It’s no secret that alcohol has an impact on everything in our lives. Our relationships are no exception to that. Even once alcohol is removed from the relationship, the trouble it caused can remain. What is the key to strengthening a relationship affected by alcohol?

relationship affected by alcohol

Why? How did we get here?

If your relationship has been affected by alcohol you’re probably thinking – why? Why did alcohol get so important? How did we even get here? You’re not alone in these thoughts. And I can guarantee it wasn’t a conscious or predetermined decision. The drinker didn’t set out to allow alcohol to become this important in their lives. In fact, they dislike it as much as or more than you do. It isn’t personal. The truth is alcohol is addictive, it changes our brain chemistry and causes us to do things we no longer enjoy. And that sucks.


A relationship affected by alcohol usually is struggling due to a lack of trust on one side and overwhelming guilt from the other party. It creates an unhealthy dynamic that can be so hard to move past. One side is reluctant to believe the other while that side is too scared to share their journey with the other party for fear of letting them down. Communication is key here. You’re both allowed to feel the things you’re feeling. You’re both right and getting through this is hard. Allow yourself to feel your feelings and to acknowledge that they are valid.

Double Edged Sword

This is where things get tricky though in a relationship affected by alcohol. You feel all these feelings but when it comes down to it – you love them. So you’re angry, hurt, guilt-ridden and yet still wanting what’s best for the other person. For the one struggling with alcohol the thought pattern is often – maybe they are better off without me. Why would I keep hurting someone I love? And the loved one is thinking – why can’t I do enough to just fix them? What am I doing wrong that they don’t love me enough to change? It’s mind-boggling how deeply alcohol affects us all and the damage it inflicts.

Understanding A Relationship Affected By Alcohol

Learning more about how alcohol affects us can be the first step in strengthening a relationship affected by alcohol. Start reading This Naked Mind for free today!

You can also join The Alcohol Experiment for daily emails and exercises to support you in a 30-day booze-free challenge.

Start Where You Are

It would be great if once someone stopped drinking the relationships impacted immediately improved. That, however, just isn’t realistic. Just as the body needs time to heal, so does a relationship. The best thing everyone can do is start where they are. Throw away the mental scorecard that has been tracking the hurts inflicted by both sides. Allow the present to dictate the healing journey rather than allowing the past to continue haunting and hurting you both.

Be Open

The single greatest tool in healing a relationship affected by alcohol is to be open to change. Things aren’t going to go back to the way they were before. That is okay. This new way is better. It’s creating a space which is healthier and a better fit for you both. Isn’t the best part of a journey the new experiences? Be open to those new experiences and see what you both will gain from them.