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Is my fiancé an Alcoholic?

PERSONAL ADVICE: ASK DR. LISA

Q: “My fiancé always drinks too much — it doesn’t matter if it is with friends or if we are just hanging out. How can I tell him I want him to stop drinking — I am afraid he is an alcoholic.”

Trying to get a commitment from someone to never drink again is usually asking someone to make a promise they can’t keep. That sets the stage for disappointment and conflict. The fact is that only the individual can make the decision that drinking is out of control and that the pursuit of abstinence is their best option.

A more successful approach is simply and matter-of-factly pointing out the connection between your partner’s drinking and its consequences. These consequences can be physical, behavioral, and/or psychological. A few common
examples:

• “Have you noticed that over the past six months or so you tend to fall asleep early on the couch after having your evening drinks?”

• “You’ve been waking up in the middle of the night and having a hard time getting back to sleep. Have you noticed that that’s been happening ever since you increased your drinking?”

• “I noticed that you’ve cut way back on your exercising since you started having three or four glasses of wine every night.”

• “You say that you’ve been feeling kind of depressed and tired. That seems to have gotten worse as you’ve been drinking more.”

The matter-of-fact approach is much more likely to create a bond between partners than a confrontational approach or one that seeks complete abstinence rather than progress toward decreasing consumption. This approach is much more collaborative and has a greater chance of leading to positive changes.
Lisa Webb is at the Body & Mind Consulting Associates Group:
www.bodymindtn.com. Her latest book: “Boardroom to Bedroom, Using your Executive Success for your Marriage” is available at www.amazon.com

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