Why Alcoholics Hurt People

     Sadly, people who find this blog often type in the search phrase, ‘why do alcoholics hurt us?‘, which results in an older post I wrote about why drinking is selfish. I renamed that post, Selfish No Matter What, and hopefully this one will come up instead.

     First, let me tell you that it’s not because of you. You are not the reason. There is no person, place or thing to blame. We have only ourselves to blame for our selfish actions.

     Alcoholics and addicts hurts others because their addiction comes first before everything. And if our addiction is our very top priority, then we will do anything it takes to use the way we want, even if that means lying to you, stealing from you, manipulating you, deceiving you, abusing you, hurting you and breaking your heart.

     Many of us probably don’t want to hurt you at all, but if we are addicts, our addiction comes first, and that means nothing and nobody will get in the way of us drinking and using to our little hearts’ content.

     The truth is that you will never come first, because even if we recover, we will have to put our spiritual health above all else. But don’t worry, because if an addict actually puts spiritual growth above all else, then our relationships and every other facet of our lives will end up in the best possible condition. For us, if our relationship with God becomes second to anything, we will lose everything anyway… and then nobody will get what they want. It’s all or none for us. We can’t worship anything worldly or we will become sick and eventually relapse.

     We hurt others because we are perhaps the most selfish and immature people in the world. We hurt others because we are infantile narcissists who feel as though nobody suffers quite the way we do and therefore we have the right to do whatever it takes to remain in our comfort zones. We hurt others because we are pathetic, whiny children who have no clue that life is not about us feeling good all of the time. We hurt others because our minds have become twisted and warped from drinking and using so much that we cannot even see that we are hurting you. We have become deranged and delusional, only believing what we need to tell ourselves to keep our habit going uninterrupted. We hurt you because we have begun lying to ourselves, and when we lie to ourselves, we don’t know if what we’re doing is up or down, left or right, right or wrong, real or unreal. We have broken our minds and therefore we are insane. Insane people don’t know what they’re doing. They only do what they think they need to do to maintain the phony existence they are living.

     There is no excuse for addicts and alcoholics to hurt anyone, and without a doubt, we hurt people just by picking up a drink or drug, let alone the various forms of abuse we inflict. If we have lost control of our drinking or our using, then every time we drink or use, we hurt others. There is no getting around that. There is no using in a vacuum.

     So my advice to my fellow addicts is to realize that you are fake, and then grow up and go get better. Get better because you have given up the right to drink and use drugs. Get better up because you don’t deserve to focus on making yourself feel more comfortable 24/7. Get better because it is the right thing to do. Get better because you owe it to everybody in your life… and you owe it to the entire world. Contrary to what you might believe, the world owes you nothing, so get better because the only other option is to die a miserable death, and spiritually speaking, you don’t want to do that and wind up in some awful place, or wind up coming back to learn the same lessons you were too much of a coward to learn this time around.

God, please show me how much I have hurt others… 

189 thoughts on “Why Alcoholics Hurt People

  1. I feel in love with an alcoholic and need to walk away but it's so hard with him in my heart. God give me the strength to do so.

  2. My brother and sister both are alcoholics. I didn't realize it for many years because they tried to hide it. But for many years they have put me through hell. Starting fights with me about nothing, lieing constantly, blaming me for everything wrong in their lives. I put so much effort into having a healthy relationship with them, and they would always find a way to be mad at me, and make me feel like I was the crazy, unhealthy one. It wasn't until recently when my mom told me that they are alcoholics, that things finally started making sense. I feel a bit angry putting so much effort,emotions and time into a relationship with them, when now I know that is nearly impossible until they realize for themselves they have a problem, and then they get the help they need. I am just now learning about alcoholism, so this page has been very helpful. I could've saved myself alot of heartache, by realizing beforehand about the truth of the situation. They have both pushed me out of their lives. I have lost both my siblings to alcohol. It is so painful! I have mourned the loss of them in my life, it feels as though they are both dead. All I can do is Love them and continue to pray for them. I wish you all the strength you need to heal from the alcoholics abuse in your life. Blessings ♡

  3. The hardest part is knowing they will be Jeckell and Hyde. You never know when they will turn on you.The ups and downs are like a roller coaster. When he isnt drinking we share happy times. I will always have a place in my heart for him.I lived with alcoholics for most of my life.I endured much suffering. I got out due to Alanon and have started. Please read articles on line about Alanon. Go to as many as you can. It will help you get through it or get out sane

  4. I agree! I was in a relationship for 6+ years with an alcoholic. The abuse I endured was terrible. I finally called it quits 5 months ago but I am really struggling with my decision. I know deep down I am better off but it hurts knowing how much love and effort I put in to the relationship. He already has a new girlfriend and it just hurts. It's like I never meant anything to him. Just moved on to the next girl like it's no big deal. How do I get through this?

