Drinkers struggle to reduce intake due to their partners’ encouragement

So this was some research featured in The Independent back in January.  It was about how our partners’ can handicap our attempts to cut down or stop by encouraging us to drink.  This was something that MrHOF and I struggled with which is why as partners in crime we stopped together.

Over to the research:

Partners sabotage each other’s attempts to cut down on drinking, with men worse than women, new research suggests.

Drinkers struggle to reduce their alcohol intake due to their partner suggesting one more drink or encouraging them on nights out, a poll found.

Among 2,000 couples where at least one drinks more than the recommended 14 units a week, 26 per cent of women said they were concerned about the effects of alcohol on their partner’s health, while the figure was 21 per cent for men.

Women were more likely than men to say they would drink less if it was not for their partner loving booze (29 per cent compared with 16 per cent).

A third (33 per cent) of men also liked to suggest one more drink if their partner was thinking of stopping for the night, compared with 15 per cent of women.

Just 57 per cent of all people said they would drink less to help their partner if they were trying to cut down.

At present, around 40 per cent of men and a fifth of women drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week, according to industry-funded charity Drinkaware, which carried out the research.

A third of those surveyed (33 per cent) said alcohol being readily available in the home was an issue when it came to cutting down, while 40 per cent of those whose partner wanted to drink less thought the attempt would fail because stress would drive them to drink.

Reverand Kate Bottley, from the TV programme Gogglebox, is supporting a new Drinkaware campaign.

She said: “It’s quite sad to see that stress can really undo those good intentions, but we are a nation who bottle up our feelings, it would be far healthier to talk through your bad day rather than turn to a glass of wine or a beer.”

Drinkaware’s chief executive, Elaine Hindal, added: “We know that couples who are planning a health regime together fare better when they really support each other.

“It is sometimes difficult to stay on track with healthy plans but we have developed free tools such as the self-assessment and our Drinkaware app which can really help make a difference, especially if you’re trying to make up for the extra pounds gained over the festive period.”

How does your experience compare to this research?  Do you happily abstain while your partner drinks moderately or not so moderately?

12 thoughts on “Drinkers struggle to reduce intake due to their partners’ encouragement

  1. This is excellent.
    And so true.
    Mr. UT drank more than he wanted because of me, and I would be still drinking if he didn’t quit with me.
    I am so proud of him for quitting, even though he didn’t have to.
    I hope you have a Happy Easter!

  2. My husband didn’t stop or cut down when I decided to become AF. So I knew it was going to have to be done while sat in a room with someone who drank. It was very hard at first but I managed to re-frame it as good practice for dealing with temptations. Socialising with drinkers was less of a worry to me because my sober muscles were strong. He still drinks too much but he has cut down. He was uneasy about it all at first but we are very happy despite this big difference in lifestyle. I think it must be great to give up together but for some of us that just isn’t an option. I always say to people in the same position as me that getting sober is an individual pursuit not a three legged race – and ultimately it is down to you. I also liked the fact I didn’t have to worry about him slipping an that influencing me. My success or failure was all down to me and that felt easier in some ways. Sorry – this is s big of a ramble. I’ll be reading with interest up see what others think about this issue.

    1. Thanks Cyclesal for sharing your experience 🙂 Great saying about getting sober is an individual pursuit and not a three legged race! I do worry here that having stopped together if one lapsed what would the other do? ….

  3. Yes, I experienced this first hand when I planned to not drink for a year and got into a relationship. He kept on pushing booze on me until the point where he made me responsible for his failure to relax. I was not educated in addiction, just thought that quitting would do the job so I drank again, I would just take one glass. And well, you know what happens next. :-/ I still hate him for it eventhough I know it is my responsibility I also know that he wanted me to drink so he could continue being his asshole addicted self. I still have not found a way of dealing with this internally. 🙁
    xx, Feeling

  4. My husband has had a hard time with me getting sober. At first, it was major arguments. That was 6 years ago, but once in a blue moon, that resentment will surface, normally with him having drank too much. In other words, I think it bothers him, because he says he doesn’t want to stop drinking. Deep inside and under the influence he will admit he has a problem, alcoholism. He is not a daily drinker, as he doesn’t have my (not diagnosed) OCD issues. If I were to say I will have one drink, then I know I will have that same hour the next day,wanting! I truly never want to drink again, so I really have to stand my ground on the issue. Have to admit, social engagements are difficult for me, but I know at the end of the night, I pray to God, and thank Him for helping me to abstain and put up with a crowd or group that are over drinking!!! Love your blog, and it’s always encouraging… stay blessed.

    1. Hey Campkat Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog 🙂 It would seem this is an issue for many of us and send huge congrats on your 6 years sobriety!

  5. (Raises hand). This definitely resonates with me, my husband still drinks, heavily, while I’ve been happily abstaining for “almost” three years . It isn’t easy. But I knew I had to stop, and it hasn’t occurred to me(until I read this post) that, if we both quit and he slipped, it would be “permission” for me to start again! I try not to resent him for drinking, but it makes me sad that he doesn’t realize life is so much better sober! xx

  6. My husband stopped with me, to give himself a break. He was always concerned about my drinking, from a health perspective and also he said that I let myself down when I drank, after a social event that’s what people would remember about me rather than all the things he loves about me. We’ve been AF for just over a year now and he is as happy as I am with the decision. I see lots of people struggling because their partner is still drinkng, but many who are managing regardless, like Cyclesal and Lori. It must be hard, but I can totally get the point about what would happen if one of us relapsed, it would certainly be a tricky one to navigate through.

    1. Hey Nana Thanks for reading and commenting too! A thought provoking subject for many of us it seems.

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