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Daughters Partner Cannot Control His Drinking, How Do I Advise?

My daughters partner is a very nice person who doesn't drink habitually, but when he does (which can be every two, to 6 weeks) - he becomes completely out of control with it.

They have 3 children under 3 and the youngest is premature, out of hospital 2 days ago. He went off on Saturday to a Christening and has still not returned tonight, i.e. 22.20 hours on Sunday.
He did his usual, said that maybe he shouldn't go, but felt that he should and was extremely concerned about the children, whom incidentally were coming down with temperatures and bad coughs.

He called regularly to see if they were ok, until he became oblivious with drink. He slept at a friends house all day and was not in contact with anyone, then went off to the pub again and is still there despite attempts by all his family to remove him.

They have split up before because of the same issue, each time he will leave drink alone for a while but then will repeat the same. He has been ill not too long ago with 'alcohol poisoning' and had cardiac symptoms. Nothing seems to get through.

I ask you if he is an Alcoholic, he seemingly and to his admission, cannot control his actions and thoughts when he has had one drink because it always leads to another, and another, until he is in a stupor.

I also ask you please, how can I advise my daughter, and later this week ... how can I advise him? I feel desperate for my daughter with such small babies and with this burden of someone she loves behaving where drink is his priority.
I am so sad, this person is such a lovely young man of 26 and has a good job, which if he is not careful, will lose if he is unable to work with a hangover.

Any suggestions would be so gratefully received. I don't think that leaving him is an option that she is able to take or would wish to do. Many thanks.


Alcoholism isn't defined by how much a person drinks. Many alcoholics are binge drinkers who don't necessarily drink daily. The key symptoms of alcoholism are 'dependence' and 'loss of control.'

So if he is not yet physically, but only emotionally dependent on alcohol and always loses control once he starts drinking, there is a strong case to answer that he is an alcoholic. Alcoholism is also progressive and follows a distinct pattern where it gets worse with time, so even if he is only in the early stages, it will get progressively worse.

Having said that though, it could just be that when he's with a particular group of his mates they get totally out of control and act irresponsibly because that's the only way they know to have 'fun.' Maybe you should get him, or ask your daughter, to take this alcoholism test on his behalf to see how serious the problem is.

The main thing though to realise is that if your daughter wants him to become more responsible, she's going to have to start putting some boundaries in place with him. Because until she decides 'enough' in her own mind and reaches the point where she refuses to tolerate his behavior, he knows he can get away with it and will continue.

So she needs to put her foot down and tell him that he either grows up and starts being a responsible parent to his kids by not disappearing when his family needs him - or there are going to be serious consequences. If he is a devoted partner and father, that will hopefully wake him up and realise he has to change.

Maybe your daughter can then negotiate some kind of middle ground with him - he can have one night out to party a month with his mates, but he has to sleep at home and be available to do family stuff the next day. That way he at least feels like he does get an opportunity to blow off some steam occasionally.

This is of course assuming he doesn't have a real alcohol problem and that his behavior is just a consequence of taking things too far when he's with his mates. If however he does have a problem, then you really need to encourage him to get help, and try and use his family as motivation to do so - because being a good father and partner is almost impossible for someone who has a drinking problem.

The main thing here is though that your daughter has to 'toughen up' to his behavior and start making it clear to him that she's not prepared to have him be a father that drinks like that and goes missing to do so. Hopefully its more a case of him just having to grow up a bit than the start of a serious problem, but either way your daughter has to talk to him and make it clear something is going to have to change.

Because if left unattended, things will get worse and their relationship will suffer. And their kids deserve more than that, because everything should be done to provide them with as loving and harmonious an environment as possible, which is next to impossible if both parents aren't on the same page.

Take Care and Good Luck.

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Nov 23, 2010
by: Anonymous

Thankyou for your response.
Actually that really helps me so much to have someone sanction my own thoughts, and actually those of my daughter.
This young man is such a lovely person and has great integrity, however as stated before, he cannot find a stop button once he starts drinking. I think its accentuated when he is out with certain friends but he is quite capable of doing this alone at home, which is a little more concern.
Its difficult to be a concerned parent but not cross the line to become an 'old nag' and I think what I need to do now is show this to my daughter and maybe she can find some strength from it also.
Many thanks.

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