Top 10 Songs About Relationships Ruined by Alcohol and Drug Abuse

For Women Who’ve Dealt with Alcoholic or Drug Abusing Men

Across all genres and ages of music, from 60s R&B to contemporary country pop, Alcohol and drug abuse has been a popular topic. And what is better making for a song than the frustration of being involved with someone who abuses substances?

These are songs for the women out there who have had to cope with substance abusing boyfriends, husbands or fathers. There are a few curveball songs, though, that give some other perspectives on alcohol and drug addiction and were angsty or interesting enough to get on the list.

10. “Did I Shave My Legs for This?” – Deana Carter

In this country ballad, Carter laments about the disappointments of her marriage and her apathetic husband. In the music video, they are broke and living in a trailer, she never got her “house on a hill with a pool.” While all her lazy husband can do is drink beer after beer, he expects her to make things better by going to school.

On top of all of this, she’s done herself up, got her hair and nails done, put on new high heels, and still all he cares about is his TV and beer.

While Carter never comes out and says that her hubby has an Alcohol problem, she doesn’t need to—the beer is clearly a big part of the problem. As she sadly leaves the house, possibly for the last time, she says sarcastically “did I shave my legs for this?”

9. “Blue Flashing Light” – Travis

An alternative rock song, this hidden track is about an abusive father who comes home drunk and beats his daughter. Once we hear the line, “talk to your daddy in that tone of voice,” this father-daughter dynamic becomes clear.

The collective “we” that lead singer Fran Healy uses suggests there are family members witnessing the abuse, further painting this nightmarish picture. The part that Alcohol plays in this abusive relationship is revealed in the line, “pushed you aside as he staggered inside/spitting Alcohol over the floor.”

While this song isn’t exactly for the woman that it addresses as “you,” it does speak to women who have been hurt by men in their family with substance abuse issues.

8. “Hate Me” – Blue October

Another alternative rock band sings about substance abuse in this platinum single. You can feel the smoldering and desperate regret of the song’s lyrics in Justin Furstenfeld’s distinct voice.

While parts of the song breach the realm of self-loathing and pity, it commends his mother for how much she has helped him and acknowledges the pain he caused her. “I’m sober now for three whole months, it’s one accomplishment that you helped me with,” Furstenfeld sings.

He urges her to move on and take care of herself: “hate me so you can finally see what’s good for you.” While a mother is far from a lover, she is yet another woman who suffered from a man’s substance abuse.

7. “Can’t Hold Us Down” – Christina Aguilera

Alright, this one doesn’t have anything to do with abusing drugs or Alcohol, but amidst all of these sad stories it felt necessary to offer a fun girl power song.

She dedicates her song to all the women who have been mistreated: “this for my girls all around the world, who’ve come across a man who don’t respect your worth.” Aguilera reminds women to stay strong, hold their ground, to stand up and speak out when they are mistreated.

Rumor has it that this is actually about former member of the band, Scott Raynor, who developed a heavy drinking problem during his time with the band.  The song reflects on the process the band went through of coming to terms with the issue: “you’re out of line and rarely sober…. I remember shots without a chaser.”

Even though this one isn’t much of a female anthem or about a romantic relationship affected by addiction, it’s a great song that offers release over the anguish and consequences of substance abuse.  The repeated lyrics, “you can only lean on me for so long,” and the energetic beat bring out a feeling of catharsis.

5. “Wasted” – Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood’s hit is a slow and passionate burn about a troubled relationship that is redeemed—or at least the music video leads us to believe that.

First, she leaves the man who seems to be “wasted,” drinking all the time, singing: “I don’t want to spend my life jaded, waitin’, to wake up one day and find that I let all these years go by wasted.”

Later, he wakes up and realizes that he doesn’t want to live this way anymore. The lyrics go: “another glass of whiskey, but it still don’t kill the pain so he stumbles to the sink and pours it down the drain.”

He gets his act together and things look a little brighter when the song is over. It’s nice to have a happy ending sometimes.

4. “I think I’m in Love” – Spiritualized

Here is a man singing about himself — or enacting a common narrative of addiction — either way, it’s no woman anthem. But, it does shine a light on the delusions that drug abuse causes.

Plus, Spriritualized’s space rock sound has a chill vibe that echoes its 60s psychedelic predecessors like Pink Floyd and the Beatles. The man in the song is addicted to Heroin and his relationships are all meaningless — as he says, “I don’t care about you.”

Every positive thing the singer thinks is contradicted: “I think I’m in love/probably just hungry…I think I can fly/probably just falling…I think I’m alive/probably just breathing.”

This 90s tune reflects the phenomena of projecting love onto a relationship when you’re really just trying to fill a void. In a larger sense, it demonstrates the overwhelming self-denial that comes along with alcohol and drug addiction.

3. “The Bottle or Me” – Dee Dee Sharp

This 60s R&B song is sassy and to the point: her man must choose, as she sings “is it the bottle or me?”

A woman is dating a man with a bad drinking problem, and she is sick of it: “I got a man, he loves the bottle, loves it better than me.” This woman knows her worth and wants to be valued over Alcohol.

This upbeat tune doesn’t reference any abuse, nor domestic violence, just some old-fashioned Alcoholism getting in the way of a relationship. She hits him where it hurts when she says he’s too drunk to even make love. Straighten out man — Dee Dee’s one fine woman.

2. “Church Bells” – Carrie Underwood

Yes, it is another Carrie Underwood song. She has practically written a new literature of music about unhealthy relationships that involve Alcoholism, domestic violence and cheating.

