Abuse is based on having power and control over an intimate partner. This occurs as a result of normalized violence, learned behaviors, gender roles and social norms. Some abusers may blame their violent tendencies on factors such as stress, anger, financial concerns, or drugs and alcohol, but these are excuses and not a justification for behaving violently.
Drugs and alcohol do not cause abuse or violence.
When drugs or alcohol are consumed, it may lower inhibitions and cloud judgements, but it does not directly cause a person to behave violently. There are plenty of people who refrain from abuse when drinking or using substances.
If a person does not use physical violence when they are sober, it’s unlikely he/she will be physically violent when consuming drugs or alcohol.
However, when someone acts controlling or violent while sober, the use of drugs or alcohol may increase these violent tendencies. For these people, the likelihood of becoming abusive increases upon consumption of drugs or alcohol.
Abusers do not “lose control” when they are drunk, they choose to be abusive. Some may pretend to forget what they do when drunk; others may use drinking as an excuse to not take responsibility for their behavior. Some may even blame a partner for being the cause of their drinking or drug use. These are all excuses in which abusers seek to gain further control over a partner.
Drugs and alcohol do not cause violence. The myth that violence is caused by drugs/alcohol makes many people focus on helping an abuser gain sobriety, rather than challenging the belief systems that actually cause abuse. For there to be any real change, an abuser must take responsibility for his/her actions and not blame the abuse upon drugs, alcohol or other stress factors.1