Alcoholism and its Effects On the Family Alcohol is a very powerful drug. It can ruin someone's life. It may also be able to ruin everyone that alcoholic lives around. But first what is alcoholism. Alcoholism is a chronic disorder characterized by dependence on alcohol, repeated excessive use of alcoholic beverages, development of withdrawal symptoms on reducing or ceasing alcohol intake, morbidity that may include cirrhosis of the liver, and decreased ability to function socially and vocationally. Currently believed by many to be a disease with strong genetic links.

One thing that defines alcoholism is denial. Early in the development of alcoholism, occasional episodes of excessive drinking are explained away by both parents. Drinking because of being tired, worry, or a bad day is not unbelievable. The idea is that the event is isolated and is not a problem. (Harrison) After denial the family tries to get rid of the problem. The non-alcoholic parent realizes that the drinking is not normal and tries to tell the alcoholic to quit, be more careful, or at least cut down.

The parent also tries to hide the problems from the outside and keep up a strong look. The kids may now start to have problems due to the family stress. (Harrison) Now comes all the chaos and disorganization. The family balance is starting to break up. The non-alcoholic parent can no longer pretend everything is okay.

That parent spends most of the time going from problem to problem. Financial problems are not unusual. At this point the parent is likely to seek outside help. (Harrison) Now we are starting to rebuild the structure and regain control. The non-alcoholic parent coping abilities have become strengthened. He or she gradually takes over a larger share of the responsibility for the family.

This may mean getting a job or taking over the money. Rather than focusing on getting the alcoholic to shape up, the spouse is now taking charge and tries to encourage family life, in spite of the alcoholism. (Harrison) Now it is time to try and get away from the alcoholic. Separation or divorce may be tried. If the family remains together, the family continues living around the alcoholic. In the case of separation, family reform occurs without the alcoholic member.

If the alcoholic achieves sobriety, a resolution may take place. Either way, both parents must straighten up their roles within the family and make new adjustments. (Harrison) There are many places you can go to get help. First of all there is Alcoholics Anonymous which is for those who are drinking and want to go get help with there disease. Then there is Ala-non which is for those who have a close relationship with the alcoholic. Ala-non helps them by giving them ideas on how to cope with an alcoholic.

There is another type of Ala-non which is called Ala-teen which is for kids that need coping with there alcoholic parents or relatives. In the end if the alcoholic in the family gets help the better the family is. But problems may still occur. First off the alcoholic is never cured from the disease. If he or she picks up a drink ever again they will be hooked in a snap and go through the cycle again. Also the alcoholic may suffer other problems such as being bi-polar.

And the family might have become so unstable that they can never get back to a steady life. So even after the alcoholic gets help they still might have some problems. So after all alcohol is a very strong drug. Look at what can happen to one family if they are living in an alcoholic household. Such as money problems and house troubles. But still if the alcoholic family gets help they can overcome the disease.

That is what an alcoholic family goes through and if they are lucky it is a happy ending after all.