  5. You get through it by remembering your own worth and that he is still and always will be co dependent. He can't do life alone, he needs the distraction of someone else as to not really dig deep into himself honestly, and deal with his psychosis head on. He did use you and that feels awful. I know because I've been through it. Remember your worth and value your courage to make the change. You loved him, that's why it hurts. Hang in there, you're not alone. Like another person chimed in-how about the rest of us who are surviving the narcissistic BS? We're out here, relating to and supporting one another.

  6. The first mini-vacation my husband took to watch his favorite sports team with his brothers, I naively thought he was going to actually go and watch a professional sport. He really spent over $1000 to binge drink at the pre-game tail-gate party. To the point that they would not even let him in the stadium until he sobered up. The airplane tickets, the stadium tickets for the game was just a cover for the binge tail-gate party that he really wanted to do. He's in his late 40's and was passed out in the backseat of his brothers car, to drunk to get in the event. I think his alcoholic mind is stuck at the age he started drinking. Which was in high school, and he does this to try and re-live his youth? He does this annually. The selfish part….we don't seem to have money for family trips, but he always has money for this solo vacation.

  7. After receiving an email from the once again lapsed alcoholic in my life that triggered some potential suicide concerns, I asked him to please call me before doing anything like killing himself. He said he would commit to that as long as my only response was 'thanks for letting me know, I understand'. When I suggested that this would require me to entirely suspend my morality and humanity and could he even comprehend what trauma that would leave me in for the rest of my life, he said he was sorry he was 'honest' and that he wouldn't make that mistake again. As always he somehow managed to turn my concern for him into me being an awful person. So I decided to challenge him on it and shared this article. Well the retribution was swift and nasty. I am the selfish one for suggesting that he should think of others (this was of course taken to extremes in his response….as though I had suggested he should put other people front and centre in every decision he makes). I was treated to foul language, verbal abuse and being told that wanting my sick father to get well was just me being selfish (the lowest blow of all). So I guess your article hit a nerve since I did not use the word selfish in my email at all….merely attached the link. For nearly 5 years I have put up with his verbal and emotional abuse. If I have ever tried to defend myself it has led to things being twisted so that I appear to be in the wrong. Always. And then I feel guilty because he's so 'sick'. Yesterday was the final straw. I am done. I know that his enablers, including (or perhaps especially) the therapists, will keep telling him 'poor you'. And meanwhile he will never get better. He has never gone to AA because he's special. He started drinking again after a 6 month break because 'nobody is him' so they can't possibly understand. When do these people ever wake up and realise what they've done to the people around them? Were it not for the people in his life he would have been dead ages ago. But he has said he owes nothing to anybody…no thanks, no apologies. But I'm the one who needs to 'see the irony in me calling him selfish'.

  8. I think the reason so many of us stay for far too long is because we can see this person committing slow suicide. And no sane person with any level of compassion finds it easy to let someone voluntarily kill themselves. It takes a long time to understand and accept that as their choice….and you will do anything you can in the meantime to try to fix the situation. Until the day when you know its a fruitless quest. I know personally my struggle has been with feeling like I'm 'evil' for walking away from someone who so clearly needs help. And that's the legacy they leave us with for life. All the 'what ifs' and 'did I do everything I coulds?' And to me that's why addicts are fundamentally selfish….they fail to realize that this is what they are doing to another person. Having to live with that is torture.

