Ask June: Uncomfortable in New England

Dear June,

One of my coworkers, a middle-aged married man, regularly refers to his wife as an alcoholic in casual conversation. He uses the word as if it’s a punch line in a joke, and for some reason, others tend to laugh. Sometimes, he elaborates by calling her a “mean drunk.” I’m uncomfortable with this on so many levels, especially as individuals in my immediate family have struggled with alcoholism. I’m torn between telling him that I don’t find addiction humorous and asking him, very genuinely, if everything is okay. I’m also angry for his wife and feel compelled to defend her privacy. Even worse, he keeps asking my partner and I on a double date! How do I handle this overshare?

—Uncomfortable in New England

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