Drinking a problem?

So I have been dating my boyfriend for half a year now and we get along just great. He is a wonderful Catholic man of God and I love him dearly. We have talked about marriage and having a future family and we agree on all the important things. My only concern is that I know he likes to drink beer (as most guys do) but for some reason it is an issue for me that I can’t seem to get over. I have nothing against drinking and know it can be a good thing because obviously Jesus drank wine. I drink occasionally as well. I know he likes beer a lot and when we go out or when he goes to see his guy friends he always drinks it. This will typically happen once or twice a week. He knows that I have issues with him drinking so often (it is to me) and so much even though he acts the same wether he has been drinking or not. I know this is at least in part my own issue but I don’t know how to get past it. Does anyone have some good advice they could give me?

It’s hard to say, on the basis of what you’ve written. Does he drink to drunkenness? If he does this regularly once or twice a week he is certainly at risk. Does he have memory gaps/black outs? Have other people (e.g his parents or siblings) remarked on his drinking?

You might look up the CAGE and AUDIT questionnaires – they are used in health care to identify people with potential alcohol problems.



He’s always had a few beers, even a few too many, once or twice a week.

Don’t expect him to change - please! If you don’t like it, then hold out for someone who drinks less.

Drinking a few beers a couple of times a week does not sound like a problem (although he shouldn’t drive after drinking). It sounds like you may have a tendency toward controlling behavior which should be more of a red flag for him.

It does’nt sound like he has a problem. Does his drinking interfere with his life’s priorities?
Does he drink to get drunk and beligernt or blackout? Does he miss work from his drinking?

I come from a large family (9 of us siblings) and I am the only alcoholic in my family. The rest of them drink and live a very comfortable life. After being with him for six months, you should be able to tell if he is an alcoholic.

God bless

Unfortunately, the results of the Protestant temperance movement in the 19th century crept into the way some Catholics think about the use of alcohol. There is nothing wrong whatsoever with the consumption of beer and for people of European descent beer and wine were equivalent to water, since most water was either rancid or had so many impurities that the only way our people could have any kind of fluid intake was if they drank beer or wine. Drinking is a part of Western culture going back thousands of years and is a part of our culture and life. We drink when we are happy, we drink when we are sad, we drink alcohol when we eat lunch and dinner, and we drink when we have parties or when we talk about theology or at any time whatsoever. Modern people have a desire to feel guilty about the wrong things and have no guilt about things they should be guilty about. There always has to be some new disease, neurosis, or disorder that the APA creates to make people feel dependent on their mental health circus. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with your man drinking and if you want to make him feel guilty about it, that is on you my dear. Catholics can drink and drink to the brim, but the only thing is you can’t get drunk and raise holy cane–that just won’t do.

If his drinking bothers you, you qualify for Al-Anon. Go to a few meetings and see if the support can help you. I do not advise getting married until you deal with this problem. Whether or not he is or is not an alcoholic, this issue needs to be addressed between the two of you. If you have a family history with drinking, it’s going to need to be dealt with.


Welcome, Purpleo.:slight_smile:

The important question is: Does he know his limit?

If he does, by all means, let him enjoy his beer.:slight_smile:

Talk with him and let him know how you feel, but, i warn against you trying to change his behavior as this will cause resentment in your relationship for both of you. Also, if it bothers you that much you should leave the relationship, never think you can change his behavior. Too many women get in relationships thinking they can change the other party to fit what they think is the perfect mate and that just sets them up for heartbreak and disaster…

Thanks for the replies. No he never drinks to the point of blacking out or anything. He drinks maybe 6 beers and is still fine. I’ve never been with someone who drinks so many beers and thinks its normal. We have talked about it… he told me that its not a problem and if he starts acting badly when he drinks THEN it will be a problem. I’m thinking maybe the couple of you who mentioned control issues (with me) may be right… Can anyone tell me what I can do if this is just a problem on my part? I do not wish to leave the relationship so that is out. I do want to stop nagging him though if possible. Its very hard for me not to get upset when he drinks so much even though he acts normally. Thanks again for any input.

Do you have a family history of alcoholism or problem drinkers? If so, you can find help with Al-Anon. See my previous post. Your boyfriend may indeed have a problem with alcohol - there are many alcoholics who do not get obnoxious when they drink. Some of them are “functioning” alcoholics who will binge on weekends or holidays. Some just drink every day or every few days. Regardless of what is going on with your boyfriend, you can find help through Al-Anon.

