Two people asking themselves, "Why do alcoholics blame others?"

Why Do Alcoholics Blame Others?

Being friends with or living with an alcoholic can be a frustrating experience for various reasons. You may often ask yourself, “Why do alcoholics blame others when the problem is theirs?” It might be helpful to remember that alcoholism is an actual and challenging medical condition requiring professional substance abuse treatment to overcome. 

When someone develops an alcohol use disorder (AUD), they experience a significant alteration in how their brain functions. These changes often cause the alcoholic to blame their spouse or others for things not in their control. If someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse, learning about why alcoholics blame their spouses or others and understanding the reasons behind their behaviors can help you better support them and yourself. Contact The Right Step Houston online today or call 1.844.768.0169 to learn how our substance abuse treatment plans can help.

The Connection Between Denial and Addiction

Why do alcoholics blame others? To answer the question, let’s look at the link between denial and alcoholism. Denial is a cousin of blame, serving as a first line of defense for many alcoholics who are reluctant to face their problems head-on or take responsibility for the issues they are causing in the lives of those around them. Alcoholics may find themselves in denial about their addiction because it protects them from the painful reality that alcohol has taken control over their lives. Denial and blame both come from a place of fear. These fears often include admitting they have a problem and the consequences of AUD.

Instead of dealing with the fear, working to overcome it, and trying to heal, alcoholics may show signs of denial or blame others by blaming, lying, and being defensive.


A person who denies their alcohol addiction may start blaming others for their drinking. They may say that the actions or words of others are the reason they need to drink. These are self-told lies the alcoholic uses to justify their addictive, harmful behavior. 


To avoid getting help for their alcoholism, a person may hide or lie about their alcohol use, so they do not have to face the reality of their addiction.

Being Defensive

An alcoholic will likely become defensive if you try to confront them about their drinking. They may attempt to change the subject, deny they have a problem, or blame a loved one for their drinking. This is the answer to the question you may be asking: ”Why do alcoholics blame their spouses or others?” They want to deflect their problem onto others to avoid facing it head-on.

Why Do Alcoholics Blame Others?

“Passing the buck” by blaming others can help the alcoholic maintain their drinking habit because the blaming allows them to convince themselves that they’re not responsible for how their addiction impacts their life and the lives of family and friends around them. By blaming others, the alcoholic starts to believe they have no power over their life and decisions because they are made to be someone else’s fault. Each person experiences alcoholism differently, but there are often common reasons alcoholics use to mask their behavior or shift blame. 

People struggling with AUD are most likely also being affected by various underlying psychological issues, including but not limited to the following:

  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Fear
  • Denial

As they try to cope with these issues, blaming others can be easier than facing the hard truth. Substance abuse treatment and therapy for alcohol addiction can help people overcome these underlying issues and address the patterns of thought that led to the denial and blame and the continued abuse of alcohol. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps alcoholics overcome their distorted ways of thinking, replacing them with healthier thought patterns.

Find Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Texas at The Right Step Houston

Suffering the blame of alcoholics is unpleasant at best. Your mental and emotional well-being are being tested daily, but help is available for you and your loved one. Contact The Right Step Houston today at 1.844.768.0169 to learn more about how our caring and compassionate team of professionals and specialists can help you and your loved ones stop the denial and blame and reclaim your lives.

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