Is drinking destroying your relationship?

“The first few months we dated, I never knew he drank. I would have never guessed it because, after all, he went to mass every Sunday. One time, he invited me to go out with his friends. He kissed me when he was drunk. I felt so dirty after. No girl grows up dreaming one of her first kisses would be in a dive bar with a wasted boyfriend.

I justified it, saying he only drank that much once or twice a month. But, his actions while under the influence were unchaste—flirting with other girls, grinding on the dance floor, and trying to go too far when kissing me. Also, I noticed binge drinking became as important as our relationship—date night Friday, getting drunk on Saturday night, and church Sunday.

I stopped going out with his friends because I started binging myself. So, I would sometimes sit home alone on a Friday night, knowing my boyfriend was out drinking with his friends. I felt so abandoned. I felt so alone. I knew this wasn’t what love was supposed to be.”

This is a true story, retold with permission. She eventually got out of that relationship destroyed by drinking.

What is binge drinking?  Binge drinking is defined as a man consuming five drinks or a woman consuming four drinks in a two hour period. This raises the blood alcohol level above .08 and is scientifically proven to physically and mentally impair every person. Regardless if someone says he/she is, “in control” after that much to drink, science speaks for itself.

What’s the big deal with binge drinking?

It is unchaste.  Binge drinking is easy to excuse away as something young people do. But, it is unchaste because it violates the virtue of temperance. Temperance moderates food, drink, and sex because they are the “greatest forms of pleasure” and how the human race is preserved. “Abstinence and sobriety,” are essential to living a chaste life—they regulate the nutritive appetite in food/drink and the procreative appetite in sex.

It can lead to hook-ups. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to casual sexual encounters—whether it is grinding, kissing, making out, or having sex.Hook-ups most commonly occur while drunk because it lowers inhibitions and masks shame that would normally occur after hooking up.

Like porn, it removes intimacy and love from sexuality. Hooking up, which most commonly occurs while drunk, reduces sexual actions to a purely mechanical and physical action, in the same way that porn does. Even if it’s, “just a kiss,” hooking up removes the love and relationship element from sexuality.

It ruins your relationship with God. Galatians 5:21 lists binge drinking alongside sexual promiscuity when it says, “drinking bouts, orgies… those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  Living a chaste lifestyle is necessary to our relationship with God and staying on the narrow road to heaven.

It can’t be justified with excuses.  “I only do it to spend time with my friends,” is not a valid excuse.  If almost every activity with friends involves binge drinking (or underage drinking), the friendships are hollow. “I don’t do it all the time,” is not a valid excuse because the very nature of binge drinking is that it isn’t done all the time —binging includes periods of abstaining.

It ruins relationships.  Relationships involving binge drinking experience problems, including:

  • Flirting or cheating under the influence;
  • Abandoning his/her significant other to binge or expecting he/she to join or tolerate it;
  • Being too exhausted to spend time with his/her significant other the day after a night of binging;
  • Resenting his/her significant other when he/she wants to do something instead of binge;
  • Saying hurtful comments to his/her significant other under the influence;
  • Delaying commitment so he/she is “free” to binge whenever he/she wants.

While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with alcohol, it must be used with temperance. If you’ve made mistakes with alcohol in the past, go to Confession and pray to God for strength to turn away from it. He will lead you to healthy and holy relationships.

__________________________

Emily7Emily Brandenburg is a Catholic Youth and Young Adult leader in the Diocese of Orange, California.  She hosts a large Bible study and Praise, Worship, and Adoration evenings.  In addition, she is concertmaster of St. Martin’s Orchestra, holds a J.D. from Pepperdine School of Law, and is a full-time attorney.  She enjoys spending time outdoors, fellowshipping with family and friends, making new friends, and always having a good laugh.  You can connect with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Emily-Brandenburg/1565280567042667 and Instagram at @emily_brande.  She blogs at TheNetofLove.blogspot.com.

