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Alcoholism And The Effects On The Family

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

March 26, 2019

Alcoholism and addiction rarely only affect one person. Often times, the people closest to them feel the consequences of addiction. Whether you or a family member suffer from alcoholism, knowing how to get treatment and beginning to heal damaged relationships are integral parts of the recovery process.

As the family members and spouses of alcoholics, it is important for us to understand that our problems are their problems. There are addiction billboards that line the freeways of Detroit that display quotes that we all need to remember:

“I have an alcohol problem: my mother.” This billboard displays a small girl, tired and with tears in her eyes. She is among those of us who need help for our problem. With advances in technology, the emergence of many more rehabilitation sources, and several new strategies for cracking down on domestic abuses and issues, children even as young as the girl on the billboard have better chances of getting themselves out of these lines of fire.

Why It Is Your Problem As Well

Violence, sexual and mental abuse, and infidelity are common horrors within families affected by alcoholism. Gilda Berger, writer of Alcoholism and the Family, states that 75% of domestic abuse cases directly involve alcoholism. Many of these cases are spousal and are recurring, lending to mental and emotional abuse of children, as well. Those who witness their own children spiral due to alcohol abuse, often lose control of their marital relationships, even, at times, blaming a spouse for a child’s alcoholism. These alcohol-related occurrences and abuses are examples of what leads in most cases to new problems amongst and within the affected families. Moreover, entire families often feel the legal and financial ramifications that come with these alcohol problems.

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Recovery For Ourselves

It is imperative that we continue to recognize the ultimate source of these problems and begin to move forward in recovery for ourselves. Several groups have sprung up in recent years that cater to abused domestic partners, specifically those abused by an alcoholic. Support groups for children, teenagers, and parents of alcoholics are provided by common recovery associations like Al-Anon, and internet support forums such as MD Junction. Beyond these groups are leading psychologists in the mental health community who offer counseling sessions, many of which are covered by basic insurance plans.

Resources For Families Of An Alcoholic

With much-needed empathy, those who have gone through similar struggles alongside alcoholics in their family can begin to help one another heal and proceed through their own recovery. Children and spouses alike can begin to recognize their own mental health issues that came about in reaction to the ongoing issues they face with the alcoholic in their family. Visiting informational sites such as SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) and drugabuse.gov can assist family members in recognizing mental and emotional problems they may be experiencing and ways in which to deal with them.

When More Is Needed

As our recovery continues, it is also important to decide when support groups and other forms of therapy are not enough to keep us safe, let alone stable. In cases of domestic abuse, family members of alcoholics can rely on help lines and internet support at places such as dahmw.com. It may be important to help save our loved ones, but it is equally important to save ourselves.

The first step in getting help for yourself is getting help for your loved ones addiction. If your loved one has not attended a rehabilitation center for their addiction, we can help you locate one that fits their needs. Contact us today.

You may also be interested in reading: How To Convince Someone To Go To Rehab

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