This song, more feisty and upbeat than “Wasted,” is a story that starts as a poor girl meets a rich man and begins a romance. The story takes a dark turn when Jenny’s husband starts drinking too much.

His Alcohol problem leads him to beat her up and she eventually poisons him, escaping her abusive marriage. The ironic chorus of the “church bells, ringing, ringing” highlights the darkness of domestic abuse and the desperation of women trapped in these relationships.

1. “Circle the Drain” – Katy Perry

Finally, the number one song in this category goes to Katie Perry’s “Circle the Drain.” She brings back a 70s hard rocker chick sound relative to “Heart,” which — in combination with her typical techno pop sound — is perfect for a powerful female anthem.

She describes the tolls that her boyfriend’s drug abuse problem has taken on their relationship spitefully, and indignantly concludes that she isn’t sticking around.

Perry sings harshly: “I wanna be your lover, not your f***** mother, can’t be your savior, I don’t have the power.” At a certain point, you can’t let someone else hold you down with their problems.

Are You Affected by Alcohol and Drug Abuse?

No one should allow a boyfriend, husband or friend’s Alcohol or drug abuse problem to cause them pain. Women, remember that we have to take care of ourselves before others. It is also important to remember that Alcohol and drug addictions require professional therapeutic and medical attention to overcome.

If someone you love is suffering with alcohol or drug abuse, there are many options for addiction treatment and resources to aid him or her in recovery. There is also support available for you, as a loved one of someone with an addiction. Call (866) 578-7471 to speak with someone who can help.

  1. None of it will work if you don’t have insurance. And even if you do, they don’t pay enough for you to get the care you need The whole system failed my husband. 4 rehabs, countless detoxes 1 day before he died I was on the phone begging his insurance company to please let him go back to rehab ( he was out less than a week) I begged the facility that he was at to please not release him after only 28 days They said his prognosis was good. What a crock
    Something needs to change

    1. I could not agree with you more the system fails a lot of people!!! They failed my cousin many many many times over!! The Detox in Massachusetts is a 7 DAY!!!!! Program NOBODY can get sober and stay sober in 7 days! They released my cousin to a drug filled homeless shelter that he was told he had to go to instead of my house where nobody used drugs or alcohol and would have pushed him to stay sober. Because as long as he was in the homeless shelter they could try to get him in a halfway house. I picked him up from the homeless shelter Tuesday January 15th at 7am I called and called begged and pleaded with the detox place to take him back and they said “We have no bed call tomorrow” Well Tomorrow never came because I called Wednesday January 16th and nope still no beds even though my cousin took off when they told us they had no beds on Tuesday I still tried Wednesday even though I had not seen him at all that day.. Well I got a phone call at 10:13am on Thursday January 17,2008 that they found my cousin dead he was “Hot Shotted” for those whom don’t know what that means someone shot him up in both of his calves at the same time with Heroin intentionally killing him!!! He NEVER SHOT UP! He NEVER used Heroin!! There was someone at the house he was at that DIDNT like him and they killed him and the cops did nothing their words “It’s another drug addict dead and gone” My world stop that day my heart broke and it has never been the same he was more than my cousin he was my BROTHER!!!!!
      Now I am dealing with an alcoholic husband who would take any drug put in front of him!! Thank God he is not using drugs no more but would relapse in a second if put in front of him.. My biggest fear is if I do not get him sober he will be dead next!! And our 9 year old daughter is going to grow up without a father.. I am torn between what I know I should do and what my heart wants me to do… I just wish he would get sober.. I would help him through it..

      1. Well Said. And I couldn’t agree more. I believe your experience to be fully true. Many things similar I’ve seen and have happened. Thank you for being brave.

      1. Perfectly said, I agree and believe your experience Because I have seen cases like this too. Thumbs up to you for taking a bold step.

  2. This article does not help, as my wife is the one who spends late nights at bars and sometimes becomes abusive.

    1. Watch the movie “When A Man Loves A Woman” with Meg Ryan as the alcoholic wife and mother. I plan to watch it this weekend. My bf went into assisted living in May at the age of 53. He’s disabled and I personally feel that the alcohol added to his disability. Anyway, he was doing well after the first three weeks there but I went to visit him yesterday and he was plastered so Ieft. I am so worn out from his addiction.

  3. Interesting that some songs even ones that go back to the 1960s like the one by Dee Dee Sharp mention addiction.

  4. This is a must see and read post for everyone who always wanna learn, its really a touching post. Its true that most times women when under the influence of alcohol or hard drugs will do abnormal things such as opening their laps for unknown men. Thanks for this life guarding post.

  5. I have always known about the church bell, touching and wordings are great. Never allow an addiction relationship you are in disturb or destroy your life. Stay safe

  6. I would I’m indifferent about this article. The system seems to be of good help to some while it failed most people. I think most of the rehab are not up to the task.

  7. I love the song selections presented here in this writeup. Drug addiction kills faster than anything other thing in the sense that it kills without notice. I know a lot of people will surely learn from this educative and lifeguarding post. Thanks for sharing.

  8. We know there are family members witnessing the abuse but they won’t say anything. That’s not supporting them, it’s actually killing them more. Nice piece

  9. I think.I am in love too is one I have been hearing over the year, so lovely and inspirational. Influence is the first on the list of why people join

  10. There are several musicians whose career ruined by drug addiction. Though they get their inspiration when they are high but the consequence is very alarming.

  11. All the songs are very luring in some way. But, I feel “circle the drain” music is very interesting to me.

  12. You can’t help someone that doesn’t want help you cannot change someone who doesn’t want to change

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