My fiance has been sober just around 3.5 years now. When we met, he was a binge drinker, never aggressive or violent behavior, but he was an angry drunk. There were times we had to leave parties early, he and friends would start arguing, then he and I would argue… it got to the point where I didn’t want to go out anywhere with him if he was going to drink.
Him wanting to stop was a combination of wanting it for himself (he was overweight and knew the beer wasn’t helping that at all), my disappointment/frustration, and he also had career goals – wanting to become a police officer. After 2 years of dating, we had both moved home to live with our parents to save some money, he decided to make a change. Stopped drinking, went to AA meetings, started going to the gym more often and eating better. The first couple of months were hard. He realized he had to decline invitations to go out with friends entirely – the first transition period was too hard for him to go and just have a water or soda and be the Dear Daughter. But after a few months, he was in much better shape, lost a ton of weight, and felt better about himself. He got an interview with the police department, and things were looking much more optimistic.
He can now go out with friends and not be tempted. He is often the Dear Daughter, but doesn’t mind so much. Occasionally, he will feel bad about himself (as in, why did I have to have a problem with drinking… his groomsmen want to take him out for a bachelor party and he is feeling I guess guilty? about not being able to go to a bar.) but mostly he is very happy with his decision. Our relationship improved a lot, his health kick inspired me to start exercising more, and he ended up getting his job! Seeing how much of a stressful environment law enforcement is, he is happy to not have such a negative/dangerous coping mechanism in alcohol. He was also a social smoker (only when drinking) and has now cut back to those e-cigarettes/vaping things. Still not something I’m happy with, but it is much better than drinking or real tobacco.
Al-Anon is a wonderful resource. And it can be hard to recognize the fact that he needs to stop altogether. If he has that type of addictive personality/tendencies, it just isn’t possible to “cut back” and just not drink so much. Although it’s difficult to grasp, it does need to be a 100% all or nothing change.
The biggest thing to remember is his problem is not a reflection on you, and you cannot control his actions. Be there to support, provide resources, listen.