Whether you have someone in your life that has an alcohol dependence (sometimes referred to as alcohol use disorder) or you yourself are encountering alcohol dependence, you well know the difficulty that it can cause in relationships. Alcohol dependence & alcohol abuse, like drug abuse, is a very common source of interpersonal conflict and the breaking down of trust and affection in relationships.
These relationships can be friendly, paternal, romantic, or simply acquaintances. No matter the degree of relationship, alcohol dependence can tear down years of work and building in just a few short weeks if you’re not careful.
In this post, we are going to cover what it means to love someone with alcohol dependence or be in a relationship while you have alcohol dependence.
We’ll also touch on what support groups get wrong when trying to help someone with substance abuse get control of their own life and curb the unacceptable behavior that leads to broken promises and the ostracizing of many family members.
Table of Contents
When Someone Loves Someone With Alcohol Dependence…
They Feel Like Alcohol Is More Important Than Them
When someone loves someone with alcohol dependence, they may feel like alcohol is more important than them. This feeling of being secondary to the addiction can cause extreme anguish and insecurity in the relationship as they compare it to their own decision making. It can make it difficult to communicate openly and effectively because both parties are struggling to make sense of what is happening.
The individual loving someone with alcohol dependence (alcohol addiction) may feel confusion about his or her feelings. They may love the person dearly but be unsure how to handle the situation without getting hurt or feeling overwhelmed. They may find themselves questioning their own worth or wondering if their partner really does care for them when alcohol takes precedence over everything else.
The individual in the relationship suffering from alcohol dependence, which is comparable to substance use disorder, will also be experiencing a range of emotions including guilt, shame, regret, and helplessness as they struggle to come to terms with their problem and its impact on those around them. It’s not easy for either party involved and often requires professional help in order to overcome it together.
This can also result in a situation wherein family members rush to the aid of the individual as a result of their own behavior, only to be let down as they discover that the lies personally affect them as a family member or non-alcoholic partner.
In many cases, a third party can help both parties move forward through tough conversations and providing emotional support when needed. With the right kind of outside guidance, loved ones can work towards healing any damaged relationships due to the effects of alcohol dependence while learning better ways of managing their dependency in a healthy way.
They Get Frustrated With Wasted Potential
When someone loves someone with alcohol dependence, they can often become frustrated with the wasted potential of their loved one. Alcohol dependence not only affects the life of the person who is dependent on it, but also those who care and love them. In a relationship between two people, one of them may have their own career aspirations and goals, but if the other is struggling with dependence on alcohol, their relationship could get in the way of achieving these goals.
The partner of someone with alcohol dependence may feel helpless and powerless to help their partner, leading to feelings of frustration and sadness. If the partner does provide support and encouragement to try to improve their situation, they may find that it goes nowhere; no matter how much effort they put in or how much advice they give, nothing changes. This can lead to an immense feeling of disappointment, as well as a strain on the relationship itself.
Furthermore, having a partner with alcohol dependence might mean having to face constant worry about their wellbeing. The worry that they may do something irresponsible while under the influence or put themselves in danger can be ever-present in a relationship affected by this issue. The lack of control over the situation can be incredibly hard for both partners in a loving relationship; it affects each person’s peace-of-mind and sense of fulfillment.
They Only Get a Portion of Their Friend/Partner
When someone loves someone with alcohol dependence, they can only experience a portion of their true selves. Even when the person is not actively drinking or using substances, the effects of alcohol dependence can still linger and affect the relationship in significant ways.
For starters, it’s common for people with alcohol dependence to experience feelings of guilt and shame, which can lead to them withdrawing from and pushing away their loved ones. This can be heartbreaking for those closest to them because it means that instead of getting to experience the fullness of their partner or friend’s personality, they are only able to get a small glimpse into who they really are.
In addition, those suffering from alcohol dependence often find it difficult to build meaningful relationships or trust in others due to underlying fears and doubts about themselves. This makes it difficult for true intimacy to develop in any relationship as meaningful conversations are hard to come by and more energy must be devoted towards maintaining balance within the relationship.
They Constantly Feel Let Down
When in a relationship with someone with alcohol dependence, people can often feel let down. This feeling of disappointment and frustration can come from a variety of experiences. For instance, one might feel let down when their loved one makes plans and then fails to follow through because of their alcohol dependence. Someone might also feel let down when their loved one spends more time drinking than engaging in activities that the two had previously enjoyed together, such as hiking or going to the movies.
