University of Phoenix
July 28, 2013
Introduction Alcoholism has been called the family illness. The family is impacted most by the behaviors of the untreated alcoholic. The addiction of alcoholism has very negative and adverse effects on the family and in the community. The jail and hospital visits take a toll on the family’s finances and emotional stability. Mothers against drunk drivers reported in 2012 that there were 1.41 million drunk driving convictions in the United States of America. These individuals take not only their lives but the lives of others into their hands when they choose to get behind the wheel of their cars after the consuming alcohol.
“There is evidence that problem drinkers are less likely to be candidates for successful marriages and relationships”. (Power, Rodgers and Hope). There are those instances where the abuse of alcohol is dominate in the marriage yet, the couple begins to raise a family. The children of such marriages are effected in many different ways. There are the children that grow up and despise any form of addiction. Then there are the ones that mirror their parents and become alcoholics or addicted to some form of illicit drugs themselves.
In marriages where there is one parent that suffers from alcoholism, there can be times where the alcoholic may “be jovial after drinking”, laughing and joking with family members and friends. (Ackerman, 1998). Then there are the times that the alcoholic is confrontational and becomes abusive, subjecting their husband or wife and children to domestic violence. In the instances where there are acts of violence, the violence is not only in the form of spousal abuse but also child abuse takes shape as well. The children become withdrawn and resent the abusive parent, losing all respect for them.
The perception of the situation plays a vital role in deciding whether or not the situation is deemed harmful to the family of the alcoholic. “Often our perception dictates our reactions”. (Ackerman, 1998). Ackerman states “that there are four phases of the responsiveness of alcoholism on the family, reactive, active, alternative and family unity phases”. The reactive phase is characterized by the behavior of non-alcoholic family members reacting to the alcoholic’s behavior. (Ackerman, 1998). The children most often look away from the situation and try to see all the good in his or her parent, turning a blind eye to the addiction. Some children will avoid the situation all together and spend lots of time with friends or outside family members. There are also those children that mirror that parent’s behavior and sneak drinks with their friends and slowly become addicted themselves. There are many instances that teenage boys mirror the image that their alcoholic father presents.
Alcoholism and the spousal subsystem. “Early theories and investigations of the “alcoholic marriage” view one or both partners having pathological personality traits”. (Rotunda, Scherer, Imm). It appears that the non-alcoholic partner has to assume all of the household responsibility when the alcoholic has taken more to their addiction than to the care of the family. There are functional alcoholics that hide their problem from the community and their fellows but the home suffers greatly. Most wives of untreated alcoholics tend to leave the marital home and venture out on their own with the children because the alcoholic refuses to change.
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction are the #1 health problem in the U.S. today. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that “in 2007 liver cirrhosis was the 12th leading cause of death in the United States, with a total of 29,925 deaths-1,732 more than in the year 2006”. “Among all cirrhosis deaths in 2007, 48.1 percent were alcohol related”. Families of alcoholics suffer through the illness with them, they have to