Rubbing Shoulders With Alcoholism

It is a misconception, that a lot of Alcoholics have, that their drinking doesn’t affect anyone else.

Children can have deep-seated psychological and emotional reactions, to growing up with an addicted parent. The child will slip, according to their personality, into a role they will fill, to compensate for their lack of control. They are: the family hero, the scapegoat, the lost child, or the mascot. In any case, there are feelings of confusion, anger, abandonment, rebellion, rejection, loneliness, inadequacy, fear, and low self-esteem. The list goes on. They grow up judging themselves, constantly seeking approval, becoming super responsible, or are in trouble with the law, they just don’t know what ‘normal’ is.

The spouse can feel hatred, self-pity, avoiding their social contacts, exhaustion that may lead to becoming physically or mentally ill. Depression is prevalent. The family responsibility shifts to one parent. There is financial loss. Divorce. Maybe an inconsistency in their parenting, becoming neglectful and demanding; all in an effort to maintain some control. Being torn between the drug and not wanting to harm the family, they feel doubt, hurt, shame, fear, and a sense of failure, when their attempts to help don’t work. They get dragged down with their partner. They are stuck.

The parent of an alcoholic son or daughter, struggle to deal with quarrels, and bad language, upsetting the peace. The one using, gets all the attention, and the other is neglected. Parents fall out, they feel helpless, and don’t know how to handle it.

Denial is essential to keeping the family together, because, the idea of the loss of the family, is too great to imagine.

girl with drinkAside from the inheritance of genes, other risk factors such as; peer influences and availability, contribute significantly.

Alcohol abuse is different from alcoholism. There are three types of alcohol problems.


Binge Drinking:

  • 5 or more regular drinks at one sitting, for men, and 3 or more for women
  • generally younger, 18-21 years
  • increased incidents of assaults & unwanted sexual advances
  • increased damage to property, trouble with authorities, more injuries
  • large portion are college students

Alcohol Abuse:

  • Impaired performance, neglect of responsibilities, legal difficulty
  • driving while impaired
  • continue to drink despite the knowledge of consequences

Alcohol Dependence:

  • chronic & progressive
  • a general, predictable course with recognizable symptoms
  • influenced by a combination of genes, psychological factors, and effects of culture, on drinking behaviour and attitudes
  • a strong need/compulsion to drink
  • withdrawal symptoms
  • increased tolerance; need to consume more to keep feeling good

guy with drink

There are five types of Alcoholics.

Young adult:

  • early twenties, binging
  • usually fairly functional, with some lapses


Young Antisocial:

  • teens
  • manipulative
  • exploitive
  • trouble with the law that is carried on into adulthood


  • working adults
  • usually middle years
  • carry on relationships
  • not daily; 3-4 times per week, generally binging


  • mid-teens
  • learning from relatives who are often alcoholics themselves
  • takes 15-20 years for them to develop true psychological addiction


  • most people think of this
  • 1 in 10 alcoholics
  • usually men
  • there is loss of family and jobs

Alcoholism and alcohol abuse statistics reveal that,  4% of the population over the age of 15, is dependent. There are twice as many males and the age group of 20-24 years, has the highest rate. Twenty percent of current or former drinkers, have had their jobs and/or finances affected by their drinking behaviour.

It is everywhere. Cunning, silent, unnecessary, suffering. Unresolved past issues, no coping skills, pulled into a desirable, unconsciousness. Everyone has rubbed shoulders with alcoholism.

Note: This stems from my personal experience.

A New Study by the Centre For Addiction Nd Mental Health

Fact Sheet for Drinking and Alcohol   

Have you been affected? Are you suffering in silence?


4 thoughts on “Rubbing Shoulders With Alcoholism

    • Thank you. It’s been in my life in various ways, since as far back as I can remember. You see and feel all the symptoms of it. Such a difficult thing to watch.


  1. This is a world that I don’t like to dive back into. I was the husband of an alcoholic. She fit best in the “chronic” category, although I don’t think I agree that much with the categories and their descriptions in the piece. It’s rarely that cut and dried. Statements like a “chronic” type is “usually” male, for example, don’t ring true to me at all. I spent a lot of time in both Al-Anon and AA meetings during the last ten years of marriage with my ex-wife. It looked pretty evenly divided between men and women to me. Al-Anon helps if you are a family member trying to deal with this problem. It helped me a lot, but at this point, I’m just glad to be out of that world. I can’t say enough positive things about AA. It works. My ex-wife got sober with the help of that program. She had to hit her bottom first (that happened when I took the kids and fled). She really turned her life around when she got sober, and although our marriage didn’t survive, she was in a much better place as a result. Sadly she passed away at only 55.

    Thank you for the thought-provoking piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The descriptions are definitely not cut and dried. They are simply a way of finding patterns, to better help health professionals, etc. However, as I read through them, I was able to match some names. I guess it makes it a little clearer for me. Not good times, that’s for sure. I’m very sorry for your loss, and I’m very happy that you’ve been able to move on. Not an easy task, but a necessary one. I’ve learned a great deal, grown a tremendous amount, and continue to adjust my perspective, and my coping, so I can continue to live and be happy; remembering, the journey belongs to them. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

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