couple fighting in bed

5 Effects of Alcohol That Destroy Your Relationships


Sober Recovery Expert Author

couple fighting in bed

Alcohol has a damaging effect on the body, mind, and soul. It wreaks havoc on the life of the individual, affecting holistic health, work, and relationships. Relationships, in this case, include those both within and outside the family.

There are numerous ways in which alcohol can affect you and the people you care about the most. Here are just 5 of the most common reasons why alcohol destroys relationships.

There are numerous ways in which alcohol can affect you and the people you care about the most.

1. You’re never there.

Alcohol is often used to numb, escape or avoid uncomfortable feelings and silence disturbing thoughts. As such, individuals who utilize alcohol are typically not comfortable sitting with their emotions and cognitions. Therefore, they do not face or resolve their personal issues and usually have very little self-awareness, if any.

This leaves them emotionally unavailable for others, especially during times of personal crisis. Because they are not comfortable sitting with their own pain, they also do not sit well with the pain of another.

Additionally, alcohol has a negative effect on the memory, leaving individuals unable to remember conversations and even arguments they had the night or day before. This also adds to their inability to be truly emotionally intimate, as they are not fully present for their partner or family members.

2. You’re the center of your universe.

As with most substances, the use of alcohol to the point of abuse or dependency requires a lack of self-love. Due to this fact, you are also unable to show or truly experience love for another. Couple that reality with the heightened sense of ego (overcompensation for the typical state of self-loathing, guilt and shame) and you are left with a seemingly very selfish individual.

No matter the situation or the obvious level of accountability, everything will be about the intoxicated and/or alcoholic individual – the focus, sympathy, pity or any degree of victim role will shift to them. Even if alcohol causes them to lose a job, relationship or results in another negative consequence, they will always blame external factors and victimize themselves.

3. You’re always the victim.

And, on that note, individuals who struggle with alcohol abuse or dependency are constantly victimizing themselves. They tend to throw what most people refer to as “pity parties.”

There are a few reasons why the victim role is employed; it prevents accountability, and it creates what some consider a valid excuse to drink. In other words, if the individual can shift the blame to external factors, they avoid having to look at their own part in their life and the consequences and self-inflicted loss, pain and drama they are orchestrating. And, due to the loss, pain, and drama they are creating, they can rationalize their excessive drinking to themselves and others.

It’s a vicious cycle, and it’s one which usually proves detrimental if help isn’t sought.

4. You’re no Romeo.

Alcohol also causes erectile dysfunction. For some, this can be temporary (only an issue while the individual is intoxicated). However, over time and with heavy drinking, this can become a permanent problem. And, for romantic relationships, this creates quite an issue.

Additionally, the lack of sexual intimacy combined with the lack of emotional intimacy, the high degree of selfishness and lack of consideration and constant victimization discussed above only add to the frustration for romantic partners. Eventually, this lethal combination kills the romance and the relationship itself.

5. Your toxicity is contagious.

Because alcoholism is a systemic disease, the toxic characteristics of the disease spread to the individuals closely involved. Maladaptive behaviors, codependency and other forms of dysfunction quickly develop within the family and other close relationships.

In this way, there are spouses, significant others, friends and so on who will hold onto the relationship long after it is dead, hooked on the idea of what was or could be. These instances prove to be very toxic for everyone involved as it enables the addicted individual and sabotages any hope of personal growth or true love and serenity for those holding to them.

Regardless of the category of relationship, alcohol abuse can and will have a devastating effect. Of course, this is exhibited by the most important relationship which is instantly negatively impacted—the relationship with the self. For all the others, it’s not a matter of if alcohol will cause a strain, but a matter of when and to what level of detriment.

If you or someone you know is seeking help from addiction, please visit our directory of treatment centers or call 800-891-8171 to speak to a treatment specialist.

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