Part 3: Alcoholism "Have you been Effected"?
This book was my saving grace! It can be yours too!
Secrets in a Family
Alcoholism is a progressive disease. It also progress's into the family of the alcoholic with fierce reprocussions. Alcohol becomes a problem when one begins drinking alcoholic beverages at a level that interferes with physical health, mental health and social, family, job responsibilities. It slows motor skills and decreases the ability to think clearly. It impairs judgement.
A Need for Anxiety relief
Conflict in Relationships
Low Self Esteem
Alcoholism is an illness that consumes the intire family because the feelings, thoughts and actions of everyone in the family are effected by the alcoholics drinking. An alcoholic family experiances co-dependency with oppressive rules, repressed emotions, an unhealthy pattern of relating, a lack of intimacy in relationships or an inviroment that can be controlling or one with undue anxiety, depression or fear.
Alcoholics often give reasons or excuses for continuing to drink and blame others for their drinking. Alcoholic behavior is unpredictable. As alcoholics drink more and more, they neglect family responsibilities. Others should not take blame for the alcoholics behavior and should remember that they are not the cause or reason for the drinking and behaviors that go along with it.
Enabling or covering for the alcoholic takes the responsibility from the drinker and he or she does not have to experiance the negative consequences of the drinking. One should never take over the responsibilites for the person or drink with them. Enabling is not helping, it is doing something for someone that they could, and should be doing for themselves. As a family disease, the family becomes disfunctional.
Each member of the family seems to evolve into a survival role that unintentionally helps maintain the disfunction. This is why it is referred to as a family disease therefore treatment should include the intire family. Just as alcoholism follows a predictable, progressive course with the alcoholic, it does so with the family also.
The following chart will show the progression of alcoholism in the family
Burial of feelings and problems
Vague and unclear communication
Chain reaction effect
Deterioration of relationships
Pretending and Distortion of Reality
Excusing irresponsible behavior
Abrupt shift in role responsibility
Walking on egg shells
Crisis to Crisis to Crisis
Recovery is about healing, about learning new ways of relating, about changing old habits, about setting limits and practicing "Tough Love". Remember that depending is not just the alcoholics problem. If there is an alcoholic in the family, the whole family needs help. Families may need therepy and support through programs like Al-Anon. Families need support and guidance from people who understand the problem.
Try to be patient and supportive and remember that recovery is a process. And also remember...You are not alone! There are a lot of families suffering from this disease. There is help and there is HOPE !!