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.
6. “Man Overboard” – Blink 182
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.