Cheers ! The Narcissist and Alcohol

 cheers

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

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34 thoughts on “Cheers ! The Narcissist and Alcohol”

  1. How can a narc quit drinking for many years and stay sober if they can’t or don’t take responsibility and accountability? Wouldn’t they just continue to drink and remain in denial because they feel too superior to admit that they have a problem?

  2. My husband, didn’t drink much. However, he has been addicted to oxycodone for 21 years. He says he is not an addict. He says, I don’t drink. I have to have something in my life. And he is terrible with gambling.

    He also, likes to get the woman he hooks, and is in a relationship with on the pills. He hides it in beginning, and then he gets caught, or can’t hide it anymore.he will offer some, and then all the sudden you realize every night, you are winding down by snorting 30mg oxycodones, and he loves it.
    Then he will accuse you of being an addict, and weak. Although he goes through withdrawals too. I personally couldn’t do it anymore. I got help, and haven’t touched a pill in 3 years. he resented me more, and would try his hardest to get me to use, telling me I was weak, etc. He would twist the whole dynamic, people do not believe he has a problem. Only his father, who enables bc he gets a prescription, the drug dealers. He doesn’t get drug tested at work. He’s driving a truck, and climbing ladders high all day long. High. And the exes are labeled pathetic junkies. There is no point telling your side, or that he uses. Bc he’s so charming, they won’t believe it, they have no clue the severity of it. And why don’t his supporters, see that gee 30 crazy bi polar exes, whom all have had to go to rehab, go get help, or continued in the same cycle even though they broke up with drugs. I have talked to many of his exes, I was even warned. It’s all the same, just a different lady.

  3. #8….”The whisperings of the Creature are silenced by the pouring of another glass. How marvelous 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”…
    This is the same for empaths (the creature for me was of course the narc). Admittedly, I am still a fan of self medicating.
    And, I also drive like a maniac! Yikes, perhaps I am inverted narc…
    HG… Uncle on your mom’s side, correct?

  4. NSS
    StepNarc was as you describe only he skipped the happy and went straight to aggressive. Would start an argument with my mother that would lead to physical violence, order the children to bring favorite toys and things so he could break or destroy them so we would “see what it felt like to be disappointed”, etc. Next morning yup, be quiet and dont wake the beast. Nobody spoke and we were all to pretend nothing happened. I think I told the story before of me going to him as a child and asking why he hurt us (after such a night). He looked pitiful and said when he drank he could say things he couldnt say at other times. I told him no one wanted to hear them and that from then on I would know that when he drank he PLANNED in advance and was choosing to hurt us and then walked away.

  5. Ahhh.. The demon could never control himself after a bottle of wine .

    The pattern was ALWAYS the same ..
    Happy drunk .
    I’m superior to everyone else drunk .
    Aggressive drunk.
    I’m going to break your things because I don’t give a shit drunk .
    And finally the violent drunk . ..

    Next morning, nothing. No acknowledgment of the night before . No apology ( as if) Smashed things cleaned up .. Whats for breakfast ? .
    🙁

  6. Hi HG,
    I find it very interesting that Alcoholism and narcissism resemble each other so much. Because they do, is there anyway to distinguish non-narc alcoholic from the narc alcoholic if no steps are taken by the non-narc alcoholic to refrain from drinking long enough to see the difference?

  7. I never connected the two ideas, but it makes incredible sense now. After being married to him for awhile and raising children together I thought he’d “grow up” and get a handle on how he drinks, but it never happened. If anything it only became more pronounced and more extreme. He drank himself stupid, even at public functions with his colleagues. Around his own friend group it was worse. And his behavior ranged in the extremes, from the crazy, fun, life of the party to the belligerent, hot-headed lunatic screaming at strangers on a bus.
    He was beyond embarrassing, for me and our kids. This forced me to be the designated driver more often than I desired – and then he blamed me for being a buzzkill and sucking all of the fun out of our lives. Unbelievable.

  8. The N I’m married to is so proud of the fact that she can drink most men under the table. Special cool girl 😉

    N is always in complete control when she’s drinking. At least in her mind. Never ever a sloppy or tearful drunk. Occasionally overly aggressive in public, often nasty in private.

    She drinks daily. Unless she’s on a kick, then “no drinking during the week” which means at home but she’s never home every night of the week so….

