Drinking alcoholic beverages in itself is not harmful. If you drink in moderation, it will not cause problems. But heavy drinking will affect you physically, mentally, as well as socially. Not only will it affect your body, but it will also affect your relationships with family and friends. The condition known as alcohol use disorder also has drastic effects on the people you care about.
Let’s take a closer look at the many ways alcohol destroys your relationships.
Alcohol changes your behavior
When you drink and become intoxicated, you behave quite differently than when you’re sober. For one, alcohol lowers your inhibitions, so you may be more likely to do risky things and get into trouble. Intoxication may predispose you to violence or promiscuity.
These negative behavior changes can lead to your most important relationships breaking down. For example, if you drink a lot at home and become violent after drinking, your family will be living in fear of you. Eventually, when violent behavior becomes a habit, the fear may turn into anger and resentment.
Behavior changes can affect romantic relationships in particular. If your significant other notices even the slightest changes that are undesirable, this will spark problems in your relationship.
For instance, you may become too aggressive and display inappropriate behaviors in public when drunk. If you are with your significant other at that time, it can deal a huge blow to how your partner perceives you.
In some cases, alcohol can make you more withdrawn and less communicative. Once your significant other notices your lack of open communication, it can be the beginning of a relationship breakdown.
In the worst case, you could turn violent or verbally abusive towards your partner. When this happens, it can destroy the relationship very quickly.
Alcohol becomes your priority
When you drink moderately, you may not have a strong urge to drink every single day. You could even live without alcohol for weeks or months.
But if you’re a heavy drinker, the desire to drink alcohol intensifies. This becomes really troublesome if you develop alcohol use disorder, as you can no longer function normally without alcohol. In turn, drinking becomes your main priority, and you may even put this over your most important relationships.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to evaluate if you have an addiction to alcohol:
- Do I end up cancelling plans often because of either a hangover or a strong urge to drink?
- Do I keep forgetting important dates because I want to make more time for drinking?
- Do I often ditch invitations from family and friends so I can have time to drink?
- Do I end up forcing my family / friends / partner to join me in my drinking sessions?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of those questions, you may have alcohol use disorder already. Consult with your primary care doctor or a mental health professional to find out if you do.
Alcohol becomes a substitute for your hobbies
Drinking can also take your passion away from you. If you have activities that you often enjoy with your family, friends, or partner, you will lose interest in those things once you develop alcohol use disorder.
Your urge to drink will be much greater than your passion for sports, art, writing, gardening, or any hobbies. If you would rather drink than do enjoyable activities with your family, friends, or partner, those relationships would go downhill.
Alternatively, drinking may become your preferred “hobby” with your loved ones. If the activities you enjoy together have alcohol as the focus, this is not healthy. You may even drag them down into the pit of alcohol use disorder as well.
Alcohol makes you dishonest
The foundation of any good relationship is trust, and this is built on honesty and open communication. When you become addicted to alcohol, however, it will affect your level of honesty towards the people you love. Of course, you would not want them to know about your drinking habits, so you may resort to hiding the truth.
If you have an alcohol use disorder, you would often lie about your drinking habits. You’ll find yourself hiding your whereabouts and activities often, and if loved ones ask you, you may often dodge the question.
This is particularly damaging for a romantic relationship. If you are not being honest with your partner about your drinking habits, he/she will think you’re trying to hide something. Eventually, your partner will find out about your problems with alcohol. The dishonesty will destroy your partner’s trust for you, which will erode the relationship.
Alcohol causes lots of fights
Soon enough, your loved ones will show concern as they see the effects of alcohol on you. They may be concerned that you’re putting them and yourself in danger. Also, they may feel like you value alcohol more than them. At some point, they could be concerned about your physical and mental health.
Whenever they ask, the usual thing you may do is brush them off. You could tell them everything is fine, when in fact it isn’t. You may tell them you’re okay and hide your problems with alcohol. But eventually, these issues will surface through your behaviors.
Conversations showing concern may then turn into arguments or shouting matches. As these keep happening, over time, the arguments may turn violent. Either verbal or physical abuse will happen, and you could be putting the well being of your loved ones at risk.
These arguments can also evolve into fights about other issues. Over time, these toxic arguments will severely strain your relationships.
What can I do if I have an alcohol use disorder?
If you’re aware that you have an alcohol use disorder, it’s best to get professional help immediately. The sooner you seek help, the more you can rebuild your most important personal relationships. Your closest loved ones can even get involved in your journey to recovery.
There are many treatments for alcohol use disorder. Consult your doctor or an addiction professional to get the best options tailored specifically for you.