Cheers! The Narcissist and Alcohol
Alcohol is a pervasive drug. A Bloody Mary prior to lunch, a liquid lunch to conduct business, afternoon drinks because it feels like skipping school, drinks straight from work which turn into a session, celebratory drinks for a birthday, a deal done well, an anniversary or just because it is Friday. Drinks at the golf club, prior to the big game, at the BBQ, at the funeral wake, a night cap, a toast, a cheeky snifter before heading home, one for the road, a hair of the dog to shift the hangover. Drink is everywhere and is deemed socially acceptable despite the misery that its excessive consumption causes.
What part does alcohol play in the narcissist dynamic? I do not mean the occasional drink with an excellent meal or the social beers in a bar with friends, the regulated and moderate drinking which does not bring with it problems. I am referring to alcoholism, where there is a reliance and a dependence on alcohol. How does that factor into the narcissistic dynamic?
At the outset it is necessary to distinguish between the alcoholic who is a not a narcissist and the narcissist who is an alcoholic. This is important because narcissism and alcoholism actually share similar traits.
– There is the deceit that is involved in engaging in excessive drinking and engaging in narcissistic behaviour;
– Both have sufferers who lack any insight that they have a problem;
– Both require the manipulation of other people to achieve their aim. The narcissist manipulates to gain fuel, the alcoholic manipulates to drink.
– Both engage in telling lies on a repeated basis about what they have been doing, where they have been, how much they have had to drink, whether they have had a drink;
– Both result in selfish behaviour;
– Other people find themselves being put second on a repeated basis to the needs of either the narcissist or the alcoholic;
– Both engage in switching behaviour, being pleasant and likeable one moment and then suddenly abusive; and
– The pursuit of the end game (fuel/drink) becomes the sole concern of the relevant individual
Accordingly, the behaviours of the narcissist and the alcoholic appear most similar. The alcoholic may present with narcissistic traits (as described above) but a sober alcoholic will see those narcissistic traits fall away to reveal that he or she is an alcoholic but not a narcissist. The addition of alcohol to this individual causes them to become narcissistic but they are not a narcissist.
The narcissist however who is also an alcoholic may stop drinking but the narcissism will remain. Indeed, there are many occasions where a victim will realise that they are involved with an alcoholic but they will not realise that this person is actually a narcissist who is also an alcoholic since alcoholism is far more readily identifiable than narcissism.
Narcissism leads to alcoholism. Not in every instance. I am not an alcoholic. I like to drink, in fact I enjoy it very much and I can consume significant amounts but I do not become blind drunk because I do not want to lose control. I have seen the narcissist who is an alcoholic and that is my Uncle Robert. His aged frame and bitterness are a clear testament to the aging that comes with a lifetime of downing his first gin and tonic at 11am and not stopping until the stupor arrives sometime after 9pm. Watching him as I was younger, observing his behaviours arising from his drinking (and later understanding that this was a layer upon his rampant narcissism) this served as a useful warning to me to ensure that I used drink for my purposes and did not allow it to consume me. I am fortunate I have that self-control and discipline, since many of our kind do not.
Alcoholism is a symptom of a certain mind set and narcissism is a mindset which lends itself to alcoholism occurring. Narcissists are creatures of addiction. We are addicted primarily to fuel. This is our drug, but being this way also means that we have a susceptibility to other addictive behaviours. This is why we engage in taking recreational drugs, shop with complete disregard for the financial repercussions, engage in workaholism, gamble and drive like maniacs. Not all will be present but there is a propensity for our kind to engage in these kind of behaviour because of our vulnerability to addiction.
The traits of our narcissism lend themselves to fostering alcoholism. Not only are we prone to addictive behaviour per se, the existence of these traits means that we become even more vulnerable to alcoholism occurring.
- Our magical thinking, our sense of superiority and omnipotence means that we believe that we can deal with alcohol better than the “little people”. We can drink more, we can handle that drink better and we can drink all manner of different types.