24 Comments

  1. I went out with a girl once that wanted me to out drinking with her. I let the relationship last WAY too long because I thought I could save her from it (yes there are guys who try to save girls too) No matter what I said about how drinking just to get drunk was wrong, and how I have seen the ugly side of it she didn’t care and it ultimately destroyed the relationship. I refuse to drink myself and she just didn’t get it. Instead of supporting my choice all she did was say how she wished I could drink and get drunk with her. Every time we went out I had to give reasons why I don’t drink how backwards crazy is that. I stood with my principals and ended what little relationship was there.
    I agree there is nothing wrong with a glass of wine on occasion, but binge drinking just shows how little control you have over your desires. Staying with someone or giving excuses for your boyfriend/girlfriends destructive habits is not something anyone needs in their life, and you are in that relationship just know that you are worth so much more and I hope you get out. I am by no means condemning those who drink excessively but I pray that they find change their lifestyle and choose to truly live life to its fullest the way God made us to
    John 10:10

    By Kyle | 2 years ago Reply
    • I completely agree, Kyle – there is no way you can save a significant other from the destructive habit of alcohol abuse without them coming to the realization themselves. Thank you for sharing a man’s perspective.

      By Emily | 2 years ago Reply
  2. The only part of this post I disagree with is the definition of binge drinking. To me, I expand binge drinking to drinking with the intention of getting drunk.

    Kyle, your experience is why I’ve always held to a rule that says, “if she doesn’t drink, I don’t drink.” I’ve dated girls who were sober and gave me permission to drink, and even then I never had more than one drink if she was with me, and those were rare occasions. That rule goes back to before I even cared about chastity, before I started living for Christ rather than pretending.

    By Bryan | 2 years ago Reply
    • Good point, Bryan. I included the definition only because it is very prevalent among young people. It absolutely applies to intentionally getting drunk as well. Thanks for the comment.

      By Emily | 2 years ago Reply
      • I only expand it because I used to drink all the time when I was an underage college student, but rarely did I ever have more than 4 drinks in a two hour window. But my intention was almost always to get intoxicated and do something stupid.

        The clinical definition is a great start, but that’s all it is. A start.

        By Bryan | 2 years ago Reply
        • That’s very true, Bryan. As St. Augustine said, “Knowingly to take too much drink to the point of being drunk, is a mortal sin.” I started with the clinical definition because many who abuse alcohol are in denial and don’t think they drink that much.
          I’ve heard someone say they weren’t drunk after 8 shots because they were “in control.” So, it’s nice to start with an objective standard of “drunk.” I definitely agree that the clinical definition is a start, and that intentionally getting drunk is also wrong.

          By Emily | 2 years ago Reply
  3. I think it is important to remember that alcoholism is a disease that comes in many forms. We are powerless over a disease, especially when it is someone else. Al-Anon is a great resource if you love someone that drinks too much. Every state has a website with helpful information.

    By Dianne Gustowski | 2 years ago Reply
    • Dianne I absolutely agree that alcoholism is a disease that needs to be treated. However, I don’t think most binge-drinking college students can be classified as alcoholics.

      It certainly can lead to alcoholism, though, and it is a good idea for everyone to learn the warning signs. Like any disease, early detection is the best way to overcome it.

      By Bryan | 2 years ago Reply
  4. Hi Emily, thanks for the article. I think that questions around “how much drinking is too much?” is one that needs to be explored further in Catholic society. I was just wondering what your scientific source was that you used in your definition of binge drinking. Thank you.

    By Anthony | 2 years ago Reply
  5. I have been married for over 30 years and my husband has drank all these years. It takes so much from you and your family. Within time you lose the love you have for him and the kids lose their respect. It’s a hard life.

    By Diana | 2 years ago Reply
    • Thank you for the note, Diana. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

      By Emily | 2 years ago Reply
  6. Great article Emily! Its interesting the way God works for this post has come at a perfect time fore me. Last Saturday was my sister’s 18th and I definitely drank far too much and of course my senses weren’t sharp. My ex was at the party and we started talking and went back into detail about our relationship we once had. This conversation went too deep and I know if I was in full control of my senses I would not have let it even start with our previous relationship. The next day I felt awful, I regretted many things I said the night before and felt so ashamed before God. Of course I went to confession and made a thorough examination of conscience. In the last few months I have been listening a-lot to Jason and Chrystalina Evert and practising chastity, chivalry, and how to become the man God wants me to be. Drinking too much alcohol makes one forget this training and as you stated is “unchaste.” I do agree with Kyle also in that guys also try to convert girls, particularly those who drink too much, for many times I too have tried to no avail. I am yet to meet that amazing girl out there, but I know that she is waiting for me and I pray every day that our Blessed mother Mary watches over her. Thank-you for sharing this article, again its a sign from God that helps me stay on the path towards His heavenly kingdom. God bless you Emily and all that you do from Australia.

