How Alcohol Use Affects Our Daily Lives

Alcohol can affect your relationships, career and more. Learning how alcohol affects you personally may help you make a necessary change.

Estimated watch time: 6 mins


The effects of alcohol can be more pervasive and far-reaching than we might realize. Alcohol use can impact your relationships, your parenting ability and your career. There are also significant financial and legal costs to consider.

This video guides you through some of the ways alcohol could be affecting your life, maybe without you even noticing.

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How Alcohol Affects Our Daily Lives

In this lesson, we’ll discuss how alcohol use negatively affects us in our day-to-day life.

Let’s start at the basics. Let’s look at how our home life gets affected by our alcohol use.

One of the primary ways that our alcohol may affect our home life is in our relationships with others. We may fight more, we may isolate more, and the people that we hold dear often find that they are no longer as close to us or that they don’t feel like they know us anymore.

If we are a parent, we are putting our children in a very difficult position. Parenting a child as an active alcoholic increases the child’s risk for future health and addiction issues. This may actually be one of the factors that has informed our own addiction. So we are then perpetuating this cycle within our own family.

And one of the most basic ways alcohol use negatively affects us is that we would be unable to be fully present and engaged with people we care for the most. If we are so focused on our drinking or that we isolate in order to drink, then we lose that time and that quality engagement with those people that we want to be with most often.

Not only does our drinking run the risk of affecting us at home, in our relationships and in our self-care, but also outside of the home, in areas such as work and school.

What we may find with our drinking is that when we go to work, we are not completing our work as efficiently. We cannot accomplish the same amount of work as we would were we sober. We’re at an increased risk for calling out and missing shifts, particularly as we try to mitigate the effects of hangover or withdrawal symptoms.

More fundamentally, if we come to work under the influence, we may create safety hazards for both ourselves and for those around us, particularly if we have to operate heavy machinery or drive as part of our job.

Not only will we not be working as efficiently, but the quality of our work may go down. And because of all of these effects, we have put ourselves in a position where we are more likely to lose our job or to not be hired for a job to which we applied. Or if we’re in school, we may not be able to complete our program.

Our alcohol use may also affect how we engage with social supports outside of our home. We may choose to stay at home or in a setting that is close to alcohol over any activities that we may have previously engaged in with our friends. We may push others away with our behavior when we’re intoxicated, whether that’s with fighting, saying things that are hurtful, or maybe just not engaging with them.

On the other hand, perhaps our friends also are struggling with their own substance issues. So when we are looking for help, we don’t have a strong enough social support system to help us move out of our own addiction.

Let’s look at financial and legal costs. Studies indicate that one drink costs the US economy $2.05. If we were to take all of the drinks consumed within a year in the United States, it would add up to $807 per person in costs to the society due to people’s drinking.

So as an individual, let’s look at what those would look like for you. You would be at risk of charges related to drinking, such as a DUI, maybe disorderly conduct or public intoxication, among others. You might lose your job and therefore your income. That could affect your entire family and household. You may develop health concerns related to your drinking that will also cost you in medical bills.

If we’re looking at the greater picture, alcohol misuse costs the United States about $249 billion dollars per year. And so that includes the legal costs, those medical costs, workplace productivity and property damage. And at its most basic, true financial costs for drinking are going to add up with your increased usage and consumption. Do you know how much money you spend on your drinking every month?

  • So ask yourself, is it worth it?
  • How has your alcohol drinking cost you, not just financially, but socially, emotionally?
  • Have you found that you’ve become increasingly isolated?
  • Where are you spending your time? What grabs your attention?
  • Where are your resources going?

As part of this lesson, you will find an activity with tracking cards that you can use to help you track your alcohol consumption. In addition to tracking your alcohol consumption, I would ask that you track the additional costs that come with it.

  • Did you isolate when you drank?
  • How much did it cost you financially?
  • Did you have a fight after you drank?

We can take these cards and look at how our alcohol use may be affecting us and just how much it is costing us. And then we can ask ourselves, how can we increase safe behaviors? How do we re-engage with those things that we consider most important to us?

In our next lesson we will discuss risk factors for the development of alcohol use disorder.

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