- The broad range of types of alcohol, the rich and varied culture that accompanies appeals to us as we show off our knowledge about it. The Cerebral Narcissist can boast about his extensive knowledge about particular wines or whiskies. The Somatic can brag about how much he has spent on a magnum of champagne and the Elite will do both.
- Our hunting grounds for our victims invariably involve the consumption of alcohol. The Somatic Narcissist who find his prey in the night club and amidst the chrome and neon lights of upmarket bars is going to be exposed to alcohol repeatedly.
- Our lack of accountability means that we can drink when we want, with who we want, where we want and we do not suffer the consequences. We can drink at lunchtime before making a presentation and believe we are immune to any such repercussion. We will take the wheel of a car having consumed alcohol because the laws are not applicable to us. We will not suffer any downside from drinking, we are a super man and able to cope with the toxins we are pouring into our throats.
- The desire to be centre stage. The provision of alcohol acts (at first) as an accelerant to our grandiose behaviour, our sense of showing off and performance and therefore slugging it down as we hold court in a bar, show off with our dancing and engage in our flirtations all assist ensuring that we are at centre stage and remain there.
- Blame-Shifting One. You make us drink. If you did as we wanted you to, then we would not be forced to have to drink to numb ourselves from the tedium that you cause. If you loved us properly we would not embrace the bottle. It is your fault that we drink so much.
- Blame-Shifting Two. The repercussions and consequences of drinking are your fault as well. If you had not made me leave the car after I had been drinking, it would not have a got a ticket. The final warning, I received because I was drunk on the job was down to you making me go into work because we need the money (even though you begged me to stay at home). Our abusive behaviour to people when drunk is down to you making us that way. You should have stopped us.
- Refuge. The consumption of alcohol by our kind allows us to take refuge. The Mid-Ranger who is innocuous turns into a raging Elvis impersonator as his grandiosity soars through the repeated application of drink. Drinking allows our kind to become ebullient, impressive and charismatic as it bridges the gap between what we really are and what we want the world to see. Alcohol removes the shackles which this cruel world seeks to impose on us and allows us to be who we want to be and who we want the world to see. We are freed of the terror of rejection since nobody can resist us when we are buoyed by this alcoholic uplift. The whisperings of the Creature are silenced by the pouring of another glass. How marvellous alcohol is to allow us to be what we want to be and to take away all the other concerns, limitations and problems that plague us.
- Removal of the mask. The lower functioning of our kind find a sense of relief in no longing needing to adopt a mask but rather allow the mask of alcohol and drunkenness to enable them to show what they are really like without fearing for the repercussions of rejection and criticism.
- Alcohol is a fuel enabler. It allows our kind to become better and more brilliant and in turn gather the fuel with greater ease, whether this is through impressing someone with confident conversation, sparkling wit and repartee orthe descent into abusive behaviour as time wears on and the drink mounts up.
The fact that so many traits of ours are geared towards the consumption of alcohol and the fact that this consumption enables us to achieve our goals with greater apparent ease added to the fact that we have an inherent susceptibility towards addiction for the reason explained above, means that this cocktail increases considerably the risk that a narcissist will be an alcoholic.
25 thoughts on “Cheers! The Narcissist and Alcohol”
This is an excellent article on alcoholism and narcissism. Your correlation between the two seems spot-on.
I landed here because I just saw a study on “getting drunk.” Apparently, the British 🇬🇧 get drunk more often than any other nation. A close second is us. 🇺🇸 Then Canada 🇨🇦 and Australia 🇭🇲 follow, at least according to this particular study. Cheers 🥂 to all who participated.
I was curious to see what your thoughts were here, HG. Your ability to view subjects in such an objective manner still impresses me. It was nice to find such an enlightened account on this subject.
Thank you and you are welcome.
I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t mean it. 🙂
Sometimes I stay so angry at this whole narcissism thing… (not that my handle gives that away or anything 🙄) but I’m so burnt from it, that I find myself trying to paint the narcissist in a different light. I try to suppress my empathic side in order to stop hurting … so I allow myself to forget just how much more alike we all are than different. Your ability to see the world in an open-minded way goes against every stereotype I have entertained of a narcissistic person. So to see some of your earlier writings, when you were, in my opinion, more raw and open … it just impressed me… to remember how keen-eyed you actually are.
