiction to alcohol. And he has admitted this to me. He is Roman Catholic, Like I am.

I would love to date this man but I am afraid of the alcohol issue. I’m wondering if I should wait to date him until he has addressed his alcohol issue. Or if it ok to date him before or during when he is addressing his addiction.

I would Love some advice!

The purpose of dating is to discern a suitable marriage partner, and an alcoholic will never be an acceptable spouse. Pass on him until he sincerely seeks help and makes a firm determination to stop drinking for the rest of his life.

Any addiction requires support and understanding from those around this person as they try to overcome the addiction. Personally, I would not want to begin a dating relationship with someone actively fighting an addiction. I would try to be supportive with my prayers and friendship through the process and hope this would be a good foundation for whatever came next.

Relationships that are born in such tumultuous conditions seldom stand the test of time. Let him deal with his addiction first. If you start dating him now, you risk becoming part of that cycle of addiction which will make it difficult for him to overcome the addiction and keep you in his life at the same time.

My niece is an alcoholic and she met her husband at AA, she is catholic he converted. For their wedding they had a “coffee bar”, no alcoholic beverages. They are both sober, for many years, they support each other and they have two wonderful children.

Addiction can be overcome with a choice and very hard work. If you are going to date this person, you need to set some very real rules about working on staying sober, joining AA, and both of you attending. It is going to be a difficult choice for both of you and once the journey is joined, if he is not sincere he will use you as an excuse and you must be strong enough not to become codependent.

When you date someone, you cannot assume they will change in anyway. It is unfair to the person you are dating, and it is unfair to you. In this case, if you choose to date him now, you must accept that he may never address his abuse of alcohol. In the case of dating him while in treatment, he may have to make difficult choices, and these choices may affect you in unexpected ways.

It is up to him to learn to manage his drinking, and ultimately up to him to decide if he needs to seek professional help. Forcing him into treatment, or manipulating him with the possibility of romance, could backfire. It would also be extremely stressful on both of you if you become emotionally involved, but then find you must give an ultimatum where he must choose between alcohol or you. Ultimatums never end the way you wish.

I would recommend against dating him.

I can tell you right now, it won’t work. I was married to an abusive alcoholic man for 9 years. He would not change for me. And I came to realise I can’t change anybody only they have to do it for themselves. He went to counseling twice and it didn’t help him cuz he didn’t want to give up the beer. He would forgo his meals at times just for that beer but I was lucky enough that he kept a job and didn’t lose it. It got to the point where he wouldn’t even consider my needs ahead of his. I knew what I had to do. Take care of myself. And I did. I filed for divorce and have been happier having made that decision.

Now I am engaged to wonderful faithful obedient Catholic man who is everything I want in a husband. You will have some hard choices to consider. Look at the future down the road for yourself. Is this what you really want for your life and your future children?? Think about this very carefully. This type of relationship seldom works.

Women date men thinking they will change them; Men date women thinking they won’t. No one grows up thinking “I think I’ll marry an alcoholic so my life can be tumultuous and filled with fear, violence, chaos, financial insecurity and employment / housing uncertainty”. It always begins with “he’s a nice guy who I think will change with a little structure…”.

Don’t start engaging with him in a dating relationship unless those things are what you want you and your children to live with daily in your household.

(This is all conditional on him being an active drinker. If he has 5+ years of sobriety different story.)

Much good advice has followed your question. I am curious, you say he has admitted to being an alcoholic. Is he in treatment or taking steps to overcome this addiction? I hope so.

Do not even think of dating him until he is clean and sober for at least a year. Do not spend time with him even as a “friend.” A woman’s natural nurturing approach will make it very difficult to extract yourself…he “needs” you. That is almost irresistable.

I speak from the perspective of the daughter of an alcoholic and as the former SIL of an alcoholic. My sister thought she could fix him or save him. She couldn’t He almost killed her in a car accident, became physically abusive to her and their children. Both children are a mess, both addicts themselves. Realize that alcoholism runs in families and if you want to marry this guy, your children are at risk for a greater likelihood of substance abuse.

Run, do not walk. Pray for him but avoid getting involved even as a “friend.”


We are all “damaged goods.” Some of us have more visible injuries than others and all of us need support through this life.

Your friend is an admitted alcoholic. Hopefully, he is seeking treatment for his condition (do not enter into a lasting relationship with someone who is not). If you do pursue a relationship with him, you would be tightly integrated into his struggle. As such, you will likely need support, such as from Al-Anon (this is for family members of alcoholics - not for alcoholics themselves). Among other things, you will likely have to become a teetotaler in order to better help him.

I am in full understanding already, that I cannot change him, only God can do that. I pray for him everyday.

I’ve read stories on an al-anon website were sometime during the 12 step AA process between steps 5 and 9 people have successfully started relationships and remained married after achieving sobriety. I understand this isn’t always the case, but I’ve only read testimonies.

If you are looking into getting into a relationship with this young man, you have to look at where he is at now. Does the qualities that he possess now equal the qualities that you are looking for in a husband?

Also, once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. This is going to be something that you and him will have to combat in your marriage every day - and his addictive personality could transfer to other addictions, or evolve into abuse of other substances, or even you and your children.

Are the struggles that you are seeing him go through the struggles that you want to go through as his wife, and struggles that you want your future children to experience? Addictive personalities are passed through the generations, so his struggles could very well be your children’s struggles if you decide to commit to him.

