Alcohol Problems Essay

1840 words - 8 pages

Growing up in an alcoholic family is certainly traumatic. In these homes, children experience a daily environment of inconsistency, chaos, fear, abandonment, denial, and real or potential violence. Survival becomes a full-time job. While most of us know that alcoholism is a disease, too few recognize it as a family disease, which may emotionally, spiritually and often physically, affect, not only the alcoholic but each member of the family. Little emotional energy remains to consistently fulfill the many needs of children who become victims of the family illness. For many years, professional psychologists were barely aware of the vast pool of suffering of the family of alcoholics. They ...view middle of the document...

Then they try the use of guilt control - ( If you really love me you'll stop), or (You care more about that bottle than you care about me). They don't realize that you cannot control or reason with a disease. Some try to cure the disease by being the perfect child; by keeping perfect grades, always being good, being responsible and trying to cure the illness, while keeping the path smooth for the drinker. To an outsider looking in, they are the perfect child. And the truth of the matter is, they are. People just don't see the whole picture. Other children may chose to be the scapegoat, the one in trouble all the time. They are the family's way of not looking at what's really happening. Then there are those who become the class clown, making everyone laugh and all the while knowing, that life is not really that funny. And then there is that little child off in the corner; the withdrawn child who never gives anyone any trouble and feels like he/she is invisible. All of these children look like a child, dress like a child, to some degree they behave like a child, but they sure as hell don't feel like a child. Children of alcoholics grow up and become adults. But underneath the mask of adult behaviour there is a child who was neglected. This needy child is insatiable. What that means is that when the child becomes an adult, there is a hole in his/her soul. They can never get enough as an adult. An adult child can't get enough because it's really a child's needs that are in question. Growing up not having your needs met as a child creates many scars; co-dependency being one of the most serious. Much has been written about co-dependency. All agree that it is about the loss of selfhood. Co-dependency is a condition wherein one has no inner life. Happiness is on the outside. Good feelings and self-validation lie on the outside. Pia Mellody's definition of co-dependency is "a state of dis-ease whereby the authentic self is unknown or kept hidden, so that a sense of self...of mattering...of esteem and connectedness to others is distorted, creating pain and distorted relationships." (Bradshaw, 1998, p.14). Children of alcoholics, learn to be care takers or rescuers early in life. They've developed a mechanism that helped in coping with fear, pain, insecurity and growing up in an abusive alcoholic family. Usually this is how the child copes with not being able to get their own needs met. But later in life, as an adult, those well learned habits imprison them in frustrating, painful, co-dependent relationships, at home and at work."Adult children of alcoholics guess at what normal behaviour is; have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end; lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth; judge themselves without mercy; have difficulty having fun; take themselves very seriously; have difficulty with intimate relationships; overreact to changes over which they have no control; constantly seek approval and affirmation. They are also...

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