This sense of being let down can further be compounded by feelings of guilt or shame for not being able to help their loved one overcome their alcohol dependence. While it’s true that recovering from alcohol dependence is something that must come from within, friends and family members often wish that they could do more to help their loved one on the path toward sobriety.
For those living with alcohol dependence, feelings of guilt and shame can also contribute to the continued use of alcohol. That’s why it’s important for friends and family members to practice self-care and remember that an individual has to make the decision to seek help for themselves before any real progress can be made.
They Suffer in Silence
When someone loves someone with alcohol dependence, their suffering will oftentimes take place in silence. They may not want to express their feelings to anyone else because of fear of how they may be perceived. They might also feel embarrassed or ashamed about what is happening in the relationship and that leads to them bottling up these feelings instead of reaching out for help.
The person who is caring for the one with alcohol dependence often ends up having to deny their own needs in order to make sure the other person’s needs are taken care of. This can cause a tremendous amount of stress and strain on their mental health as they have to constantly put the other person first, while simultaneously neglecting their own emotional well-being.
Another issue that arises when loving someone with alcohol dependence is that it can lead to codependent behavior from the caretaker. If a person does not properly address their own emotional state and create boundaries that protect themselves from being overburdened, then they could end up becoming an enabler which only hinders progress towards sobriety for the person with alcohol dependence.
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Finally, when someone loves someone with alcohol dependence, they may also experience a huge range of emotions such as guilt, shame, anger, sadness, or even resentment towards the other person. These complicated emotions can become difficult to manage over time if they are not processed properly by either party involved in the relationship.
When Someone is in a Relationship While Dependent on Alcohol…
They Constantly Feel Guilty For Their Shortcomings
When someone is in a relationship while going through alcohol dependence, they constantly feel guilty for their shortcomings. The guilt associated with this issue can manifest in many different ways and can have a significant impact on the quality of the relationship. These feelings of guilt often stem from the inability to live up to expectations or maintain control over their drinking habits, which can lead them to feel like they are not worthy enough for the relationship.
This guilt can also present itself as extreme embarrassment or shame when it comes to discussing their drinking habits and how it affect those around them. It could mean avoiding conversations about alcohol altogether or feeling like they should downplay any mention of it. In some cases, individuals may even avoid social situations or gatherings due to being overwhelmed by feelings of guilt and inadequacy.
Moreover, individuals may experience a sense of helplessness when trying to stop drinking alcoholic beverages because all attempts have failed in the past and they don’t think anything else will work. This feeling of powerlessness can be accompanied by self-loathing thoughts and feelings, leading them to believe that they do not deserve love or respect from anyone in their life since they cannot overcome this issue alone.
The combination of these emotions can be extremely difficult for those struggling with alcohol dependence as it can make them believe that there is no way out without causing further damage and hurt within their relationships.
They Watch Their Friends & Partners Outgrow Them
When someone deals with alcohol dependence, they can often feel like their friends and partners are outgrowing them. This creates a sense of separation that can ultimately lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and low self-esteem.
One way this happens is when people with alcohol dependence begin to miss out on important activities. They may not be able to participate in events or outings with their friends or significant other because they are under the influence of alcohol, either due to drinking too much or suffering from withdrawal symptoms. This can lead to frustration for those around them and make it difficult for them to connect with the people in their lives.
Another way this separation can occur is by being unable to keep up with current trends or conversations due to addiction-related cognitive impairment. When someone has difficulty functioning and communicating normally due to problems associated with alcohol dependence, it can be difficult for them to stay involved in conversations, making them feel left behind.
Finally, when someone is dealing with alcohol dependence, it’s common for those around them to have lower expectations for their behaviour and achievements. This can leave people feeling belittled or demeaned which further amplifies feelings of inferiority and inadequacy.
They Lose Valuable Networking & Partnership Opportunities
When someone is in a relationship while going through alcohol dependence, they not only lose valuable networking and partnership opportunities, but they also lose a lot of their own self-worth. Alcohol dependence can cause those suffering from it to become introverted, push away relationships with family and friends, and become isolated. This isolation can lead to depression, further fueling the cycle of alcohol dependence.
The lack of networking and partnership opportunities that comes with having an alcohol dependence can have a major impact on one’s career or future plans. For example, if someone is looking for a job in a new industry or wants to start their own business, the lack of relationships with potential employers or partners due to an alcohol dependence can be detrimental. Without the proper network and partnerships, it will be difficult for them to get ahead in their career endeavors.
