Over the last two articles, we’ve been looking at the problems alcohol can cause for your health and for your marriage. Today, we’ll finish up this three-part series by discussing another area of your life threatened by alcohol abuse: your family.
Much like the ways drinking can damage a marriage, the social and psychological impact of such behavior has a way of causing trouble with members of the immediate (and even the extended) family.
If someone is drinking too much, too often, they have a tendency to check out of their day-to-day lives, and this means checking out of the lives of family members as well. This distance can lead to family members feeling isolated from a person they love, or worse, feeling completely unimportant.
If causing family members to feel isolated and unimportant wasn’t bad enough, missing family events and being generally uninvolved in family affairs can also breed resentment and anger – which damages relationships even further.
On the behavioral side of things, people struggling with alcohol problems also have a tendency to lash out at their family members, and even blame them for the problems instead of taking responsibility for their own actions. In some cases, this can lead family members to blame themselves, damaging their self-esteem. This misplaced sense of responsibility can do lasting damage, and will likely impact future relationships.
As we discussed last time, being under the influence of alcohol impedes the ability to make rational decisions, and when it comes to parenting, this can have devastating consequences. Beyond endangering the safety of young ones, consistently poor decision-making can spur a cycle of problematic behavior. Our children learn from us whether or not we are teaching them directly, and if they observe a parent drinking heavily, making bad decisions, etc., they may very well follow suit.
The problems associated with alcohol abuse are numerous, and there are many more that we haven’t even touched throughout this series. The main point, however, should be absolutely clear: excessive drinking threatens more than just personal health and safety – an individual’s behavior can have consequences for people beyond themselves, namely the people closest to them, like family members and spouses.
If you think you may have a problem, or know someone who does, help is available through counseling, Alcoholics Anonymous, and many other organizations dedicated to helping people overcome alcohol addiction and getting their lives back on track. Know that you’re not alone – help is out there!