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Think Alcoholism Doesn’t Affect Family? Think Again

Many people might not think that the abuse of alcohol may negatively affect families, but evidence shows otherwise. In fact, alcoholism has the tendency to cause short and long-term problems for families. Today we will take a look at some of them.

Alcoholism is running rampant among our society and many are naïve when it comes to understanding the impact it has on whole family systems and society in general. Sure, the alcoholic suffers mentally and physically due to his incessant drinking, but he may not realize just how detrimental his drinking is on his family. Today, let’s take a look at just how alcoholism affects families in a negative way.

Immediate Effects

Erratic home life

When you’re dependent upon alcohol, sometimes home life can become erratic. For example, let’s say Bob gets home from work and likes to go out in the garage and drink away the evening while tinkering with his car. Meanwhile his wife, who worked all day as well, has to tend to feeding the family, cleaning, homework with the kids, and bedtime routines. Bob will come in and eat dinner with the family and may engage for a few, and then he’s back outside doing his thing. Sometimes he drinks far too much and comes in and fights with his wife. As you can guess, life with an alcoholic can become erratic.

Lack of relationships

An alcoholic can certainly isolate and cut himself off from family members, such as the children. He may want a deep relationship with them, but his drinking gets in the way. The more he drinks, the less available he is emotionally and physically for his children and wife. Mothers who are dependent on alcohol will also be less likely to formulate deep, caring relationships with their children. Both may feel that parenting is just “too much” and shy away from their duties. Their secret love is the alcohol, in which they are imprisoned to until they reach out for help.


Many alcoholics tend to cause arguments when they drink, so fighting with the spouse and/or children certainly occurs in a home with an alcoholic. This fighting sometimes leads to physical abuse.

Long term effects


Alcoholism in a family separates and divides members. With escalating arguments, lack of communication, and erratic behavior, divorce oftentimes occurs. This can have a tremendous negative impact on every family member involved.

Financial problems

Many families have financial problems, but families where alcoholism abounds have a much greater risk of such. After all, alcohol is not cheap and it can really add up quickly. Additionally, alcoholics may not be in the right frame of mind to really make wise decisions when it comes to finances. If both Mom and Dad have alcohol issues, it can really wreak havoc in the finance department. 

Children and addiction

Research shows that children of alcoholics have a higher tendency to become alcoholics themselves. This could be due to genetics and the poor environment growing up, but either way, it is something for parents to think about. After all, no parent wants their children to grow up struggling with addiction.

Legal trouble

If Mom or Dad is an alcoholic, the chances of encountering legal trouble increase significantly. Whether it’d DWI, an assault charge due to fighting, or domestic violence, legal trouble is never far away from alcoholism. This can certainly add to financial problems.

The incessant drinking of alcohol robs a person of so many things. You can become depressed, angry, lonely, and empty. It’s not difficult to imagine that these characteristics can have a negative effect on the family system. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, know that help is available. There are counselors and alcohol treatment centers well qualified to assist you in getting free, so you and your family can flourish. Reach out for help today. 

Image: Flickr

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