  9. Dear Anonymous! I feel your ache… I feel and know in my own way the sense of feeling so \”alone\”. You found this site, as did I only recently! We are learning that we are NOT alone, nor are we crazy even when it feels like we are. Charlie does such a wonderful job of helping us allot to the alcoholics/addicts in our lives their due portion of responsibility, and in doing that, we find our own line-in-the-sand and can better discern our own wise course of action for all concerned, including – yes – for ourselves! I'm a work in progress myself, but Charlie's insights help so much, so keep reading and be empowered! You are not alone!!! Tenderly, MB

  10. Thank you, Anonymous… you said everything I have lived and feel too! Yes, the alcoholic/addict has an illness and yes he/she has a choice… and yes, we too have choices, and as we learn about the illness and what we can and can't do, we stay until we realize our own point when we can no longer stay. I also know that the stories I've read where the alcoholic/addict have actually \”heard\” their loved one and have become awakened to their illness and sought recovery also inform my efforts to keep trying. My biggest failure has been getting caught up TOO emotionally in my efforts and causing my own illnesses. I'm learning the \”art\” of loving and still being willing to offer healthy assistance while not getting sucked into the black-hole of the emotional churn. Indeed… a very fine art to learn! I'm still learning! So grateful for all of you here, MB

  11. I understand… more than I ever wanted to be able to understand! May we all know and use the strength that is ours to access! MB

  12. Omygosh Kendra, c'mon girl… a month? Really? So many red flags. He doesn't deserve you. He's an alcoholic for one and for two he has absolutely nothing to bring to the table. Including no car. The only question you need to be asking yourself is why you would even be willing to settle for a man like that??? That has nothing to do with h I'm and everything to do with you. The bad news…you can't fix him. The good news…its not your job. You can fix you. You are worthy of so much better. Kick him to the curb post haste and get to work on your self esteem. Im rooting for you!!!

  13. I am so hurt and tired and heartbroken. Every night he drinks a pint to a fifth of rum. Every freakin night. Then the arguments start. Sometimes for no reason, sometimes because I have had enough. Then the rage at me begins. Name calling…oh god, I am called every name in the book. Blaming me for everything. He rants and raves and brings up events from years ago and I curl up on the couch like a child and weather the storm until he goes to bed and passes out. I am numb, empty, scared and so depressed. At times I really believe his rants that I am insane, an asshole, worthless and mean. Am I? I don't know anymore. I have been drunk many times in my life and I have done things I am ashamed of but I realized I do not want to drink like that so I don't. I want us to go camping, to the dirt races, a movie, dinner out. There is nothing. Home from work and the nightmare begins. The next day he doesn't know why I am angry or distant or why I look like a zombie…just exisiting. I left my grown children and grandchildren to be with him….9 years ago. I loved him so much. I still love him and I stay…just in case the next day all will be right and life will be normal. Why can't I leave?

  14. Reading these comments makes me so sad. I have a boyfriend whom I love very much, but all he cares about is being drunk! A pint or 2 if possible a night. His life revolves around getting to the liquor store every day. He has no license and no car obviously. He has no income, so he manipulates everyone out of $. I know he'll never change, but he could be a wonderful person if it wasn't for the alcohol.

  15. Read Charlie's post again! And realize that his new girlfriend gets to experience all you went through while you have the opportunity to focus on yourself, make your life better, and then be ready to receive the loving, healthy partner you truly deserve.

  16. Thank you for your wonderful words. I appreciate your continued success. Myvspouse has quit drinking , had a slip up during his sobriety. He quit by non traditional methods . My question. Do addicts say things like, \”you won't like what you get if I quit \”? Why do they say this?

  17. It sounds like a threat. Resentment at u because they don't really want to quit and it's a warning that u have to except the person you get as long as they stop drinking. Basically they're saying whoever i am after the booze is gone, is your fault.

  18. It sounds like a threat. Resentment at u for making him quit. He intends to make you regret the sobriety( nonsense). How does he know you wont like him sober? Because he intends to be unlikable to make u sorry. The alcoholic mentality has too many mind games with it. He gave you a warning listen to him.

