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Why The Alcoholic Is Incapable of Love

Old 08-22-2017, 01:03 PM
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Why The Alcoholic Is Incapable of Love

From another area of this website comes an insightful article on the alcoholics' inability to love -- and care for -- others.

By Toshia Humphries

As a spiritual life coach and counselor, I have worked with many clients who are romantically involved with or identify as an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. For the most part, they all have the same experience, feeling unloved or “not loved in an ideal way.”

The latter statement is typically a cover story for the real one; a way to stay in denial about the overwhelming sense of loss and grief over the familial or romantic relationship that either died or never existed. It downplays the fact that, regardless of whether or not they were told they were loved or given basic necessities, they did not feel a genuine connection, emotional intimacy or closeness of any kind. In other words, they did not ever experience love in action.

Here's the real reason why alcoholics have a difficult time reciprocating.
1. They are codependent.

Codependency is not love. In fact, it is based on dysfunctional needs and a lack of love or respect for self in the same way active alcoholism is. In a codependent relationship, the significant other or family member is treated as a means to an end (a hostage or a drug), rather than a feeling, thinking human being. Even if the word love may be thrown around a lot, it is typically used as a tool for manipulation or victimization, and therefore feels more like a weapon than a term of endearment.

As this dynamic continues, it is likely that active alcoholics will never leave the relationship, but they’ll also never truly be there. Moreover, if given the choice, they’ll never let you go. Hence, the saying, “Alcoholics don’t have relationships; they take hostages.”
2. They don’t love themselves.

It has been said that active addiction is an act of turning against oneself, and it is in recovery that an individual learns how to love. In essence, recovery is a movement away from ego and toward love of self and others.

Given the fact that the relationship an active alcoholic has with themselves is the one in which they are most abusive and negligent – physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually – it is very clear there is a complete lack of self-love. Additionally, that abuse and neglect inflicted upon self is projected onto and reflected in other relationships. As such, they are abusive and negligent in all relationships; romantic, platonic, professional and familial.
3. They are emotionally unavailable.

Because any active addict uses substances to numb, escape or avoid pain, they are typically void of any emotional cues. More to the point, they avoid situations or conversations (intimate ones) that might trigger unwanted emotional responses.

Additionally, because active addiction is a disconnection from self and therefore they are not in touch with their own emotional or spiritual needs, they cannot connect to those needs in others.

In other words, where love is an easy enough word to say, it requires a movement away from ego and fear to truly offer and fully accept. Active alcoholics are in a constant state of ego and fear; the bricks and mortar that make a very substantial wall which impedes emotional availability.
4. They seem to love the bottle more.

The key word here (of course) is seem.

We all know, alcoholics don’t truly love the bottle. Again, it’s more like a codependent relationship with the bottle in which they cannot leave but it kills them to stay.

Still, the bottle does become like a mistress in a marriage and a priority over family, friends and other responsibilities, as well as self. Even with regard to functioning alcoholics who manage to maintain a successful career, alcohol is the first to receive their attention any moment they are free to give it. It is their most prized and protected relationship. And, for the record, the latter explains the level of defensiveness encountered when anyone speaks against or threatens it.
5. They have "King Baby Syndrome.”

Active alcoholics are self-centered and egotistical to the point of being easily labeled narcissistic. Even though there is no real love for themselves, they do demand all the attention via victimization, manipulation and dramatic antics. Therefore the world must revolve around them.

Additionally, they are impulsive and want instant gratification. As such, they don't play the tape the whole way through, which is another way of saying that they don't think about the consequences of their actions and how they will impact others or the future.

Learning how to love again or for the first time takes work, and it takes more than merely getting sober. Personal growth, healing and spiritual reconnection are all a necessary part of the process. They are expressions of love in action toward self, and the journey forward is about learning to love you.
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Old 08-22-2017, 01:18 PM
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Absolutely accurate. Thanks for posting. Helpful to read it set out so clearly.
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Old 08-22-2017, 01:50 PM
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Thank you - great article
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Old 08-22-2017, 02:01 PM
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My two cents from both sides....

I think this article could've been written a little less negatively. None of this is done purposefully. Plus not every alcoholic is like this. There is a wide spectrum.

Alcoholics can't love until they learn to love themselves, and are able to see themselves for who they are without further hating themselves.

Once an alcoholic learns how to love themselves, they CAN recover from this way of being and CHANGE. Then they can love others in a healthy way.
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Old 08-22-2017, 04:28 PM
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the article is pretty clear that they are referring to addicts in ACTIVE addiction. which in and of itself is an act of self-abuse and destruction. actually the article is quite sympathetic to the plight of addiction......
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Old 08-22-2017, 07:52 PM
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As someone in recovery, I felt a bit triggered when I read this over on "The Fix".

Instead of getting long-winded about mental illness and ability to love and examples of alcoholics feeling things and doing things that non-alcoholics do (good and bad)...I would like to point out that diminished capacity does not = inability.

On a personal note, I also thought of my dear friend who passed away this year. He was in pain. His loved ones were in pain. -They packed a large church out to the street with over 500 crying people. I would bet my life that not a single one would downplay his ability to love. Although he had a fatal relationship with alcohol, he was a beacon of love. Only God knows what he would have accomplished sober...
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Old 08-23-2017, 11:23 AM
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This reminds me of something Abf said to me the other day after a terrible onslaught of verbal abuse. He said, "I am sorry for all the hurtful things I said to you. It's just because I love you so much."

I think that in his own way, he does love me, but I do not think he is capable of true love that protects, nurtures, grows, and cares for. Not at this time while he is in active addiction. Love doesn't cheat or lie or hurt or abuse. Addicts in active addiction however, do. Like I said, I think in his heart he has what to him feels like real love for me, and I do believe he feels love as other alcoholics do, but I do not believe the addiction allows for its fruition. For its practice of what we know love to be (more than a feeling but a series of actions)
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Old 08-23-2017, 12:56 PM
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Smarie....did you get the PM that I sent you the other day??
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Old 08-24-2017, 08:29 AM
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I love this article. After living with my AH for 25 years, I read this article and denied the concept of inability to love. I believe my husband loves me, but in a way that is not normal, is fueled by alcohol and a neglected childhood. He definitely has attachment issues when it comes to me. However, the The King Baby Syndrome hit the nail on the head.
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