Problem of Alcoholism in a Family

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Alcoholism negatively effects nearly every aspect of ones’ life. It often starts as just one drink, people don’t realize the effect that one drink will have on their parents, spouse, children, or any other close family members. Alcoholism is a crippling disease that destroys the lives of not only the alcoholic but every surrounding person. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Alcoholism as a chronic, a progressive, potentially fatal disorder marked by excessive and usually compulsive drinking of alcohol leading to psychological and physical dependence or addiction. Alcoholism is typically characterized by the inability to control alcoholic drinking, impairment of the ability to work and socialize, tendency to drink alone and engage in violent behavior, neglect of physical appearance and proper nutrition, alcohol-related illness, and moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms upon detoxification. This often leads to mental and physical abuse, depression, marital conflict, infidelity, stress, divorce, loss of custody of children, etc.

As parents, humans have a responsibility to the child they have conceived, they are responsible for caring for that child, most of the time at least until the age of 18. Parents do everything they can for that child, they sacrifice things they love to give to their child. They want to do everything in their power to give that child what they didn’t have, to make them feel loved, cared for, and turn them into capable adults. That’s why a parents’ worst nightmare is their children becoming substance abusers.

Having children with these difficult diseases is extremely hard on the parents. They are left feeling like they failed. When someone sees that child it’s immediately in their mind that the parents must have done something wrong, but that is not always the case. If alcoholism runs in a persons’ gene, it could take but one drink, one drunken good time and that turns into two and three. They crave the high, the feeling that they are unstoppable.

Though teen alcoholism can happen in any family, some teens are more at risk for becoming alcoholics than others. Some of the risk factors for teen alcoholism include depression and anxiety. Those who are prone to emotional problems are more likely to abuse alcohol than other teens. Teens who exhibit thrill-seeking behaviors or are unable to control their impulses are also more likely to abuse alcohol. Older teens who are close with their mothers tend to be less likely to abuse alcohol. Teens are very influenced by their social groups.

The parent is in a predicament, watch that child they raised in pain, needing that drink, crying and in pain, or they watch your child drink their life away, losing the ability to get a job, a spouse, or have children. The only upside is, they won’t ever leave. This puts parents in an extreme emotional state, they fall into depression themselves, feel as if they have failed their child, often they fight with their spouse more. Teenage alcoholism puts the family under fire.

Aside from being the parent of an alcoholic, there are other relationships in the family that are affected by alcoholism. When married to an alcoholic, it can be scary and stressful. One can start to internalize a lot of feelings about what’s happening as a result of their partner’s alcoholism and may find themselves becoming depressed or feeling hopeless. They may not have realized they were marrying an alcoholic at the time, or their spouse may not have been an alcoholic when they were first married, and it may have been a situation that developed over time.

Divorce Because of Alcoholism

When married to an alcoholic, one may find themselves frequently wondering whether divorce is inevitable, and how it can possibly be avoided. They may also wonder how one can live their daily life when something like this is like a cloud hanging over them at all times. People who are alcoholics may behave recklessly or dangerously, they may be irrational, they may have financial and work trouble, they often lie or cheat, and that’s just the beginning of watching this disease progress.

No matter how many times one has begged or pleaded, when married to an alcoholic they probably feel like their words are falling on deaf ears, and ultimately, they are. One may blame his or herself for the problems of their spouse. It can be easy to start developing a co-dependency with the alcoholic or enabling them in order to make them happy or avoid conflicts. These situations can also contribute to a spouse blaming themselves when they’re married to an alcoholic.

Often people married to alcoholics and other kinds of addicts will take the situation personally. They will feel like the alcoholic is treating them a certain way because of something they’ve done or can control. It’s essential for people married to an alcoholic to know that an addicted person can’t completely control their behavior, and it’s not their fault as the spouse.

One of the most common scenarios, when you’re married to an alcoholic, is that they’ll try to cure the person or make them better. This could manifest in trying to promote them drinking at home rather than at a bar to prevent danger, or they may try to shame the person into not drinking, or issue ultimatums. More often than not this is not going to do anything to help the problem, and it may lead to further problems.

People who drink too much often cause harm to those they love. Making excuses or avoiding the problem doesn’t help and ifact n will lead to more harm for everyone involved. It is important to address the issue, to take steps to help the individual who struggles with drinking, and to know when to leave for self-protection if necessary.

