The Stress of Alcoholism on Relationships
Alcohol is known to have many damaging effects for those who are habitual abusers of the substance. Not only does it affect the addict, but it also affects any relationships the individual may have. These relationships potentially face deep damage and severe issues. Often those that are closest to the sufferer are the people impacted the most.
Typically, the person most affected by alcoholism is the spouse or significant other of the addict. Given their close proximity and emotional connection, they often receive the brunt of any undesirable behavior. Partners of the addict may even experience harmful or violent behavior directed towards them. This abusive behavior often leads to distance within the relationship caused by large amounts of tension. This can create a vicious cycle as the addict feels the necessity to relieve this stress by drinking more.
If the partner is also an addict, the situation will only intensify. Often, the addicts will rationalize their actions based off the actions of the other party. The illicit behavior becomes cyclical for both parties, creating an environment that places blame on the other for their own actions.
If this behavior is demonstrated in front of children, it will have a lasting effect. Children may be in denial of the parent’s behavior as an attempt to ignore the reality of the addiction. They may also feel the need to compensate for their parent’s deficiencies, forcing them to behave and act as an adult during a much earlier stage of their life.
Many children who witness alcohol dependent behavior in their parents have a higher propensity to experience alcohol dependency in their adolescent or adult lives. Being raised in such an environment, children perceive the behavior as normal. A traumatic experience during childhood is one of the most common issues that leads to addictive behavior. Other children may experience trust issues, leading them to be overprotective and controlling in situations, including the parenting of their own future children.
Harmful relationships with alcoholics are not relegated to household members. Parents and extended family may also be impacted by an addict’s damaging behavior. Parents may overcompensate in parental duties in an attempt to remedy the situation. This reaction is harmful to both the parents and the addict. This may cause an unhealthy relationship dynamic between the addict and their parent.
Friends and coworkers are just as likely to be impacted by an addict’s behavior. These individuals may experience resentment as they are often required to compensate for the addict financially or within their workload. These damaged relationships could lead to a loss of work or social circles, which may also lead the individual to drink even more than before.
The effects of alcoholism are very widespread and can affect not only those directly around the addict, but may have a lasting effect on intergenerational relationships, especially if proper action and rehabilitation is not taken. To rectify the situation, individuals addicted to alcohol will need to reform trust with family and affected individuals. It is often recommended for any impacted parties to participate in therapy so that they may clearly define boundaries and discuss any concerns moving forward.
Please contact the Prescott House to learn more about long-term treatment options. Our experts are dedicated to getting to the root of the issue, help develop a healthy lifestyle, and repair relationships at the same time.