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The Impact Of Alcoholism On Families

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Looking into his eyes she felt like they were the eyes of someone else other than her fathers. He was so angry and full of rage, what was wrong? Of course she knew that he was an alcoholic, he had been this way every since she first remembered him in her life. Things were worse now though, and she and her dad fought more. He was out of control. Why was it that when things got really bad, it usually ended up with her and him face to face in an argument ready to fight it out? Of course they never did fight, but there were times she wanted him to hit her so she could hit him back. She never backed down when he threatened to hit her, yet no fists were ever tossed between their directions. With her mom holding her back and her dad lying on the couch being held by her sister, the two of them were being split apart due to a stare down that was soon to lead to something more. She could not look away now, his gaze was locked on her, and she was trapped in all that anger that filled his eyes. Although her mom and sister were saying things to the both of them, it was just noise in the background that never made it to consciousness; she was still focused on her dad staring at her with hate. With her body trembling and filled full of emotions that were alien to her, she broke her gaze and looked up to her sister whose eyes were filled with tears that spoke louder than the voices that had been speaking. This is the family of four people who love each other, yet at the end of the day, they fight a war against one another. It is not an enemy that threatens their happy life, but it's a liquid in a bottle that has made its home in one of the family members.

For years people have been perplexed about the enigma of alcohol and its control over people and families. Yet people continue to drink and the cries of families, the tears of victims, and the heartaches of children go unnoticed. Alcoholism effects not only the person who is addicted to alcohol, but it also carries its ugliness throughout every connection that the alcoholic is linked to; whether it be a spouse, children, family, or friends, it at one time will touch the lives of all who are in its path. In doing my research for this topic, I chose to interview an alcoholic, a spouse of an alcoholic and a child of an alcoholic. I wanted to see how their views on alcohol differed and how they were the same.

Alcohol is a liquid that contains ethyl alcohol that can be ingested through various drinks such as beer, liquor, champaign, wine and more. Alcohol can be found at any occasion such as social gatherings, dances, work parties, family gatherings, and dining out. "Linda" first experimented with alcohol when she was 15 years old.

"I was at a slumber party and all of us girls got drunk."

Alcohol use can be categorized into five main areas, with most drug users falling into the experimental categories: Experimental use, recreational use, situational use, intensive use, and dependent use. It is common for people to move between categories. For Linda, it was experimental use that started her lifelong addiction. Experimental use is when a person tries drinking alcohol once or twice out of curiosity. Novice users run the risk of a lack of tolerance to alcohol, and of not knowing how they will react, as well as the risks that may be associated with the effects of alcohol. Linda continued to drink socially from the age of 15 to 20, with each year increasing in consumption by a great amount. Linda's father was an alcoholic, but she had no concern that she was on her way to a life like her father's, a life being addicted to alcohol. However, there was a drinking pattern that had developed over those past 5 years that Linda was not going to be able to break easily.

"I would drink to relieve stress. I could handle almost anything, but when it came to relationships, I couldn't handle the stress that is brought. That was my downfall," Linda said.

With 2 small children and freshly divorced, Linda found herself spiraling out of control. I asked Linda if she knew when she had become an alcoholic and her response was: "Yeah, I was 23 years old. My father had bought me a beauty shop in Oklahoma City. I had everything to live for, a new car, and new business. I was making really good money, but I continued to drink more and more every day."

The causes of alcoholism also include the drinkers use of alcohol to "self-medicate" themselves. This means that alcohol is used to try to relieve depression, anxiety, tension, loneliness, self-doubt or unhappiness. Linda believes that she hit rock bottom about 10 years ago. This was a turning point for her.

"I was so out of control, my world fell apart, but I was too drunk to notice."

Linda's kids were put into foster care and she lost her business. Contemplating suicide one night, she awoke the next morning, with thoughts of trying to beat her alcoholism rather than letting it beat her. Along with trying to live by the 12 steps of AA and counseling, she has been sober for a year and a half. I asked Linda what one thing she would do if she could go back in time and her reply was:

"I would go back to that night of the slumber party and set that beer that I had in my hand down. I would set it down and walk away."

Ronald J. Comer brings to the surface an interesting fact that one cannot overlook in his book The Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology. He states that two-thirds of the people in the United States at least from time to time drink beverages that contain alcohol. And while keeping this in mind, he adds that males outnumber females by more than three to one for being heavy drinkers (282). With alcohol affecting the lives of millions, it kills people in car accidents, suicides, and health problems (285). Even though alcohol is very dangerous and deadly it can be subdued. Alcoholism is an addiction and it takes time and strenuous steps to live a normal life again. There are various treatments that a person can take to overcome alcoholism. Depending on what kind of therapy one chooses, such as psychodynamic, behavioral and cognitive view, or biological view, there are different treatments for each one. The psychodynamic therapists guide patients with substance-related disorders to uncover and resolve the underlying needs and conflicts that they believe have led to the disorders .After doing so, they try to help the patient change their lifestyle. The behavior therapists use aversion therapy. Aversion therapy is when the patient is given an unpleasant stimulus, like a shock, when they think of the drug. Cognitive-Behavioral therapists use a technique that helps the patient to gain control over their addiction. One



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