Family Dynamics: Why Alcoholism Forces Family Members to Take on Different Roles
Addictions to all different types of substances continue to plague individuals around the nation. One of the most prominent forms of addiction in our society is alcoholism. This is largely because of alcohol being socially acceptable, which leads to many individuals overindulging and developing addictions. Unfortunately, alcoholism not only affects the individual directly struggling but also their family and other loved ones. In fact, it can actually cause a very large shift within a family dynamic. As an individual continues to struggle with alcoholism, family members can begin to take on different roles.
Alcoholism in Families
There are a few different roles that can come about or change as a result of alcoholism in families. The first role is obviously that of the alcoholic, which is the individual struggling. The entire family can often begin to revolve around this person. They can begin to create turmoil in the family by shifting blame onto other family members, which can cause disputes between other members. They can also struggle with a lot of shame and guilt, which they may project onto other family members through anger or hostility. In this way, the harmony of the family dynamic can begin to shift greatly.
Then we come to the caretaker or enabler. This is an individual within the family, often a parent or spouse, who may start to rearrange their life to take care of the individual. Now, in mentioning enabling, it is important to explain what is meant by this, as it can include a wide range of things. The bottom line is that enabling can be anything that facilitates the alcoholic’s drinking and helps them to avoid consequences. This could be the family member purchasing alcohol for them, covering for their absence at work, or making excuses for their behavior. Not only is this damaging for the alcoholic, being that they are being allowed to continue their destructive behavior, but it is also terrible for the person enabling. Because of their focus upon constantly taking care of the alcoholic and seeing to their every need, they often neglect their own needs and desires. In this way, they can become lost in their loved one’s alcoholism.
How Children Are Affected By Alcoholism in Families
One of the most common role shifts brought about by alcoholism in families is children having to take on more adult roles. When a parent is struggling with alcoholism, they are often unable to provide the care that their child needs. As a result, children often have to step into a more responsible and adult role far ahead of their years. This could include them having to work, pay bills, and buy provisions for younger siblings. It can even bring about a complete role reversal, where the child ends up being the one taking care of their parent. Unfortunately, this may cause the alcoholic to believe that they can continue their behavior because everything is being taken care of by their child. It can also result in the child having to give up a large part of their life, such as not having time to really be a kid or teenager, or having to drop out of school to care for the family.
When Seeking Help with Alcoholism
Alcoholism can be an extremely burdensome condition, but there is help available. Best Drug Rehabilitation helps thousands to overcome alcoholism every single year and we can do the same for you or your loved one. Our success lies in our highly individualized approach to treatment, which allows us to address every single person’s particular difficulties. Give us a call today and one of our staff members can answer any questions that you have may about our facility and program.