Alcoholism: The Impact on Loved Ones
The Drinking Culture
Where I'm from, in the UK, the drinking culture is rife. In fact, if you don't choose to drink then you automatically feel like an outsider. There is a drink for every occasion:
- Had a bad day at work? Have a drink.
- Have a good day at work? Celebrate with a drink.
- Made a life? Wet the baby's head.
- Lost a life? Have a drink for your departed loved one.
It really is ridiculous the excuses that manifest when somebody has a drinking problem, and it affects the whole family.
How does it affect my family?
Alcoholism affects your family in many ways.
Firstly, they will be worried about your health. Apart from the obvious things in the video below, when you are drinking all the time you are basically poisoning yourself so you are effectively lowering your immune system leaving you more susceptible to every flu or virus that is going around. This is not fun for anyone, especially you. I didn't even drink that much but now I don't, I'm hardly ever ill, and when I am, I recover quickly.
They are also worried about your mental health. They will be questioning why you feel the need to drink so much, and If you don't drink at home they will be wondering why you want to go out all the time, why you don't want to be with them, They will worry they don't make you happy and that they are not enough for you.
You are not yourself when you are drunk. The person they love isn't your "crazy, outgoing, life of the party" self. That is not who you are, and its a good thing. I've experienced people being borderline abusive when they are drunk/hungover and they don't even realize they are doing it, in fact they will flat out deny it. I have also witnessed the shaking hands of alcoholics pouring their first drink of the morning. trust me it's not pretty!
You may prefer your personality when you are under the influence. It is powerful like that. You may feel less shy as your inhibitions disappear, or maybe you even feel more intelligent as you sit down with your friends and put the world to rights, feel more attractive, funny or carefree. I feel its very much burying your head in the sand. If you have issues that need working on, work on them and get to a point where you can love yourself without the influence of alcohol.
The financial side speaks for itself really. Spending all of your hard earned cash in a bar isn't helping anyone.
Your children might be nervous around you or confused when you are under the influence. You may bash into things when you are coming home, waking them up, etc.
Mum or Dad being hungover on Christmas Day isn't exactly what they wrote on their Christmas list.
As a child/teen I used to worry about my parent a lot... I'm not going to go into details but there have been injuries and all sorts.
You need to think about how your drinking is going to impact your children as they grow up. Maybe your parents consumed a lot of alcohol and it became a normal part of life for you, or maybe your children will go completely the opposite way and decide not to drink because they have grown up watching you and decided they don't want to be like that, if you are lucky. Break the cycle!
Even now, as an adult, just the smell of alcohol on somebody's breath makes me nervous.
10 Health Risks of Alcohol
But What Will I Do With My Weekends?
People seem lost with what to do with their weekends. They feel like they have missed out on something if they are not at the pub on a Friday or Saturday night. Well, I can tell you, you probably haven't. Well, maybe you have missed out on having a horrendous hangover, causing your family to tip toe around you all day, whilst all plans for a day out or to take care of some productive jobs at home get thrown out the window.
I'm sure you have some passions or hobbies you have been meaning to pursue? Well, this is the time.
I'm sure a lot of you have children who are aching for your fully focused attention and time. Take them out for the day.
Like to travel? Well with the money saved from choosing not to spend your money on beer you could afford to go away for the weekend with your family, friends or spouse.
Get out and do some gardening, re-decorate your living room, fix the dripping tap! Your spouse will be jumping for joy!
Speaking of your spouse, why not use to the time to work on your relationship? A weekend away, nights out for dinner or even snuggle up and watch a movie.
Lose the beer belly that's been creeping up on you, the added benefit of that is the exercise greatly benefits your mental health, as well as your physical health.
There are so many great ways to spend your limited time on this earth! Use it wisely!
Need more inspiration?
Am I An Expert?
I'm not a doctor or a therapist. I've been through phases in my life where I have gone out too much—but I have never had a problem. However, many people around me really struggle with it, including my nearest and dearest. I've grown up with it, and I went on to choose a relationship with an alcoholic, which sadly means my children will also experience the things I went through growing up, even though I ultimately chose to leave the relationship.
I understand alcoholism is an illness and an addiction, but there has to be a turning point. I feel that realizing the detrimental effects this has on your loved ones could help you reach it. I can speak as a child with parents who drink and as an adult who had a spouse who was a drinker.
© 2017 Lauren Walker