Substance abuse and unfriendly behavior

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. For several years now, I have noticed a difference in the way that people respond to me. I am at times inclined to believe that I am a bit harsh or unfriendly. I don’t feel this way inside or that I am trying to convey any negativity. I do know that I do not feel as happy as I once did. Also, I have noticed for about the same amount of time that when I go out and drink socially that I am having more incidents of becoming angry or upset than ever before. I am affected more physically by alcohol (motor skills, etc). This has never been a problem for me in the past, however it is a big problem now. I often regret something the day after drinking.

I do not want to give up social drinking, but I cannot continue to feel the way that I do after drinking. I want very much to improve myself in terms of the attitude problem I am unaware of and I want to be able to know when to say when with the alcohol without totally stopping consumption. I am getting ready to get married and the only time I have arguments with my fiance is after too much to drink. I don’t want to start our lives together with any bad memories. Bottom line, I want to be happier and perceived as such. I want to have a little more control over the alcohol situation and understand why it did not used to affect me this way.

A. It would not hurt for you for to see a therapist for this problem. A therapist could help you evaluate your behavior in social situations. He or she can sit down with you and review a social interaction and determine if your behavior is appropriate in a given situation. It would be helpful for you to know how you contributed to a situation or how and if your behavior needs to be changed.

With regard to the drinking, my assessment, based on the information that have you provided, is that your drinking has gotten out of your control (by your own admission). It seems that there are situations in which you cannot stop drinking and that inability to stop is causing you to behave inappropriately and is causing problems with your fiancé. This is a problem that is currently harming your relationship and if not stopped could mushroom into an unmanageable problem. Realize that your drinking is out of control (to what degree I am not sure) and that if you are having difficulty in knowing when “enough is enough,” a good therapist could assist you in reining in your drinking behavior.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Sep 2007

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2007). Substance abuse and unfriendly behavior. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/09/26/substance-abuse-and-unfriendly-behavior/