In today’s video, I want to talk about two things that are often related: alcohol and retroactive jealousy.

Read or watch below to learn more about the possible connection between alcohol and retroactive jealousy.

Zachary Stockill: Whenever we’re facing a problem in life, in particular a recurring problem, it’s important to take a look at all of the potential factors that could be contributing to this problem. Even if they don’t seem immediately obvious.

On that note, in today’s video, I want to talk about two things: alcohol and retroactive jealousy.  

To be clear, this is not medical advice. This is not professional mental health advice. I am certainly not trained in anything related to addiction, or anything like that. These are simply some observations based on my personal life. And, observations based on over 10 years of working with retroactive jealousy sufferers from around the world. Needless to say, consult your doctor. Consult a registered mental health professional in your area if you feel like you may be having a problem with any substance, including alcohol. 

And for the people watching my channel for the first time: The term retroactive jealousy refers to unwanted intrusive thoughts, and often obsessive curiosity, around a partner’s past relationships and or sexual history. 

So, full disclosure: I am a drinker. I have enjoyed alcohol for many years. And I’ve never had a problem with being addicted to alcohol, or binge drinking, or anything like that. But I did notice when I was struggling with retroactive jealousy in my early 20s, that…

When I was drinking just a little bit too much, my retroactive jealousy was markedly worse. 

alcohol and retroactive jealousy

In other words, when I was struggling with unwanted intrusive thoughts about my then-girlfriend’s past many years ago, when I would have a drink or two, the recurring intrusive thoughts became more vivid. The mental movies became much more vivid, became harder to shake off. And more than this, my sense of groundedness or emotional stability was completely thrown off when drinking.

Other times, once I started putting in the work and taking the required steps to beat retroactive jealousy, I’d be making pretty good progress. And then one night or maybe two nights, I would have a little bit too much to drink. And I would notice that my retroactive jealousy got much worse. 

So why am I sharing this with you today? Because I speak to you today from the vantage point of looking back on 10 years of being a full-time coach and researcher on the issue of retroactive jealousy. And over the years, I have learned that my story and my experience are certainly not unique. 

Over the years, I have heard from dozens of retroactive jealousy sufferers who told me that their retroactive jealousy was almost always worse when they were drinking. And in particular, drinking a little bit heavy.

Drinking heavily is never a good idea. But I would say when you’re struggling with something like retroactive jealousy, drinking heavily can make your problem much, much worse. It can seriously hinder your progress, and hold back your progress. And, make the road to recovery much, much longer. 

Consumption of alcohol can lead to all kinds of variations in your mood, in the chemistry of your body, and how you feel.

It can make you more irritable than you would otherwise usually be. It can throw off your sense of groundedness; it can throw off your sense of calm. And the temptation to drink too much when you struggle with retroactive jealousy is very real for many people. 

In other words, when many people are struggling with unwanted intrusive thoughts, pain, anger, curiosity, confusion… seeking some form of escape, like through alcohol, can seem appealing. Sometimes, you just want to down a bottle of whiskey and kind of just space out for the night… so you don’t have to think about your partner’s past. 

alcohol and retroactive jealousy

Needless to say, I understand that impulse. I used to experience a similar kind of impulse back when I was struggling with this issue many years ago.

So needless to say, I understand. But I’m here to tell you, or perhaps remind you: downing that bottle of whiskey or going out with your buddies and drinking way too many beers is not a good idea. 

This is not going to solve your problem over the long term. This is not going to cure your retroactive jealousy. 

And in fact, going down that route of seeking escape through alcohol is more than likely holding back your progress. And if you keep doing this over and over again, it’s more than likely that you’re never going to overcome retroactive jealousy fully. 

So I’m not advocating for total sobriety. I’m not advocating for anything in this video other than simply encouraging you to reflect on your alcohol consumption.

And, to ask you to think about how alcohol may be impacting your mood, your sense of stability, or your groundedness. 

If you feel like alcohol is becoming an issue for you, or you’re feeling like you may be experiencing some kind of addiction to alcohol, please consult a registered mental health professional or addictions specialist in your area.

If you need help with retroactive jealousy, check out my online course “Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast”, or consider applying for one-on-one coaching with me.


Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of RetroactiveJealousy.com, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.