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Alcohol Addiction is a family Disease

24 Sep 2015

Reema's Story: “All was well until one fine day where in a party, my husband had his first drink then and there was no looking back. He  started taking a drink or two in every party. Slowly it turned into a daily affair when he would switch on the music, make me and my child sit with him to give him company while he would  drink.

There were times when I urged him to stop as now he was drinking more than ever.

It had started to affect me as there were times when he wanted to miss office and continue sleeping. I was getting to know that his performance in office had dropped and that he was on the verge of losing his job.

We fought constantly. My world was coming crashing down. My husband still didn’t think alcohol was a problem” reports Reema whose husband is currently in a rehabilitation program.

 Doesn’t it always start with that one drink and then go up to many more till life goes out of control!

According to WHO reports 11% of the population in India binge drink or drink excessively. Binge drinking is harmful for our body and  effects  the liver the most. The normal level of alcohol consumption should not exceed two drinks of (30 ml each).

A lot of people report that they enjoy drinking but do not consume alcohol everyday but when they drink they drink heavily. This is an unhealthy pattern of drinking.

Alcoholism is popularly known as a family disease due to the adverse effects it has on the family members.

Alcoholism has been one of the major reasons for marital discords sometimes leading to divorces. As it is more common in men it makes the woman transform from a spouse to a caregiver. This can be very exhausting, tiring and frustrating for the family especially the wife.

There are numerous conflicts on finances, responsibility sharing and unwarranted behaviour due to intoxication. In many cases there has been domestic violence and marital abuse. There is decreased communication as now the husband and wife start keeping things to themselves.

It makes the wife feel that she needs to take control over the situation which makes husband even more irresponsible and releases him of the pressure to have to carry out family responsibilities. There is lesser scope of intimacy as the wife does not approve of the husbands drinking habit. Often women find themselves to be helpless.

Children of fathers who have a drinking problem grow up in fear and an unpleasant environment at  home. This has an impact on the child’s confidence and children have often been seen to struggle with low self-esteem. They are recluse and fear abandonment. Research also indicates towards a strong relationship between alcoholism in fathers and children and psychological issues in children like depression, anxiety, conduct disorder and adjustment problems. Children also feel guilty about the father drinking excessively and at times think  that they are the cause.

Alcohol can decay a family. It is important to take charge of the situation and make the move in the right direction.

If you feel your husband has a drinking problem here is what you can do:

1. Most importantly accept yourself that your husband has an unhealthy drinking pattern which is causing problems and disrupting his normal functioning.

2.Avoid covering up for your spouse for mistakes or slip-ups made due to drinking. This only encourages him to drink more since he feels that there are  as there are no repercussions  of his drinking pattern.

3.Point out to him the times when you felt he was excessively intoxicated and behaved irresponsibly. You have to pick a time that is right for this or else it might turn out into a show down and loose its impact. Often it makes the husband defensive. Help him to identify his drinking as a problem.

4.Avoid taking up the caregiver’s role.

5.Avoid nagging and telling him to stop. This will not help. A healthy discussion about how you feel about his drinking will be more effective. Use ‘I’ sentences, “I feel that sometimes you tend to lose control after drinking. It makes me uncomfortable.”

6.Keep yourself safe and avoid confrontation when you feel your husband is intoxicated. Keep a women’s helpline on speed dial (1019).

7.If there are children involved keep them away from this as much as possible. Avoid talking about your husband’s drinking problem in front of them. Keep them safe when there is physical violence involved.

8.If you feel that it is difficult for you to cope, it is best to take professional help. Not only for your husband but also for yourself as this can be very stressful for you  too.


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Tags: #Alcohol Addiction # A family Diesase