*Please Note: This article is meant to help the reader to understand the specific effects that alcoholism has on family members and parental capabilities, as well as provide background reading for professionals. It is not meant to offend anyone who may be in this particular situation, but to help them.
This is a continuation of part 1 in which we discussed the affects that alcoholism has on children; now we will discuss how spouses or partners of alcoholics are affected and how each individual can be helped.
Spouses/Partners of Alcoholics
Alcoholism also has serious affects on the spouse or partner of the addict. So much so, that it is not uncommon for the individual to have mental and physical health problems. As the addiction progresses, the non-drinking spouse oftentimes takes on a compulsive care-taking role. This can create feelings of self pity, exhaustion and resentment towards the alcoholic. The relationship often suffers because of a lack of communication, an increase in anger due to stress, reduce intimacy, a depletion in finances, and abuse, either physical, mental, or both. It is very likely that the spouse or partner, as well as the children, will become codependents, or enablers. While they may not realise what they are doing is harmful, enabling will only further the addicts’ alcoholism. Additionally, the non-drinker may become so focused on their spouse that they become less focused on any children involved in the relationship. Because they often take on more roles than they can handle, they become overworked and stressed; this too will have an effect on any child. Furthermore, by taking on these roles, they also become the person who must discipline the children, make up rules, explain that there is not enough money for food or toys, etc. A child may not understand what the non-drinker has to take on and blame them for all the problems that are occurring.
Treatment for the Child and Non-Drinking Spouse
It is just as important for the child and non drinking spouses to get help, as it is for the alcoholic to get help. Children can greatly benefit from educational programs and groups that are available specifically for children and adolescents of alcoholics; these include Al-Anon and Alateen. Professional help, such as counselling or therapy can help to prevent serious problems that the child may develop over time. There are psychiatrists who specifically deal with children of alcoholics. They are able to diagnose and treat any problem that the child may be experiencing as well as help them to understand that they are not responsible for their parents drinking problems.
Spouses or partners of alcoholics can also greatly benefit from going to support groups such as Al-Anon. These groups will help individuals to connect with others who are going through the same thing. By talking about experiences and situations, one can get advice, find comfort, and learn useful tools and techniques that can help to become a stronger person. Additionally, counselling or therapy can be very useful for diagnosing and treating depression, anxiety stress, and any effects caused by physical or mental abuse.
Treatment for the Alcoholic
Every child or spouse would be very grateful if their loved one got help by simply asking them to quit. Unfortunately, in most cases it is not that easy; the alcoholic must want to get help. However, once they have made the decision to get treatment for their alcohol addiction, the entire family can begin to overcome the effects caused by it. Treating families is complex and will take time, support, and a lot of strength. By doing so, all the lives involved can greatly improve for the better.
Do you have a loved one who is ready to get treatment for their alcoholism? If so, please contact The Cabin Chiang Mai today. We can help your Mum, Dad, Husband, Wife, Partner, Son, Daughter, or friend get the treatment they need to overcome their addiction and take back their life.