Right now, be a good friend by doing what is best for his soul. Pray for him. Be a Catholic example of charity to him. Also, you could talk to your priest about the best way you can help him out - which may very well be not as his girlfriend. If you are looking down the road and seeing this relationship lead to marriage, you have to also see that he isn’t ready for that kind of relationship. He’s not ready to be a husband and a father to you and your future children. He needs to focus and tackle this addiction.

God bless and guide you in this and all decisions,

Chloe M.

Ugh. Why roll the dice with your future happiness and that of any children God may give you, by “taking a chance” of falling for a man with a serious, far-reaching addiction/habit. :eek: I know that’s not what you want to hear, but if you begin a relationship with him, you begin a relationship with his alcoholism and problematic behaviors that result. And that’s just for starters. Wouldn’t it be better to continue to pray for him and leave it at that. The attraction and care you have for him, will be there for you to share with another someone. Not only that, but if you settle in with him, you cut off your opportunities for meeting someone remarkable who is well suited for marriage, which the young man currently in your life, is not.

Here is my honest advice to you. It’s dangerous for you to date an alcoholic. I dated one for 10 years and I stayed as I had hope and faith this man would change. I thought I would be the perfect match for him and that I could show him the WORLD. The high level dangers you may face:

Selfish behaviors
The Booze may always come before you
Lies and or withholding information
You may not be able to trust - without trust - how can you love
Jealousy - We aren’t supposed to be Jealous
Neglect and self worthy is what you may feel and loneliness
And most of all
Will this man be able to fill the sacraments needed in a marriage?

I got lost along the way and I have so much healing to do.

Love GOD above all things, Listen to him and trust yourself, if you have to question it, it’s probably not healthy and GOD is speaking to you “Listen”

Bless you and the best of luck to you…patience is a beautiful thing…let GOD help you and us on our new journey+

I am a recovering alcoholic/addict.

My advice is don’t date him.

He is already in a full time 24/7 relationship with booze.

There is no room in his life for a true commitment to anyone or anything else.

He may choose, at some point, to severe his relationship with booze for good, seeking appropriate counsel if necessary, making the life changes to support that decision, and after a time of healing and growth he may be ready to commit to someone.

but he is not there yet.

Your love and support cannot save him and are unlikely to spur him on to stop drinking, sadly the opposite is likely.

I too am a recovering alcoholic (you are never fully recovered) and I have been sober for over 4 1/2 years. If you have visited al-anon sites, why not attend a few meetings?

I too hope your friend is getting treatment. Part of that treatment will be realizing that a higher power can set you free from your addiction. For me, that higher power is God. If he is in recovery, if he is going through the 12 step program, has he gotten a sponsor and started working the steps? If not, why? Is he in denial? You say he admits to being an alcoholic (or did he just admit he drinks too much… these are two very different things). If he is working the steps, what step is he on? One of the keys is being active in AA and having a sponsor who will work with you and make you accountable to yourself.

In AA, they recommend that you do not enter into any relationships for quite some time. There is really not a time constraint on it, but you need to be sober and not dry-drunk or relapsing. You have to be very careful with these relationships too because it could cause a relapse.

My advise to you would be to just be his friend. If we feel a desire to help him with his addiction, that is fine… help him get to meetings, get a sponsor and do the things he needs to do to clean up his life and beat the addiction. It is a horrible addiction and it can hurt, both physically and emotionally, those around you and those you love.

Know one thing though. As rough a road as this might be for him, God will never give up on him.

God bless,


There’s a lot of good advice here today.
But Lisa’s last line, for me encapsulates a lot of good advice and talk on this thread.

RUN…Don’t walk.!!! Pray for him. Don’t get involved. (This action could be the wake up call he needs, who knows?..right now that’s a “him problem” not a “you problem”).

WHY? I’m an alcoholic. (currently in remission, one day at a time, and through the Grace of God). Even if he went into treatment today…the advice (more like a rule), is NOT to get involved in any relationships for at least one year.

There’s an old saying and there’s A LOT OF TRUTH to it >>>>>>>>>>>>>
Alcoholics don’t get into relationships…they take hostages.

Just everyday folks have enough problems…you don’t need to get involved with this guy with all this baggage…And from my experience as a “booze bag” (that’s a term I use for me),for many years…The baggage is more like a giant steamer trunk on your back.

There’s plenty of good men out there if you look around and choose carefully.
(And that year thing, that’s his business too, when he thinks he’s ready, let someone else roll the dice on him.) Maybe I sound hard…But it takes one to know one, every real alcoholic ,is just one drink away from his true love…forever. That’s also why I use the term, “Remission” instead of Recovery, to describe my journey.

In my opinion, you recover from the flu…cancer like alcoholism, goes into remission.
That’s this alcoholics opinion and experience.

Go to a few Al-anon meetings and listen to the experiences of the people fighting in the trenches with active Alcoholics…If that don’t send you running…well.

If you really want a “fixer upper” buy an old house, it might hurt your wallet ,but it won’t break your heart ,and ruin your life.
Just make sure it has a good foundation…you’ll find in life, everything, houses, relationships, businesses, Faith…Lasting ones always start with a good foundation.

Good luck to you, and God Bless.

One other word of advice… don’t ask him to become sober for you. If you truly want him to get sober, he HAS to do it for HIMSELF. That might sound selfish, but if he tries to become sober for you, and the two of you don’t work out for some reason, he has no other reason to stay sober. The worst thing I have seen is someone who worked so hard to become sober, and then their love in their life leaves (for whatever reason) and then they relapse into alcoholism.

If you really want to see him help himself, he must do it for himself… no other reason. If he turns his life over to God and asks God to remove this sickness from him, God will help him. He must be willing though to give his life to our Lord and savior though.

God bless,


This thread is over a year old.

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