When a person’s drinking habits turn from normal social drinking to a problem of alcoholism, it can begin to affect every aspect of their lives including social interactions. Maintaining healthy relationships can become increasingly difficult when a person is suffering from addiction. Alcohol causes a lot of social harm because it changes an individual’s behavior especially when they consume a lot on a regular basis. With treatment for alcoholism, an addict can begin to repair some of their social relationships that have been damaged because of their abuse.
Seeking Other Drinkers as Friends
As someone gets deeper into an addiction, they will subconsciously find ways to continue their habits without being criticized or judged. Alcoholics will begin to seek out other people with abuse problems as their close friends. Their shared relationship with alcohol prevents them from admitting to their problem and gives them someone to go on drinking binges with. Drinking buddies support one another in their addiction and perpetuate substance abuse.
Becoming Withdrawn and Isolated
Aside from a few drinking buddies to accompany them, alcoholics can start to isolate themselves from everyone else they normally interact with. Old friends that don’t drink very much can draw more attention to their problem and they will start to become withdrawn. It is easier someone with an alcohol addiction to disengage from a lot of social interaction so that there is no one to stop them from their excessive drinking. When friends mention that they drink a lot they may become defensive and begin to shut them out of their lives.
Consequences of Lowered Inhibition
The more a person drinks the more compulsive they can become and begin to say and do things they will regret later. Drinking lowers inhibitions making people engage in risky behavior or act in a way that can alienate them from friends. They could say hurtful things and get into arguments that they don’t even remember the next day. Their alcohol abuse and the actions it causes can lead to them losing friends and eventually drive them into further isolation.
Aggressive Behavior or Belligerence
Some alcoholics have a tendency to become more aggressive or even violent when they drink. They could get into physical fights at a bar or be abusive toward their family. The conflicts that they have can cause a lot of pain to their friends and family creating damaged relationships that will be difficult to repair. They will eventually need to ask forgiveness if they enter rehab treatment and must make amends for all the harm they have caused.
Self-Absorption and Neglect
Addiction naturally becomes a state of selfishness as the person’s main motive is to continue seeking the pleasure they get from drinking. Their self-absorbed behavior can cause them to neglect the ones that they love. They might forget birthdays or other important appointments because they are too drunk or are nursing a hangover. Their world revolves around their addiction and they are not able to give the kind of love and care that is necessary for a healthy relationship.
Alcohol is the type of drug that in small doses can help facilitate social interaction. However, abusing alcohol can cause a lot of harm to a person’s ability to interact normally and maintain friendships or connections with family members. An alcoholic can let down and hurt the people around them or purposefully isolate themselves so that they can continue drinking. The longer a person drinks the more they will begin to cause a lot of social harm that can only be resolved through the help of rehabilitation from addiction.
Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.