Living with someone who has an alcohol use disorder severe enough to be considered alcoholism presents a number of challenges. Spouses of alcoholics may suffer emotional harm, be victims of violence and domestic abuse, develop health problems, or even develop their own addictions. The consequences of living this way and doing nothing to try to make a change can be long-lasting and may include mental illnesses, chronic health problems, permanent injuries, and damaged relationships.

There are many challenges that a person might face when living with a partner, husband, or wife with an alcohol use disorder. These may vary depending on the situation and the people involved, but studies have found that there are many commonalities. In one study, for instance, researchers interviewed 30 women who were wives of alcoholics about the issues they faced and the coping mechanisms they used.

The results showed that these women faced challenges that were financial, social, emotional, and also related to physical health and violence. The problems they listed during the study included: having anxiety, feeling frustrated, displacing that frustration on their children, ignoring their children’s needs, feeling mentally disturbed, difficulty sleeping, not paying attention to their own health, spending less time socializing with others, feeling ashamed when around others, having financial difficulties, being threatened, or hearing spouse threaten to kill himself, being physically harmed, and thinking about suicide. Most of the issues these women faced were emotional, but it is clear that living with an alcoholic partner also impacts social health, physical well-being, relationships with children, and finances. Other studies and statistics indicate that violence and being harmed is one of the biggest problems that spouses and partners face.

According to the World Health Organization, 55 percent of assaults by one partner against another in the U.S. occurred after the perpetrator had been drinking. It has also found that heavier drinking and drinking more frequently are risk factors for domestic violence. Being unsatisfied in the relationship also increases the risk that one partner who drinks heavily will assault the other. Other studies have also shown that a leading trigger for violence when one partner is drinking is an accusation of infidelity.

A man or woman who lives with a partner with an alcohol use disorder may face any or all of the possible challenges in the present. But, these can also lead to lasting issues that a person has to cope with indefinitely. Trauma, for instance, may be caused by an assault by a partner, watching a child being abused, emotional abuse, or other factors.
Another important lasting effect, with many other potential consequences, is the break-up of the relationship and family. There may be estrangement between children and the parent, divorce, and separation that causes emotional issues for a long period of time. Studies have found that heavy drinking, by either or both partners, leads to greater dissatisfaction in the relationship, which in turn often leads to separation. In fact, alcohol and substance abuse is the third most often cited reason for divorce according to women.

Other possible lasting effects of living with an alcoholic partner or spouse include long-term financial problems, even losing a home or car, losing a job because of missed time, physical injuries, mental illness that requires ongoing treatment, poor physical health because of neglect, social isolation, and withdrawal from family and friends.

Alcoholism in Family

In most cases where there is a spouse of an alcoholic, there’s a child of an alcoholic. When one or both parents struggle with addiction, the home environment is predictably unpredictable. Argument, inconsistency, unreliability, and chaos tend to run rampant. Children of alcoholics don’t get many of their emotional needs met due to these challenges, often leading to skewed behaviors and difficulties in properly caring for themselves and their feelings later in life. If they were never given the attention and emotional support they needed during a key developmental time in their youth and instead were preoccupied with the dysfunctional behavior of a parent, it may certainly be hard to know how to get their needs met as an adult. Furthermore, if they’ve lacked positive foundational relationships, it may be difficult to develop healthy, trusting interpersonal relationships later on.

Children of alcoholics often have to deny their feelings of sadness, fear, and anger in order to survive. And since unresolved feelings will always surface eventually, they often manifest during adulthood. Many adult children of alcoholics lose themselves in their relationship with others, sometimes finding themselves attracted to alcoholics or other compulsive personalities, such as workaholics, who are emotionally unavailable.

Adult children may also form relationships with others who need their help or need to be rescued, to the extent of neglecting their own needs. If they place the focus on the overwhelming needs of someone else, they don’t have to look at their own difficulties and shortcomings.

Often, adult children of alcoholics will take on the characteristics of alcoholics, even though they’ve never picked up a drink: exhibiting denial, poor coping skills, poor problem solving, and forming dysfunctional relationships.


Alcohol abuse and alcoholism within a family is a problem that can destroy a marriage or drive a wedge between members. That means people who drink can blow through the family budget, cause fights, ignore children, and otherwise impair the health and happiness of the people they love. Alcoholism negatively effects nearly every aspect of ones’ life. It often starts as just one drink, people don’t realize the effect that one drink will have on their parents, spouse, children, or any other close family members. Alcoholism is a crippling disease that destroys the lives of not only the alcoholic but every surrounding person.


Cite this paper

Problem of Alcoholism in a Family. (2020, Oct 29). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/problem-of-alcoholism-in-a-family/

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