I’d say it is a matter of whether or not he knows how to drink moderately. My dad used to have a beer and a shot of whiskey every day after work, excepting Advent and Lent. (He said if you can’t give up alcohol for Lent, you have a problem.) In spite of the fact that drinking too much was somewhat prevalent among his contemporaries, I never once saw him drunk. Ever. I know no one else who has, and he is now an elderly man.

If your boyfriend abuses alcohol–that is, if he drinks with the goal of getting drunk–then that is a problem whether or not he is physically addicted. Those who use moderately will occasionally have too much, because human judgment is not perfect, but purposeful drunkenness is wrong, and not something a “wonderful Catholic man of God” ought to allow himself, any more than he’d allow himself an orgy of gluttony.

If he will agree that he will not use when he is down–that is, that he will never use alcohol as a medication for difficult times–then I would not worry if he has some beer when he socializes, provided that he is otherwise taking care of his health. (If he’s getting a “beer belly”, that is bad for him, too.)

A six-pack is not a single-person serving. Still, it depends on how long it takes him to consume that much. If he’s drinking it in a short time or if he’s a small man, that’s a problem. He’s not going to be fit to drive. This site just gives an estimate, but you two might look at this: ou.edu/oupd/bac.htm.

If he’s drinking his personal six-pack over six or eight hours or even more quickly if he is a big man, then it is still a matter of that is a lot of calories, dude. I have seen a lot of social beer drinkers who are not alcoholic but who find themselves five years after marriage with a weight problem. There are a lot of carbs in beer, and a “beer belly” is very bad for your health.

BTW, people develop a tolerance for alcohol. I know people working at emergency departments who have met individuals who were walking and talking with a blood alcohol level of around 0.7. Not 0.07, mind you…0.7. That’s a level that would be lethal to someone who doesn’t have an alcohol tolerance. So while it is good that a six pack doesn’t make him obnoxious, it is still a lot for one person to drink. He should be aware that his ability to keep his wits about him does not imply that he is fit to drive. A DUII conviction stays with you a long time, not to mention the kind of nightmares you can cause by driving when you are more impaired than you realize.

6 beers seems like a lot for more than the occasional evening out. I think my husband might drink 4 or 5 over many hours at a New Year’s party or a wedding, but that’s a couple times a year. Otherwise he has one or two a few nights a week, which is not problematic.

If your boyfriend is chugging a 6-pack on most nights, then yes, I’d be concerned. That seems like a high consumption, not just of alcohol, but of empty calories and overall just doesn’t seem healthy if it’s a habit.

Spreading 12 over a week is much better than having 12 over only two nights.

Ya know, its going to come down to whether or not you can ever be comfortable with the drinking. I suggest you find out exactly what your problem (fear, anxiety, personal experience, raised protestant, etc) is with his drinking? Then you can tackle the issue from that point of view. You can pray that he will slow or stop his drinking but aside from that???

I was raised among regularly-drinking Catholics, and I’d be concerned about a young man who thought that no one ought to raise an eyebrow at his tipping back a six-pack at a sitting twice a week. When a typical drinking episode is over 3-4 drinks, that has gone beyond what the medical profession would consider a moderate episode of drinking for an average-sized male, just for health reasons, whether she is “comfortable” with it or not.

if his behavior doesn’t change, i wouldn’t be concerned. only become concerned if he drinks to the point of intoxication. if he does that, then he has a problem.

she is asking for advice on dealing with a relationship that involves something she has an issue with yet she doesn’t want to leave the relationship. She isn’t asking whether he has a drinking problem and how to convince him into rehab…
i am only advising that it is not wise to stay in a relationship that makes you uncomfortable thinking that you can change him. that is a recipe that will in all likelihood FAIL…

You could be right, and your caution is well-taken. If he doesn’t see a thing wrong with it and continues to find nothing wrong with it, then she has to decide how much it bothers her. Married couples have tolerated worse and still celebrate 50 years ready to do it all over again, but that is a golden rule in courtship: Figure that whoever you marry will not change for the better, be ready to take a few things getting worse, realize that you are also not going to change in any of the ways anyone might hope, and you’ll come out about right. Whoever you take, it is for better or worse, and that is for real!

My point, though, was that this isn’t a level of drinking that would only raise red flags with a Protestant or someone raised with strict temperance ideals. I would not want to give her that idea.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.