How do I handle my SO wanting to spend time with people who are drinking?



My SO has been sober almost a year now but one thing that makes me so upset (and I don’t really know why it’s such a trigger) is that he can’t give up going to places where his buddies are all drunk or drinking heavily. He knows it upsets me so much but doesn’t seem to care. It’s like he doesn’t even understand how his behaviour is so risky and he’s even told me that he feels he’s “flat lined” with his recovery. He works in a restaurant with alcohol (which is his drug of choice) he goes to bars to watch sports with his buddies and he just left to go to the river to see his restaurant buddies who are all drinking. I don’t get it. I feel so mad and like he is playing with fire. I know it’s his journey but I need to be honest I don’t know if I can be with him if he relapses. I keep telling myself it would be ok and we’d get through it. I am tired of living my life in fear and it’s just so hard to let go because I don’t trust him. He tells me he knows his limits and it’s BS it’s his mind playing those games making him think he’s in more control than he is. I just don’t know what to do.


Thanks for sharing @ayisha I know this feeling, I remember in the first year of my husband’s recovery how awful it made me feel to know he was out in ‘party’ environments that had been part of his demise. Even now, 4 years into recovery I can still feel anxious when he is out with friends drinking. I am super sensitive to it.

I’m thinking here of what I would tell myself!
I’m thinking, let him go out, and when he does, plan to do something to take extra care of you. Can you go out with a friend? Watch a movie, do some self care or something you enjoy to release some anxiety.
See how it plays out and then discuss with him after. Give it some time (like a day or couple days) and sort of ask if you can debrief just so you understand how he feels in those situations so you don’t have to worry so much.

I think more dialogue the better, but also know he’s healing and learning and trying to figure things out.

Do the friends he goes out with know he has a problem with drinking? Can they be your allies in this? You might feel safer if you know they are looking out for his recovery.

Additionally, can you help foster new relationships and activities / hobbies that don’t involve drinking? Or ask those friends to help in that also.

What do you think? How did that night go for you and him?


Thanks @Jane. It did not go well as I reacted pretty poorly to the whole situation. I just feel like he’s very inconsistent one day he’ll say he doesn’t want to hang out with them and then the next he’s off to meet them while they are drinking. I get his need for socialization but he has a lot of really good friends and yet seems focused on this group.

I have decided to do what you said and shift the focus on me and doing what fills my tank. I guess my question is at what point do you say “hey I am not ok with this” and set a boundary? Or can I even set a boundary about something like this?



@ayisha When it comes to boundaries (I like to call them limits :)) I’d say something like, hey when this occurs it affects me in and so I will plan to do .

Eg. When you come home drunk I find it hard to connect with you, so from now on, I’ll just leave you to eat dinner alone and go and read my book and get an early night.

Does that make sense?

Also, I know what you mean about having a hard time keeping a cool head, it can be infuriating. Our Group Course goes over the CRAFT topic of Positive Communication and it is a fundamental underlying principle of all the CRAFT protocols. I think it will be really useful and it’s something we can ALL use practice at (even and especially me!)