This is an article Mel Carrison asked me to put on the blog. It is very good so I agreed. The introduction below was written by Mel and the article was published on the rehabs.com site by the author Marni Low.
How Your Alcoholism Is Affecting Your Family
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) one in every three people within the United States will develop a clinically significant alcohol problem at some point in their lives: for one in eight of these individuals that problem will sink into full blown alcoholism. That means that in several houses in your neighbourhood there are likely to be individuals impacting on their health and having a negative impact on their family relationships because they are drinking too much alcohol.
Whilst the terrible effects of alcoholism on your health are often widely reported, many individuals fail to consider the impact that alcoholism will also have on their families and on their family relationships. Family roles are often inverted, with children feeling that it is their responsibility to look after their parents, rather than the other way round, whilst family rules and relationships stop revolving on what is right for the children within that family unit. Instead they begin to focus on protecting the alcoholic parents from the negative effects of their drinking and to present a ‘normal’ front to everyone else living in their community due to shame or fear of the children in the household being removed.
Families where alcohol abuse is a significant problem are unhappy families. Members within that family adopt roles that are uncomfortable to them in order to aid the alcoholic, often to their own detriment. They take on addition roles to enable the alcoholic to continue drinking, they act as the hero of the piece when the drinking becomes out of control and the addict needs protecting, they can even be forced into the position of scapegoat, taking the blame for the drinking problem within the household.
As the drinking gets more and more out of hand the family will evolve, and it is the whole family rather than just the addict that needs help and support in order to overcome and move on from their problems.
To find out more about how alcohol is impacting on your family system.