    By John | 2 years ago Reply
    • Blessings to you too, John! Thanks for sharing your journey of living for Christ.

      By Emily | 2 years ago Reply
  7. I feel like every guy I’ve been with was an alcoholic to one degree or another.
    When a guy drinks even when he doesn’t enjoy it, he’s got issues. If a guy drinks just because someone offers him a drink, hes not in tune with himself. If a guy drinks a lot almost every time he drinks, he’s got issues.
    Took a while for me to read the signs.
    In short, if he’s a heavy/uncontrollable drinker consistently or off and on, he has internal issues that will eventually surface and result in him destroying your relationship with him, because, if he’s drinking, he probably hates himself and doesn’t know what else to do.

    I’ve seen guys try to change for me. If you’re in a situation where a fut likes you and you notice he has a drinking habit, don’t date him unless he not only changes his drinking, but the entire way he lives his life.

    By jess | 2 years ago Reply
    • Keep the faith, Jess! There are many good men out there who use alcohol with temperance and do not abuse it. Blessings!

      By Emily | 2 years ago Reply
  8. I’m sure the bible didn’t define binge drinking by citing Webster or any modern text, other than simply “over doing it”. At that point it just depends. I can drink that set amount and still be fine. I have friends that can drink under that amount and won’t be. I will act fine, I have friends that will act terrible. It depends on the person. it’s the action and state of being that makes it sinful. Plus, I honestly believe that there are usually underlying problems to that binge drinking that are there in the first place, at which point that side of them comes out.

    By Ryan | 2 years ago Reply
    • While it’s true that the Bible doesn’t cite Webster’s or a modern text, we must be careful not to cite our own subjective personal dictionary. Letting each person define his or her own level of “being fine” while drinking is a slippery slope. Many who drink too much are in denial that they do, and will latch on to their subjective definition of “being fine.”
      While one can make the argument for your definition of drunk, one has to ask, why does one need that much to socially interact? What is it about drinking a lot that makes one feel like he or she has to partake? Is it acceptance? Is it to hang out with friends?

      By Cecelia | 2 years ago Reply
  9. I’ve recently traveled halfway across the world to continue my studies and it feels like everyone’s always drinking here. And not in moderation. I have always been quite social but I really having miss hanging out with people who understand that you don’t need to be drunk to have fun. Thanks a million for writing this article. Feels good to know there are more people like me out there.

    By Kim | 2 years ago Reply
    • Yes, there are many people like you out there. 🙂 Thanks for dropping a note!

      By Emily | 2 years ago Reply
  10. “One time, he invited me to go out with his friends. He kissed me when he was drunk. I felt so dirty after. No girl grows up dreaming one of her first kisses would be in a dive bar with a wasted boyfriend.”

    LOL! Please tell me this is some kind of joke? Are there really Catholic women out there that think like this? This whole article and many of the comments smacked of Puritanism. Yikes!

    By Stoney | 2 years ago Reply
    • Stoney – this is a chastity website. Maybe you should be reading a different site if you aren’t open to chastity.

      By Ceclia | 2 years ago Reply
  11. The first time I read this article, I’m like “I’m good. I know my limits when I’m drinking.” But this past few months, I noticed that I no longer know my limits. I already start flirting around and more.

    Thanks for being a reminder to me. If I can no longer control myself whenever I drink socially, then I should wave goodbye to social drinking because I end up binge drinking. There are more ways to socialize other than drinking (or smoking).

    By Lei | 2 years ago Reply
  12. I so agree. I’m in the same boat right now. I’m at a crossroads on whether or not to leave the situation. I am a recovering alcoholic worth 4 years sobriety living with a binge drinker. I say binge because from the time he wakes up to the time he goes to bed he is drinking. I have to hide my money just to be sure he isn’t spending it. Not to mention I believe his alcoholism has gone to another level with addiction. It is indeed a hard life. I don’t want to give up on him and yet I’m tired of living this way. I pray everyday.

    By Angela Bull | 2 years ago Reply

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