The impact alcohol and relationships is undeniable – here are 8 impacts of alcohol addiction on relationships, and how you can move forward with a life of sobriety.
According to research, nearly 15 million people over the age of 12 have an alcohol use disorder or addiction to alcohol. That means at least 15 million friends, family, and loved ones are impacted by their alcohol addiction. Most likely, the number of loved ones affected by a person’s addiction is triple and quadruple that number.
Below are some of the ways relationships are negatively impacted by alcohol addiction.
Because alcohol and drugs change the chemistry in your brain, you may become aggressive and more easily agitated. This is especially true in times when you may be withdrawing. Domestic violence, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, is a serious problem. One alarming statistic found is that out of the men studied, 92% of men who assaulted female partners had used substances on the day of the abuse. Out of that number, 67% had used cocaine and alcohol.
Intimate partner violence research also shows that 70% of domestic violence victims are more likely to drink alcohol excessively than in healthy relationships.
Addiction causes people to do things you would never do when sober. You can find yourself lying, stealing, and cheating family and friends to get money to purchase alcohol or drugs. You rarely follow through with obligations, and people who love you learn not to count on you.
Your addiction can become so powerful that it makes you are deceptive to anyone who comes between you and alcohol.
It takes money to continue an addiction to alcohol or any drug. Anyone with addiction can quickly become financially unstable. Even if you can maintain a job, you spend everything you earn. There is rarely money left over to meet the needs of the family. Your addiction will encourage you to spend the rent, grocery money, and basic living funds on getting more alcohol.
Financial problems start to snowball, and before you know it, your utilities are cut off, your family is hungry, you may get evicted, and you may even go to jail for stealing, leaving your family all alone, with no money to survive.
Enabling or Codependency
In many families, someone is enabling your addictive behavior. They are not bad people, but they have confused helping you by enabling you. And you know exactly how to manipulate the enabler in your life.
Enabling behaviors include anything that makes it easy for you to continue drinking or using drugs. For example, they drive you to the liquor store because they don’t want you to get a DUI. They pay your bills for you because they don’t want you to be homeless. They give you money even though they know it will be spent on substances.
Other family members may be codependent. They enjoy feeling needed and that you go to them for help, likewise, they like being a caretaker but also being a martyr. They want to talk about how much they sacrifice for you and the rest of the family. A codependent person can become addicted to the addict.
Socially, drug and alcohol addiction can sever relationships. Even when close family members gather for a small event, even just a weekly meal, it is usually disrupted by the person with an addiction. You become the center of attention and the center of the conversations. If they talk you into attending the event, a huge fight usually breaks out between you and the ones you have hurt.
Once you become addicted to drugs or alcohol, you see your sober friends and family members less and less. If you do anything socially, it involves drinking or hanging out with other addicts.
Children of Addiction
If you are an addict with children, they are the ones who suffer the most. They are neglected and left feeling as if they are the second choice to alcohol or drugs. Some children of addicts become codependent as a way to have a relationship with you. Other children become addicts, too, as a way to bond with you or to cope with their own emotions.
Alcohol and drug abuse and addiction are significant factors in why children are removed from the home and placed into foster care. The National Center for Substance Abuse and Child Welfare reports nearly 36% of children removed from homes were due to a parent with alcohol or drug addiction.
Emotional Roller Coaster
When it’s good, it’s good, and when it’s bad, it’s bad. Unfortunately, the longer someone is addicted, the worse it will become. After that, you swing between manipulation, irritability, and sudden anger outbursts to loving, caring, and appreciative.
The people in your life cannot handle these swings forever. It becomes too overwhelming mentally and physically. Eventually, relationships will end.
Divorce or Broken Relationships
The distrust, the impact on the children, the emotional roller coaster, the financial burdens, and everything else caused by a person’s addiction can cause so much damage to a relationship that divorce or broken relationships must happen.
Statistics show divorce is significantly higher among those with an addiction, with 34.6 % citing it as the reason. It is the third most common reason why women seek divorce and the eighth reason for men. Alcohol can also lead to infertility, which is another reason for divorce.
The Good News
While addiction to alcohol and drugs impacts all relationships negatively, it can be reversed. The moment you start to break your addiction, your relationships will begin to improve. Breaking your addiction can happen with the help of your local drug and alcohol rehab and mental health center who specializes in alcohol treatment programs.
You can get an evaluation and attend IOP programs virtually or in person, starting today.
You are likely worried about withdrawal symptoms. Fortunately, psychiatrists will be able to administer medication to eliminate cravings and physical discomfort during your treatment. You will also be able to learn early recovery, create a relapse prevention plan, and attend relationship counseling to heal the wounds created by addiction.
Make today the day you put your relationships ahead of alcohol or drugs.