  19. I am trying so hard to move on. It hurts so much, he just romanced me until I fell for him. I didn't realize what he was until I fell in love him. But,he has done to me what is said here over, and over again. I am going to try to put on my sneakers and run

  20. Wow. I am certainly happy that I did not know the majority of people who have posted comments on here when I was sick and in need of support. The last thing I needed was anyone to tell me what a horrible human being I was, how disgusting they found me, how little I amounted to in their eyes, and how much my existence pained them. I already felt worthless. I was attempting to figure out if me NOT being in this world would be better for everyone as I wouldn't be able to cause any more pain. Had I run into most of you, I can pretty much guess the path you would have encouraged me to walk. That's pretty heartless, people!You have no idea how THANKFUL I am I didn't come across this site or any of these comments. My children, my husband, my friends, and all of the people I am able to help today are probably thankful for that too. I am sober, happy, and definitely not suffering one little bit from alcoholism. I am thankful for every day I have the opportunity to live and give back to the wonderful people who never gave up on me. I have done some pretty crappy things in my time, but I am so glad I have a the ability to make amends for it now. I do have a disease, it's a reason, not an excuse. There is no excuse for causing pain to others (addict, alcoholic, or just being a whining, crying, codependent asshole who can't forgive). At least I know what my problem is and I don't blame anyone for it. And, to top it off, I don't walk around being \”done to\” either. Believe it or not, bad things happen to EVERYONE…no matter what you suffer from. So, quit trying to find the bad guy and pointing fingers. If someone hurt you, learn to forgive. If you hurt someone, try to make it right. There's a whole lot out there in this world. It's not worth wasting your time on someone who just doesn't care. There are assholes everywhere, people. Just the opinion of a recovered drunk.

  21. We are glad you are well also, and you say you are \”thankful\”. So have you actually \”thanked\” the people in your life for patiently enduring your alcoholism over the years? Have you actually made it right? Have they forgiven all the fights? The pain & humiliation? This site & forum is not about blaming alcoholics, it is about sharing & alleviating the trauma their families are forced to endure… If you don't understand that you are not really thankful.

  22. Thank you for helping me understand why my son hurts me and everyone around him including himself. I have had years of enduring the horrible feeling that somehow I caused him to drink that somehow I failed as a mother. I have cried for so long that I am exhausted and am so depressed I don’t know where to turn. I can no longer discuss this with family because frankly, they’re tired of hearing about it. I know you’ve gone through a lot Charlie but please know that me finding you has been a true blessing. Thank you and God bless you.

  23. I'm a 28 year old female and a self-confessed alcoholic, and all of this is relatable, I didn't choose to be the way I am, and we also can't point the finger at others to make up for the way we are, it's basically an 'addictive nature' that is ingrained in some humans. I don't think it is a disease though, it is a personality trait. I've lost everything to alcohol, my drivers licence-blowing .282 BAC, I mean who does that, I would never drink drive again, knowing full well I could have killed or injured someone, lost all of my friends and my family, lost my job, housemates, you name it, in and out of lockup, urinating in public, attempting to hit police officers, vomiting in the liquor store attempting to buy more. There are situations where I would wake up on the beach from drinking heavily and the police were standing over me and I couldn't even tell them my name. I don't think anyone will ever know what an alcoholic goes through unless they've walked in their shoes, you literally get cravings, you don't enjoy the taste, you just drink bottle after bottle, and smash it down until you drink away the remorse for what you're doing to the people around you. I'm not a daily drinker, however when I start I'll be on a 14 day bender of straight liquor and red wine, and be so close to death it's scary, but you actually can't control it. I wonder if anyone else does this? I've been to rehab on two occasions and they tried to put me on valium and mood stabilisers and I just thought to myself I'm feeding on addiction with another. Alcoholics will always be judged. Even though there are gamblers, smokers etc people always seem to judge alcoholics, because of the misery and havoc we cause. Thanks for the stories, very relatable.

  24. To the alcoholic, it's always someone or something that's the problem and not their drinking. They want no part of this responsibility, and recovery only becomes a new shield to focus on themselves instead of those they hurt. Of the 12 steps, the last one's about making amends (not just apologies) does not register because it requires the very thing they will not accept–responsibility.

  25. Amen. The \”disease\” concept only allows them to remain the center of attention; and the center of their own custom-made world.

  26. Addiction is complex, and likely not a one-size fits all manifestation or solution. Sharing different experiences and solutions is helpful. Being honest about ourselves is helpful, beating selves up and focusing only on character defects until hopelessly giving up is not likely helpful. In reality, we all have angels & demons, positives & negatives, strengths & weaknesses. I lost a family member to this illness, and while many of the traits described are relatable, they had many loveable qualities and positive traits, and this definitely was an illness needing multifaceted treatment including education, behavior modification, medication/nutrition, coping skills, and spiritual strengthening, and yes wanting treatment, buying into and believing that treatment can work was needed. And yes, the chemicals interfered with and prevented rational thought and behavior. This is tough stuff, no picnic in the park, and I support and encourage anybody who is going through this, and anybody working at treatment and recovery…and being there for others going through it. Never give up, nobody is worthless, there is hope and purpose, there is help.