Additionally, the quality of friendships or intimate relationships may suffer too when someone has an alcohol dependence. Since alcoholism interferes with communication between people in a relationship, many important conversations that should take place may not happen at all. The person with alcohol dependence may also alienate themselves from friends and family who are trying to help them overcome their problem.
They Risk Bonding With an Unsuitable Partner
When someone is in a relationship while going through alcohol dependence, they run the risk of bonding with an unsuitable partner. This may be due to a number of factors, such as impulsivity, loneliness, or feelings of guilt which lead to making unhealthy decisions when it comes to relationships. An individual who is heavily reliant on alcohol is more likely to make poor choices in matters of love and intimacy. These decisions often result in relationships that lack trust, closeness, and emotional stability; all elements necessary for a healthy and happy partnership.
Another issue that may arise from someone being in a relationship while suffering from alcohol dependence is that the individual may not be able to truly express themselves honestly. Alcohol can inhibit communication patterns and limit one’s ability to engage in meaningful conversations with loved ones. This inability can lead to misunderstanding and resentment between partners; especially if the person engaging in alcohol dependence feels as though their drinking behavior isn’t being taken seriously by their significant other.
The effects of alcohol dependence can also cause an individual to become co-dependent on their partner; leading them to rely on their partner too much for things like financial support or emotional validation. This type of reliance can create damaging patterns that hinder both parties’ personal growth, ultimately leading them down a path toward further relational problems.
It’s important for those struggling with alcohol dependence to focus on building strong foundations before entering into any kind of relationship. This includes seeking help from professionals in order to gain healthy coping mechanisms and strategies for managing your drinking habits before getting involved with another person romantically or emotionally. Doing so will help ensure that you are better equipped with the tools needed for fostering meaningful connections without risking potential damage caused by alcohol dependence.
They Say Things They Don’t Mean
When someone is in a relationship while going through alcohol dependence, it can be extremely difficult as they may say or do things that they do not mean. Although alcohol dependence leads to reckless and often unpredictable behavior, this does not excuse the hurtful words and actions that may have been said or done in the midst of an episode.
The affected person’s loved ones may start to feel as if the other person does not truly care anymore due to their outbursts, but this is, most of the time, untrue.
Alcohol dependence causes people’s brains to flood with dopamine, which makes them act impulsively and without much control. This means that whatever was said or done during a drunken episode likely had no thought put into it. Still, it can be incredibly hard to maintain a relationship wherein this happens frequently. Things are easily said while drunk, but not taken back.
Why Traditional AA & Other Methods Fail at Rehabilitating Relationships
When someone realizes that they have an alcohol dependence, their first impulse is often to seek out an AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) program. While this can be beneficial in many ways, it is not enough to get someone through the process of recovery and back into a healthy relationship.
Traditional AA programs are often considered a “one-size-fits-all” approach to addiction treatment; meaning that regardless of what kind of individual is in attendance, they will all receive the same basic treatment plan. This can be problematic for couples, because what works for one person may not work for the other – especially if they are in a relationship and need more tailored support to help them recover together.
Additionally, traditional programs will not typically address the underlying issues that caused someone to develop an alcohol dependence in the first place. In order to make lasting changes, it is important for both partners to identify and work through the past experiences that may have led them to their current state. That’s why it’s often beneficial for someone with alcohol dependence to seek guidance from a program that helps them rediscover their independence, not bow down to cult-like negative thinking that put them in a powerless situation to start with.
Ready to Become Independent From Alcohol? The Alcohol Coach Can Help
If you have had enough relationships suffer as a result of alcohol dependence and want to turn things around, The Alcohol Coach could be a great option for you. The Alcohol Coach is a tested program that has helped hundreds of women & professionals escape the grips of alcohol dependence.
This wasn’t done through shaming, forced abstinence, embarassment, or negative thoughts. It was done by showing each and every member of the program that they have the power to control their alcohol intake, reclaim their relationships, and discover a better, less stressful life.
If you are ready to make a chance and want some guidance, companionship, and encouragement, it’s highly recommended that you join our coaching class. We offer a risk-free 60-minute class to anybody that is ready to embark on a journey of empowerment and change.
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Hi, I'm Michela
I’m a leader in the science of transformational freedom for women, and someone previously addicted to alcohol. I have walked the path. I understand your concerns and fears. Here you will find some of my thoughts and insights. Happy browsing!
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