Speaking of being more alike than different … any words of wisdom on why the top four countries who enjoy getting smashed all speak English?
Narcissist and alcohol = emotional wounds like no other. Mine is a mean drunk. So much that the words hurt, I remember the feeling but I pushed them out of my brain because it hurt too much.
Every night he goes to bed with a beer “bottle”. He says it’s my fault he has to drink so much. And when I don’t drink he becomes irritated. I’m not a drinker at ALL.
Try finding an Al-Anon meeting. That’s the support group for families of alcoholics. Just like we are always so surprised here in this site by how alike our narcs are, talking to other women in Al-Anon can be the same for alcohol abuse. You can pick up a lot of support and ways to deal with your situation. If you get a good sponsor it can be tremendously helpful. 😊
Is it along the same lines as gambling? HG, would a narcissist ever stop gambling? My exN was always taking risk (financially and sexually) I believe he has more disposable income at this point. Will the gambling seize now? Will repayment ever surface to me? Thanks
Gambling is similar.
I like green eggs and ham. I believe the eggs were cooked in pot butter and this is why they are green.
Sam I Am
Ahhh, just in time for all the green beer about to be served for St. Patty’s Day.
Remember the joke I told you a year ago?
What does a poor Irishman call a seven course meal?
A baked potato and a six pack.
Interestingly, the Irish get their knickers in a twist about it being referred to as St Patty’s Day – they call is St Patrick’s Day or St Paddy’s Day.
I did not know that!
I’m almost Irish, did a test today.
That’s a pretty funny joke, Clarece! 😀 I think (hope) that I have enough Irish in me that I can laugh without offending the fine people of Ireland. But seriously… who doesn’t love a well-baked potato? 🥔 🍺 I find it interesting how we Americans have taken the St. Patrick’s Day celebration to a whole other level. The same has been said of Cinco de Mayo, as we apparently celebrate it beyond the level of the good folks in Mexico.
I’m starting to think that we Americans are just looking for a good excuse to party. 🥳
And I’ll drink to that.🍹
– silent treatment –
Oh and sometimes – the silence treatment is only a weekend on which he was visited by Johnny Walker (Whiskey) and not by a woman.
HG, there is another trick, narcissists use. My personal devil always tried to seduce other people to drink too much. Then he had the full power to let them do what he wanted or to humiliate them. He used a weak “friend” who was very close to alcohol , made him drunk and then brought him to a prostitute. Next day he told everybody about the behaviour of the drunken friend and his experience with the prostitute. He even tries to seduce driving friends to drink alcohol. I believe he would be satisfied to see them losing their driver-licence.He did so many times. He himself drinks only too much when he is alone at home and no-one sees it. I found bottles. Of course – the friend drank them.
Beautifully put. Much harder for female narcissist to carry off but one recent tv anchor confession shows her unmasking.
But we did see the signs:
the surgical enhancements over time, (lip plumping, Facial muscle paralyzed, collagen injections, porcelain teeth, implants) the cuck husband (aka “mr mom”) all mask enhancers to play with the big boys.
She drank the koolaid mantra “you can have it all!”
This is an amazing article — I can read it over and over again. Excellent written. My first ex was a Greater, and my second a Mid, Smart and Alcoholic. The second was the worst — he hid his traits so well for many years….
Both of my Ex Narcs are alcoholics.and substance abusers at times as well but even during sober periods the Narc is there as it has always been. The only time I ever saw real tears from either one of them was while they were drunk
Too true. My experience as well. But the tears are always for themselves.
They were unlikely to be real tears. I used to be suckered in by the waterworks cascading from my narcs beautiful blue eyes. He could cry on command. I watched him do it with a mark when he did not realise I was in the same place as he was very recently.
Who woudn’t want to be with you!? 🙂
And what of the pot-head?
I can pretty much guarantee that pot is not the only thing floating your narcs boat. Sadly.