  27. To call it a disease is an insult to people with real diseases. It's a character deficit. These people are highly selfish and put themselves over their own children even. It's a sin.

  28. I, too, am tired of the \”disease\” angle for alcoholism. They make the choice to drink. Mine was abusive to me and had to be removed from our home; I later learned he had also been cheating. Lied about everything, including the fact that he didn't actually have a job. They're worthless.

  29. Choices. It's about the choice of what is most important. I choose to take care of myself, be mentally and physically present for my kids and partner. My mother chose alcohol and cigarettes over her children. We begged her to stop since we were kids. She died from end stage alcoholism on the toilet, alone, staring at a nicotine stained wall, in unforced squalor, with a enabling alcoholic boyfriend who surely hastened her demise.Bottom line, she was a personality disordered narcissist who was incensed that the rules of physics and consequences of life actually applied to her too. It would break my heart if my kids ever felt about me the way I feel about my mother.

  30. So I got an email about my comment and this site the other day and completely had forgotten about it so reading what I had wrote and the replies kind of stung…I wish I would have listened and left. After my post in July of 2016, I was pregnant with our second the chain of events occurred: he got in a bar fight came home mad I wouldn't get out of bed and give him attention he called cops and tried to put me in jail, clearly they took him, he got 2 duis one in which he totaled my truck and blew a 0.24 at noon. After this they put him on a breathalyzer, he was sober we had our second things were great until he was taken off of it. One night he was mad I wouldn't give him his cards to go to the store(he had asked me to hold them and not give them to him) ended badly he put his hands on me, bashed the windows out of my car, slashed my tires. They next day I took our kids and left the state never reporting anything as usual, we stayed gone 2 weeks came home and he was the person I fell in love with, he admitted to getting on cocaine the previous months. The next 2 months were the best time of our entire 11 years together, until shit hit the fan again. This time I went home with my kids, with the intent of going back to him I wanted him to chase after me for once and fight for us and his family because I was so damn tired of doing it. I left may of last year, after I left he basically has spent the last year in and out of jail for meth, another dui, and assault and battery an on officer. The first time I went back to check on things he had literally turned our beautiful family home into a meth home. With him in jail I had been going back every couple months to check in on animals, etc. Ive taken our girls twice to see him. We are in the middle of the divorce process and it is a nightmare. He got out of jail about a week ago, and is telling me hes coming here for xmas(were a couple hundred miles away) and if i don't have a choice, he will destroy anthing in his way….I'm at a point i don't know how to handle him anymore, what advice or words of wisdom do you have? I always want to sit down and write about him, our journey, what weve gone threw i don't even know where to start…

  31. I have read every comment and this is the only one I feel compelled to respond to. When you are married to someone truly practicing his recovery who has enlightened you to the program of Alanon, (where you help yourself and learn to not enable or codepend him), your outlook changes. Some want to stay with their afflicted loved ones, some do not. And it's each one's choice. Continuing with hurtful responses help NO ONE. I have saved this post as I speak at 12 step meetings and it is actually positive. So, thank you. WE DO RECOVER (IF WE WANT TO)

  32. The animals are what kept me from leaving until I realized it was my safety and my children’s that needed to come first. For the last 2 years I have had someone take care of the animals they were never neglected or mistreated

  33. I been with my alcholic bf for 5 years ..alot has happened ..verbal abuse .physical .and just how crazy he gets when he throws things .I begged him to move out of my home to live his own life .i told him this isn't healthy for either of us .he won't go .he works but as soon as hes off he's drinking the weekends he drinks passes out and drinks again .We don't have a loving relationship. I don't know who he is anymore .he was sober for 3 years but that's it maybe 2 not sure either way I'm tired and he keeps saying he knows he had a problem when I try to talk to him he dosent say anything. This is tough .The cops told me the best thing to do if i feel unsafe is a\” restraint order \”.I d k why I'm still putting up with his crap .i cant even stand him touching me from everything he's done .

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