    She’s just an N who drinks as much as she wants when she wants because she can.

  9. I hope my ex-narc’s new supply will enjoy visiting him in jail when he gets his next DUI. It would be his 4th, and he’ll go away for a long time and lose his driving license premanently. I’ve heard that when they go out, he always has to drive because she drinks even more than he does. I may not have been an acceptable fuel supply anymore, but at least I was a dependable designated driver. Karma’s a bitch, huh?

  10. Slightly off topic sorry but…HG are you good at telling jokes or funny stories? My ex was AWFUL at it. It actually made me cringe….he would drag on and on and on, wasn’t concise and invariably people I’m sure would only laugh out of politeness.

    Would it be fair to say that the lack of empathy inherent goes hand in hand with a lack of awareness about social cues? Is this more particular to certain schools of N? Or might he know exactly what he’s doing but doesn’t give a damn and/or enjoys watching people indulge him despite it? Because we’re all idiots of course.

    1. I can regale a crowd with a humorous anecdote or joke, but then I am an excellent public speaker and orator. I have to be.

      I agree however that the lack of emotional intelligence for some of our kind does impact in terms of a lack of awareness of social cues.

      1. Hahaha. ABW! I knew someone would pick up on that.. good answer but he has talked in the past about “closing deals?” It sounds to me like he has to give presentations on a regular basis to potential clients. Some type of sales.

      2. Hi Sues,
        He finished prestigious university. He could have been a doctor but as he dislikes touching people he probably chose something to do with law. His lieutenants are in politics, law , court. He operates within those circles. He is the authority. He has seen lots of ‘bad things ‘and nothing suprised him. He needs to be good at judging people’s character. He is checking new employees ‘in the field ‘. I think he is doing something we all benefit from ( at least in the UK), fighting bad people.
        Prosecutor ticks many boxes.

      3. Abrokenwing
        Haha. You seem to be kerping a list. Has anyone ever guessed Military?

      4. Thank ABW!
        That makes sense but the “closing deals” comments are still sticking with me.. he can still have graduated from a prestigious university and still be in some type of sales.. such as a high powered negotiator for a large global companies. That is in the realm of selling. Well whatever it is , it is interesting to try to put all of the clues together! Lol
        Thank you for responding to me 👍🏻😁

      5. NA,
        Yes, military would explain immediate justice being served ..😰
        He respects Prince Harry for serving in Afghanistan and have a good knowledge of current situation in the Middle East.
        Don’t laugh, but when he disappears from the blog sometimes i think he is on the ‘mission ‘ somewhere and in danger..and I’m relieved when he is back to us safe.
        Btw- what’s kerping?

  11. When he drunk to much and suffered the consequences he blamed me for it because I did not stop him.
    When I expressed my concerns about him drinking too much he perceived it as a criticism.

  12. My ex drank Bloody Mary’s, vodka martinis and red wine almost every day of the week and strongly encouraged me to drink with him by placing a glass of red wine in my hand after I said, “No.” My father had NPD and was a raging alcoholic. He would come home from the bar and start beating the shit out of my mother, so my older sister would hide me and my brother in the attic and then call the police. It was absolute bedlam.

    1. Are you asking me? But no, not that I know of. He said he was sweating it off. He was doing a lot of sport. He said he needed it to get rid of all the energy he had. He liked to push himself to the limits, like running for kilometers under the sun in August with 38 degrees C….
      Just the thought of it was making me dizzy.

      1. I was meaning to reply to the post Giulia but mine pushed himself very hard as well, He said he was a machine or a beast. How true.

  13. He used to drink alcohol. We all drink wine at lunch, dinner and parties but wiskey, vodka, gin….those drinks are not common. He was having shots of wiskey before dinner, on empty stomach. If I do somthing like that I will have to go to the hospital. I never saw him drunk, I never noticed any of the changes due to some drinks. I know because he was telling me about it. I was worried about his health. Maybe that’s what he wanted, me worried about him.

  14. I always thought he behaved the way he did because he was an alcoholic! But after he stopped drinking his behavior was the same if not worse! I blamed it on his abusive upbringing, I blamed it on myself! It wasn’t until I found you HG that I realized I was dealing with a narcissist!

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