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.
Alcohol abuse is different from alcoholism. There are three types of alcohol problems.
- 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
- Impaired performance, neglect of responsibilities, legal difficulty
- driving while impaired
- continue to drink despite the knowledge of consequences
- 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
There are five types of Alcoholics.
- early twenties, binging
- usually fairly functional, with some lapses
- 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
- 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.
Have you been affected? Are you suffering in silence?