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Addiction: Alcoholism and the effects on the family.
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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 time 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 The children become withdrawn and resent the abusive parent, losing all respect for them.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 abuser is often apologetic when he or she sobers up and then goes on to promise that they will “never” repeat that behavior again. Those are the empty promises that the alcoholic makes to make themselves feel better not the family members.
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). (94) 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 completely and spend quite way too much 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). (5) 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. The alcoholic does not perceive that they are in need of help, they tend to point the finger at life’s disappointments at the cause of their problems with alcohol. The untreated alcoholic may at times refrain from drinking for...