Ask Joe: “Fiance needs to get drunk every night”


Joe Herzanek Addiction CounselorAsk Joe:

Q: “I need help because I’m not able to deal with my live-in fiance’s need to get drunk every night”

Dear Joe,
I need help because I’m not able to deal with my live-in fiance’s need to get drunk every night. I’m not comfortable with it.

He says I need counseling to just deal with it because lots of people drink every night. He comes up with bizarre stuff to justify his drinking. Like he’s an Aquarius so he has to drink because that’s just what Aquarians do. He also says it’s because he’s so filled with hate, anger and rage at the whole world because he DEMANDS everyone in the world respect his authority/superiority and fall in line accordingly.

This scares the crap out of me because I grew up with this kind of rage but my family does not drink because they’re Methodist Christians and are against drugs and alcohol. But my mom still had that kind of rage and so I’m a very timid person who can not handle people’s rage and anger. I really fear for my future, either way. I tell him that I can not and will not be with a drunk but then he goes off on the same I’m an Aquarius I have to drink I’m so angry and filled with rage I have to drink or I’ll kill someone.

I’m not at all comfortable with it. I believe in a clean and sober drug & alcohol free life just like my family. Also neither of us believe in god we are pagans so religious AA stuff would not help. He is also 4000 miles from his home and birthplace so it’s not like I’m just casually dating. I’m at a complete loss. His drinking makes me miserable and I don’t even fully understand why. What am I supposed to do?

A: Dear Fiance,
This is a very easy email for me to reply to.
You have two options—only two.

Option one: Continue to live together with this very disturbed individual and do the best you can to accept that your life will be hell and you will suffer a great deal. From what I have read in your post, this guy is FAR from seeing the light, has no interest whatsoever in recovery. If it were me I would go for option two.

Option two: Immediately go to the bedroom, grab a few things, put them in a bag or suitcase and leave this guy to go and begin a new life and go to lots of Al-Anon meetings. Never mind that I guess because as you say, “neither of you believe in God.”*

Option three: Oooops, sorry there is NO option three.

So now you can decide between one or two.

Best regards,


– Is a Relapse–Failure?

 – If someone can stop using . . . they “aren’t” an addict–correct?

– If both parents are addicts, does that increase the child’s chances of addiction?

– How can I know if my addicted friend or loved one is telling me the truth?

Author/Chaplain Joe Herzanek

Addiction Recovery Resources for Families of Substance Abusers, Addicts and Alcoholics

Get the help you need today.

Why Don't They Just Quit?

Why Don’t They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.


* Read page 255 in “Why Don’t They Just Quit?” (Ask Joe: Do you have to believe in God to attend AA or Al-Anon meetings?)

Why Don’t They Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery.


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7 thoughts on “Ask Joe: “Fiance needs to get drunk every night”

  1. Pingback: Monthly Review: Yes!!! I am an Addict's Mom, Utah's Heroin Problem and more | Changing Lives Foundation Blog

  2. Joe

    Oooops, one more thing. They don’t make a pill to fix addiction problems. It would be nice if someone did. It would be nice if I were a little taller but I’m not 🙁

  3. Joe

    “He has tried AA, but I don’t believe he commits to the program”

    Your solution is in this sentence from your post. AA never works for those who ‘give it a try’ It only works when you ‘commit’ Just like almost everything else in life.

  4. Alissa

    My how Deb’s story sounds like mine! The only difference is my fiance knows and admits he has a problem (maybe her fiance also admits this), but gives in to his temptation after every promise to quit. He has tried AA, but I don’t believe he commits to the program. He works in a restaurant with a bar and I don’t think this helps the situation at all.
    He is considering Antabuse or Vivitrol. Any advice?

  5. Oraclepro

    As was mentioned above “Also neither of us believe in god we are pagans so religious AA stuff would not help” – it’s ok because God still believes in you. I speak from experience here. Not some idea you have about God based on what your family does etc. There is a “higher power” and he / she / it / is carrying you on it’s shoulders. You just can’t see it.

  6. Joe

    Dear Deb,

    Wow! Lots going on here. It’s a miracle (kinda) that you have hung around as long as you have. If you were my daughter I would tell you the same thing that the kids are saying. Leave, get out, go.

    How many more years are planning to throw away. There are nice guys on the planet that would make much better company.

    Will he ever quit? God only knows. For now though it doesn’t sound like he is even interested in talking about it. Life is way too short to continue to pretend. Eleven years so far.

    I’m going to contact you about a few options to consider.

    More later.


  7. Deb

    I need some advice. I have been engaged to a man 11 years and always had a concern about his drinking. Recently it has been alot! Staying out late or not coming home at all. There is always a reason. The main one I get is ..It is just living. Well, i don’t want to live in a blur and I don’t believe it is just living. We have broken up three times in the eleven years. I believed he could control it each and every time he came back. He has a heart of gold..Sober…. but drunk he is verbally abusive, never physically. The last time we broke up he told me he was doing outpatient counseling. I had my reservations so I called the place he said he was going. He told me his counselors name after I asked, so I called..No counselor by that name, just what I thought. Well, I approached him about it and he was livid. We split for eight months that time and I kick myself for not letting that be the finality of it all. Why I let him come back is beyong me, well I do to know, I wanted to believe he would change. I am an enabler I guess. Well, recently he left and it has been 5 days since I have seen him. He texts me all the time like nothing is going on. I have told him ..You get trashed don’t come home. so he doesn’t. He has peed on my floor, he has knocked things over and totally embarrased me when we are out. I refuse to go to bars with him and parties with friends because I know what the end result will be. His idea of fun is going out and getting blitzed. I enjoy going to a movie and dinner and spending time with family and friends and being sober when I do it. I am not against alcohol, I just dont understand addiction I guess. I know this all sounds ridiculous, as I type it I am thinking what a fool I am!! My daughter recently had a baby and I told him I refuse to let this generation of my family see this kind of behavior. It is not healthy. His son is also having a baby in March. I told him that at almost 50 and going to be a grandparent maybe he should check his priorities. I talk to him when he’s sober..he agrees but goes right back at the drinking. He has 4 children and I have 2 and those 6 kids have seen way too much. They are all grown and on their own now, my 2 tell me to just get out, his kids give him a place to stay…it is their dad and I understand their loyalty..they love him as do I but enough is enough. I know I need to shut the door on this chapter, but it is so hard. I want him to get help, he knows he needs it but refuses to get it, he is a good guy and I’m in love with that guy..the sober one. What do I do..walk away? The hard part is we were friends long ago in high school, so I am not only losing my lover and companion and FIANCE’ Im losing an old friend. Thanks for reading this and any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Just crying at the sadness of it all.

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