How Alcoholism Affects The Family

alcoholism and the family
September 23, 2021

Alcoholism can have an effect on not only you, but those who love you as well. Keep reading to learn how addiction takes a toll on the family.

Defining Alcoholism 

Alcoholism is defined as an addiction to the consumption of alcohol or the mental illness and compulsive behavior resulting from alcohol dependency. The keyword in this phrase is dependency. Alcohol addiction is not defined by how much or how often alcohol is consumed, but it’s defined as the impulsiveness that comes with addiction. An addiction to a substance means that the substance becomes an addict’s priority in life, which takes a toll on an addict’s relationships with others.

Alcoholism and Relationships 

Alcohol addiction often harms relationships, especially relationships between two partners involved in a romantic relationship. When alcohol becomes someone’s main focus in life, it pushes others, especially those who are closest to them, away. Here are some things that often happens to couples where one person suffers from alcoholism: 

  • Financial problems – One of the most common signs of alcohol dependence is spending anything on alcohol in order to satisfy the craving, causing financial distress in relationships and families.
  • Childcare neglect (if applicable) – If an addict has a child, there’s often a chance that the addict will neglect the child due to their alcoholic tendencies.
  • Infidelity – Since alcohol poorly affects the decision-making part of your brain, infidelity in relationships is common among addicts.
  • Domestic abuse (both physical and sexual) – Unfortunately, alcohol often leads to increased violence in strained relationships due to the alcohol affecting cognitive and physical functions. The World Health Organization reports that 55% of physical assault cases between partners occurred when the person that initiated the abuse had been drinking.
  • Emotional abuse – Even if physical violence does not present itself in the relationship, emotional abuse often does, with the addict verbally assaulting and belittling the victim when intoxicated.

How Alcoholism Impacts Children 

If an addict is a parent to a child, the addiction will take a toll on their child. Unfortunately, young children don’t understand the complexity of their parent’s relationship with alcohol, so they may see behaviors from a parent and have a poor perception of themselves. Children raised with an alcoholic parent in the home often demonstrate the following behaviors: 

  • Low self-esteem – A child with a parent or parents who are addicts typically displays low self-esteem due to a lack of love at home.
  • Impulsiveness – If a child sees impulsive behaviors at home, they will likely be more impulsive themselves. They will likely be involved in fighting, stealing, and experimenting with drugs and alcohol.
  • Guilt – Children often tend to blame themselves for a parent’s alcohol addiction.
  • Depression and Anxiety – The child will often display anxiety because they are concerned for their loved one and depression because they are upset they have no control over the situation.
  • Distrust – Children in this situation will feel that they can’t trust their parents, which will lead to a tendency not to trust others in future relationships.

Finding Support 

If you have a family member struggling with addiction, you may feel the need to find support for yourself and your family. If your family is struggling, there are support groups and therapies meant explicitly for family members of alcoholics. Ultimately, you would want your loved ones to seek help for themselves, but that is a decision they will have to make. In the meantime, seeking help from other sources for yourself and other family members can help you feel like you’re not alone in the situation.

Steps Recovery Centers for Alcohol Addiction

At Steps Recovery Centers, we strive to treat our patients with respect and dignity as they follow their path toward sobriety. If you’re in Utah and searching for treatment options for yourself or a family member, consider Steps Recovery Centers, where we use proven recovery practices and programs that work. We have centers in St. George, Utah Valley, and Salt Lake, so contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you overcome alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse.

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