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Alcohol and Mental Health

Love Bombing and Alcohol: Emily and Jake’s Story

July 2, 2023
9 min read
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Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
July 2, 2023
9 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
July 2, 2023
9 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
July 2, 2023
9 min read
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Reframe Content Team
July 2, 2023
9 min read

Emily was a vibrant, independent woman who loved exploring New York City’s hidden gems and meeting new people. After a fantastic evening of conversation at a bar, Emily started dating a charming man named Jake. 

Jake was charismatic, attentive, and seemed to be everything Emily had been looking for. Over time, he showered her with affection, gifts, and compliments, making her feel like she was the only woman in the world. But little did Emily know, she was in a relationship that would dramatically change her life, and not for the better.

While there are plenty of people out there who are genuine and sincere in their intentions, the tale of Emily and Jake is one of love bombing, a manipulative tactic often used in romantic relationships. As we’ll see below, Emily and Jake’s story also features the misuse of alcohol — and when drinking intertwines with love bombing, the results can be disastrous.

What Is Love Bombing?

The term "love bombing" has gained considerable attention in the realm of relationships. It refers to the act of showering someone with affection and attention to an excessive degree, often as a manipulative tactic. 

Love bombing is often used by narcissists and individuals with antisocial personality disorders. The love bomber may appear to go the extra mile in a relationship, giving a false sense of being committed and unconditionally loving. Common behaviors include messaging the other person constantly, buying extravagant gifts, and making grand romantic gestures. Initially, love bombing can feel incredibly flattering and may create a whirlwind romance.

However, as the relationship progresses, this excessive affection often turns into control and manipulation. 

In Emily's case, Jake's constant attention and affection made her feel special and loved. However, once they’d been in a relationship for a while, she began to notice that Jake's affection was not genuine, but a tool for control. He would shower her with flowers and compliments, only to use them as leverage in arguments or to manipulate her decisions.

How Does Alcohol Intersect With Love Bombing?

Alcohol is often used as a tool in the love bombing process. The manipulator may use alcohol to lower the defenses of their target, making them more susceptible to their tactics. Alcohol can create a false sense of intimacy and trust, allowing the love bomber to accelerate the relationship at an unnatural pace.

Jake often encouraged Emily to drink, using alcohol to lower her inhibitions and make her more susceptible to his manipulative tactics. He created an illusion of being trustworthy, encouraging her to confide in him and express her own commitment. Moreover, he used alcohol as a form of control within their relationship, encouraging excessive drinking and using Emily's intoxicated state to manipulate her feelings and perceptions. This led to a cycle of dependency, where Emily began to associate the feeling of love and affection with alcohol.

The combination of love bombing and alcohol can have severe consequences on mental health. The person being love bombed may develop an unhealthy attachment to the manipulator, leading to anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. The excessive use of alcohol can also lead to misuse, further exacerbating these mental health issues.

Emily found herself spiraling into self-loathing and excessive anxiety. Moreover, she began to normalize Jake's manipulative behavior and excessive drinking, making it harder for her to recognize the signs of misuse and manipulation.

Emily's Journey Toward Healing

Emily's journey to break free from her toxic relationship with Jake and her alcohol misuse was a challenging one, but she proved that it was indeed possible with the right tools and support. 

The first step for Emily was recognizing the problem, which was incredibly difficult. She had to confront the harsh reality of the unhealthy patterns in her relationship with Jake and her growing dependency on alcohol. This self-awareness was a painful process, but it was crucial as it marked the beginning of her journey towards change.

Once Emily acknowledged the issues, she sought help. She started attending therapy sessions, which provided a safe space for her to explore her feelings, understand the root of her problems, and develop coping strategies. Therapy helped Emily realize that Jake's constant attention and affection were manipulative tactics, not genuine love. It also helped her understand her relationship with alcohol and how Jake had used it as a tool for control.

In addition to therapy, Emily found support in a group of individuals who had experienced similar situations. This equipped her with strategies to overcome her dependency on alcohol and break free from Jake's manipulative patterns. Moreover, Emily realized the importance of a strong support network during this challenging time. She reached out to her friends and family, who provided understanding, encouragement, and reassurance. Their emotional support was invaluable, helping Emily navigate through her journey to recovery.

Emily's journey serves as a reminder that recognizing the problem is the first step towards recovery. It's also a testament that with the right support, it is possible to overcome the challenges of love bombing and alcohol misuse and move towards a healthier, happier future. Her story serves as a reminder that no one should have to endure such a toxic relationship. 

Let Emily’s journey inspire you to seek help if you find yourself in a similar situation — and if you don’t know where to start, allow us to introduce the Reframe app.

Empower Yourself With Reframe!

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most advanced AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol.

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

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At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
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