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How Alcohol Ruins Relationships

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By: Renaissance Recovery

Medically Reviewed by: Diana Vo, LMFT

Last Updated: 7/1/2021

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Authored By: Joe Gilmore

Table of Contents

Although socially acceptable, alcohol destroys relationships in many ways when it is abused.

Recently published data from the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows a huge increase in the number of adults in the US with alcohol use disorder (AUD). While NSDUH 2019 reported 14.5 million over-12s in the US had alcohol use disorder, the current survey reports that over 28 million people satisfy the criteria of AUD.

When alcohol use shifts from purely social to more compulsive consumption, the consequences rippled outward far beyond the person drinking. If alcohol use disorder develops, engaging with an Orange County rehab typically produces the most favorable outcomes.

How Does Alcohol Affect a Relationship?

Anyone drinking alcohol heavily or frequently is liable to find most close relationships impacted in various ways. Often, when a drinking problem continues, this can even rip relationships apart completely, from marriages and friendships to business relationships.

According to NCADD (the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence), these are the areas where drinking most commonly impacts relationships:

  • Neglecting duties and responsibilities: Alcohol abuse impairs both your physical capabilities and your cognitive functioning. This is liable to spill over into the neglect of the things you need to do within your relationship.
  • Time spent recovering from alcohol abuse: Among the multiple short-term side effects of alcohol abuse, hangovers can be particularly damaging, leading to canceled arrangements and missed appointments along with many broken promises. Recovering from periods of alcohol abuse can also trigger other unhealthy behaviors, including poor dietary choices and a lack of exercise.
  • Legal issues: From driving under the influence to disorderly conduct and violent disputes, alcohol abuse can lead to myriad legal consequences.
  • Financial problems: The costs of drinking heavily soon mount, and this can easily strain the family budget and your relationship.
  • Reckless behaviors: Consuming alcohol lowers inhibitions and increases the likelihood you will engage in risky and reckless behaviors.

NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Health) states that the following problems are most reported by spouses in a relationship where one partner abuses alcohol:

  • Infidelity
  • Domestic violence
  • Marital conflict
  • Financial instability
  • Jealousy
  • Stress
  • Unplanned pregnancy
  • Divorce
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If someone you love is dealing with alcohol addiction, please give our team a call today.

How Alcohol Abuse Destroys Relationships

Consuming alcohol does not always lead to the development of alcohol use disorder, and many people can drink moderately and without incident.

Nevertheless, for more than 28 million adults in the US, alcohol is not benign and these are three reasons why it can affect people negatively:

  • Alcohol is a drug: Alcohol might be legal but consuming even small amounts of alcohol can alter your perception, mood, and thought processes. Alcohol is a CNS depressant that lowers both mood and inhibitions. This can lead to an acceleration in conflict between partners.
  • Alcohol is socially acceptable: The negative effects of alcohol abuse are often and widely downplayed. Just because alcohol is socially acceptable, it is unacceptable in the context of your relationship if one partner is drinking problematically.
  • The psychological effects of alcohol can directly impact social interaction: Drinking heavily can induce aggression, lower inhibitions, and prompt irrational behavior. These adverse effects sometimes linger after alcohol leaves the system. Long-term alcohol abuse leads to changes in brain function and structure.

Here are some of the most common reasons for alcohol abuse destroying relationships:

  • Abusing alcohol can change you as a person
  • Alcohol can be responsible for inciting arguments
  • Often, alcohol abuse triggers secretive behaviors
  • Abusing alcohol reduces your availability

Abusing alcohol can change you as a person

If you or your partner has alcohol use disorder, this condition will profoundly impact the brain, as well as behavior. Resultantly, you are likely to behave differently than when sober.

The lowering of inhibitions after drinking alcohol can lead to promiscuity, aggression, and sometimes even violence, especially damaging in a domestic setting.

If one partner is engaging in risky behaviors like driving under the influence or gambling, this can easily cause a relationship to implode.

If you or your loved one find they no longer recognize the person they fell in love with, it’s inevitable that relationship problems will ensue.

Alcohol can be responsible for inciting arguments

When alcohol is involved, there is more chance of an argument with your loved one developing.

It is normal for the partner not abusing alcohol to worry about the physical and mental health of their addicted loved one. It is commonplace for accusations to be met with blanket denial.

Regardless of the reason and nature of these arguments, ongoing conflict about alcohol can lead to breakdowns in communication and ongoing relationship problems.

Often, alcohol abuse triggers secretive behaviors

Healthy relationships are grounded on mutual trust. Frank and honest communication is vital to promote trust.

Regrettably, many people grappling with alcohol use disorder become secretive in an attempt to hide their drinking problem.

When lies and suspicion build, this places a significant strain on romantic relationships, possibly even leading to a breakup.

Abusing alcohol reduces your availability

One of the symptoms of alcohol use disorder is spending time drinking to the exclusion of other activities. If drinking becomes transparently more important to you than spending time with your partner, problems are imminent at home.

If you find yourself frequently too intoxicated to spend quality time with those you love, this will drive you further apart over time, potentially ruining your relationship.

It’s not only romantic relationships that are unraveled by alcohol abuse, though.

Alcohol Ruins Friendships

If you are drinking to the extent of developing alcohol use disorder, you may find you spend increasingly less time with your friends, especially if your friends do not drink to excess.

As alcohol use disorder progresses, many people find their friendships are predicated on alcohol. For someone who finds friends commenting on their alcohol intake, it can be more tempting to spend time with others engaged in heavy drinking unlikely to call you out for alcohol abuse.

Not only do those abusing alcohol make changes to the friends they spend time with, but they are often incapable of the best form of friendship. Selfish and unreliable behaviors often lead to rifts in friendships, and sober friends usually drift away from those actively abusing alcohol over time.

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If you are looking for a Huntington Beach rehab, call our team today!

Overcoming Alcohol Addiction at Renaissance Recovery

Alcoholism is a chronic and progressive condition, but you can fight back and enjoy sustained sobriety with the right treatment.

Here at Renaissance Recovery Center, we offer highly personalized outpatient programs, including virtual IOP, for alcohol use disorder. Reclaim your life from alcohol abuse before it destroys your health and your relationships without necessarily needing residential rehab.

With MAT (medication-assisted treatment), the intensity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms and cravings can be reduced through one of several FDA-approved medications. MAT is most effective when delivered in combination with talk therapies like CBT or DBT. You’ll have access to both if you engage with one of our treatment programs.

When you complete your course of treatment, we’ll ensure you have the appropriate level of aftercare in place so you and your loved ones can enjoy all that sober life has to offer.

To reclaim your life and your relationship, reach out to the friendly admissions team at 866-330-9449.

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Pat C

“I owe my life and my happiness to these people. October 8th, 2019 marked two years of sobriety for me, and prior to finding Renaissance I hadn’t had 24 hours sober in nearly 20 years.”

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Paige R

“They truly cared for me and the other people that I served with! From this group, I have made 8 new brothers and friends for life! We have continued on, after the program, to take care of each other”

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Courtney S

“Great staff who took the time to get to know me. They have a lot of experience in this field and have first hand experience with what I was going through. IOP is outstanding and really built up a ton of great relationships and found this program to be a ‘breath of fresh air’.”

Diana Vo, LMFT

Diana is an addiction expert and licensed marriage and family therapist who has been in the field of mental health for over 10 years.

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country