(On describing a man abusive to his family) ….men like that never change. They just wait.

One of the first things I heard in Al-anon was that I didn’t have to accept unacceptable behavior. I need not tolerate violence or abuse and I that I have choices. I chose not to accept any unacceptable behavior not even from my self. I berated myself until I realized that I deserve to be treated with kindness. It wasn’t easy to do after having lived with alcoholism nearly my entire life.

Alcohol allows the abuser to justify his abusive behavior as a result of the alcohol. While an abuser’s use of alcohol may have an effect on the severity of the abuse or the ease with which the abuser can justify his actions, an abuser does not become violent “because” drinking causes him to lose control of his temper.

Alcohol influences your behavior in many ways. The most obvious way is that it changes your reaction to your immediate environment. Heavy drinking is dangerous, especially when you are in an unfamiliar area. Alcohol leads to myopia (short-sightedness) which means your focus and attention to obvious cues and information hinders severely.

Overall, alcohol influences your behavior. Most of us have had moments intoxicated that we look back on in confusion. Moments like these are not always easy to accept, especially if we put ourselves in a jeopardizing situation.

Many times, the frustration and stress can be caused by your own actions and choices. By adjusting your approach and your attitude toward the problem, you can place it in a different perspective so that it no longer dominates your thoughts and your life. In some ways, knowing that you can change your approach and attitude is empowering. You no longer need to continue doing some of the things you do in your dance with a person with an addiction.

Here are six ways heavy drinking affects your capacity to make sound decisions:

  • Empty Promises

Alcohol can cause you to make false commitments. This is because people focus on the desirability of a goal rather than the work required attaining that goal. Therefore, you might make empty goals and commitments at the moment. However, once sober, you fail to follow through on your promises. Consistently committing to things while intoxicated is not a great way of gaining trust with those around you.

  • Self-awareness

When intoxicated, a person loses their ability to monitor their behavior successfully. Eventually, the attitude changes from being aware and responsible to “who cares?” However, being aware of yourself and your behavior is important. While you might not care at the moment, you will care when the alcohol wears off.

  • Anxiety Relief

Alcohol relieves stress and anxiety. Often, people state they are drinking to “take the edge off.” However, did you know that alcohol can make anxiety worse? That’s right. Although the ethanol in alcohol can temporarily reduce anxiety, it does not cure it. In fact, anxiety and alcohol use can worsen drinking behavior and make anxiety worse. It’s a bad cycle. Don’t do it!

  • Overeating

Heavy drinking triggers overeating. If you have ever driven past a pizzeria downtown around 2 a.m., you know this is the case. Alcohol impairs a person’s ability to control or regulate their food intake. Even the most chronic dieters tend to overeat after a few drinks. Alcohol already is loaded with calories and eating junk food on top of it is a major no-no for weight loss. Cutting out the alcohol will help in your weight loss goals and make you feel healthier overall.

  • Aggressiveness

For some people, alcohol can make them very aggressive and angry towards others. We all know these people. They are usually seen getting into some altercation at a bar or yelling angrily over something relatively insignificant. Alcohol itself does not necessarily cause aggression. It increases the amount of aggression a person feels when provoked. Therefore, when a person feels challenged; rather than ignore that behavior, they respond in an aggressive manner. They are limited in their ability to have restraint.

  • Impulsive Behavior

Ever made a bad decision intoxicated? Yeah, me too.
Alcohol in high doses limits our capacity to inhibit impulsive behaviors. When a person is intoxicated, they respond only to what will provide them with immediate pleasure. They do not analyze the risk of that behavior because alcohol limits our inhibitions. We feel free and reckless when intoxicated like there are no consequences. However, as we all know, every action has a consequence, regardless of how drunk you were when it happened.

And for every action there is a reaction. Dealing with an abusive alcoholic unfortunately is something that many friends and family members of someone with a drinking problem must deal with. An abusive alcoholic does not always have to be abusive to be considered an abusive alcoholic.

Some may only be abusive when they are drunk, others may only be abusive when going through alcohol withdrawal. Often times it is unpredictable when someone with an alcohol abuse problem will or will not be abusive.It is not confirmed if alcoholism is the reason for the abusive behavior, or if it merely agitates what would already be an abusive relationship. Some may believe that it is onlyabusive men that are a threat. However, women are just as possible to be abusive alcoholics.

10 Things to Stop Doing If You Love an Alcoholic

  • Blaming yourself
  • Taking it personally
  • Trying to control it
  • Trying to cure it
  • Covering it up
  • Accepting unacceptable behavior
  • Having unreasonable expectations
  • Living in the past
  • Enabling
  • Putting off getting help
  • Seek out an Al-anon group
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