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.

  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.

26 thoughts on “Cheers! The Narcissist and Alcohol

  1. Magnet Empath says:


    Can the narcissist’s chaos drive his codependent wife to become an alcoholic? She used to tell me that she was really upset about he and her family not liking each other and fighting with one another. And she drank started to drink a lot because of it and then became an alcoholic.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It could cause that to happen, yes.

      1. Magnet Empath says:

        Good to know. Thanks, HG!

  2. SuperEmpath says:

    Hi HG,

    1. Is a narcissist who drinks a lot a happy drunk? Or a mean drunk?

    2. And if it depends on the school of narcissist which one would be a mean drunk and which one would be a happy drunk?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      The drink has little to do with it, it is the circumstances surround the narcissist which dictate the response and mood.

      1. K says:

        My father was quite affable when he was drinking with his WWII buddies at the VFW (the Post) but, when he came home, he beat the shit out of my mother and terrorized me and my siblings.

        He was even “nice” to me and my twin when we were at the bar with him and he would buy us root beer floats.

        1. NarcAngel says:

          Same experience here. All facade with others. Just the mention of him going out brought on our angst in knowing what to expect whenever he arrived back and he knew it. He would even stop while driving and go into a bar for ages leaving us kids in a hot car but would come throw us a bag of chips (just what you need in the heat) and go back in. When/if confronted, he would blame the booze for his behavior and say he remembered nothing.

          1. K says:

            It is all about the facade. Imagine if StepNarc pulled that stunt today. My MMRN’s NarcNephew left his son in the car while he went bar-hopping, someone called the police, he was arrested and made it onto the evening news.

            They got away with so much shit back in the day.

      2. Windstorm says:

        I can certainly agree with that. When my Pretzel was still drinking he was at times happy, but at times mean and also sometimes maudlin. He could also switch quickly from one to the other depending on my response. Alcohol just inhibits their control.

      3. SuperEmpath says:

        oh ok. Thanks, HG!

  3. H. says:

    He told me his first marriage broke up because she drank too much. Now that I am in the “know”, i figure it was him who drank the marriage away.

    I could always tell when he was drinking, because I would be loved bombed.

    Then he had knee surgery, found pain pills, and has fell totally into the abyss of addiction.

    I thank everyday that HG has helped me to stay out. What a fucking nightmare.

  4. Vera says:

    This is what fooled me the first time around. I didn’t know he had a problem with alcohol when we met and thought the initial arguments/devaluation was because of his drinking. I tried to leave (and go no contact before I knew what “no contact” was) the first time after a horrible weekend where he binge drank and verbally ripped me apart. But I succumbed to the subsequent hoover, laden with apologies and promises to get sober, pretty quickly. Wasn’t long after we got back together that the devaluation started again, without the excuse of alcohol.
    I think this was also what kept me in denial and in the relationship for as long as I did. It wasn’t until the very end that I realized what I was dealing with. That it wasn’t just an “alcoholic mind” or a “dry drunk” or any other excuse I made for him that I used to hold out hope that he would change.
    Makes me wonder whether even being an alcoholic/addict is also just part of the narc facade.

  5. geyserempath says: on. My Narc drinks during the week, but on the weekends, he is plastered by 7-7.30 p.m. and then goes on FB and likes and comments….

  6. MH says:

    Excellent- in my family it’s accepted that we come from a long line of alcoholics and their attending codependents, but I am realizing there’s more to it than that. Talk about family secrets.

  7. Notnecessary says:

    All I can say is WOW! This just about answers every single question I ever had with respect to trying to understand what I was dealing with. God Bless you (even though you don’t really believe.) You have HELPED beyond words. Whew … just THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

  8. Challenge Fuel says:

    It is very interesting to learn more about the narcissist and addictive behavior. My cerebral mid and I (the times we had great conversation anyway) told me that he was often too nervous to drink alcohol because of the addictive nature of it. While he did not limit alcohol entirely he did say he tended to err on the cautious side with it. I guess now it makes sense. He is obsessed with controlling everything, guess he does not want to lose that control.

  9. Warrior says:

    Thanks. Any thoughts on middle aged/aging female narcs and weight gain. Is it part of the mask if they seem confident even if they have ‘run to fat’.

    1. K says:

      I think your comment is related to their grandiosity gap. Many of my female narcissists do not think they are fat (or don’t care), and I have heard a few say-after looking at a photo of themselves-I didn’t realize I was so fat. I was perplexed to say the least, because they spent a lot of time putting makeup on in front of the mirror.

    2. ava101 says:

      My sisters use it for self-pity, drawing fuel by acting as victims, as if they had nothing to do with it.
      Narc mother never got fat. 😉 But certainly tortured my sisters about (supposed) overweight, and me about being too thin (One of the reasons I stopped talking to her, after she complained for the 10000. time I was too thin – after I had been ill).
      I think I knew several female narcs who are this way – self-pity, not seeing their own responsibility.
      Yes, and what K says – still thinking they are so great.

      The exnarc could go on forever about him gaining weight and then not eating, he exercised … while he didn’t have a single gram of fat on his body.

  10. Lori says:

    Hey your back ! Yay! I love reading your comments.

    HG, you are going to have to hire an Assistant Narc to help you respond to all of the comments and inquiries lol

    1. HG Tudor says:

      True, addressing the volume does require an extra pair of hands, however, there’s only one show in town and that’s me.

      1. Lori says:

        Does someone help you? I mean you have to be getting hundreds of comments and / or inquiries a day and this isn’t your full time gig right?

        Honestly I don’t know how you find time to do it all. You must never sleep lol

        1. HG Tudor says:

          No they do not. Correct, I have a separate life. I do not sleep a lot, but the volume means a lot of comments do remain in moderation for some time until I can get to them.

      2. Lori says:

        Time to hire a Narc trainee 🙂

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