Alcoholism is frequently referred to as a “family disease” because it affects the entire family and each member. Often, a family member’s alcoholism problem becomes a secret that nobody talks about, and it is a scar that many children carry well into adulthood.
Growing up in an alcoholic household or surviving a chaotic, dysfunctional environment as a child can result in the development of specific maladaptive traits. These maladaptations can harm a child’s psychological well-being and cause relationship problems into adulthood.
There are 11 million children under the age of 18 in the US who have at least one alcoholic parent in their home. When parents are focused on maintaining their alcoholism, they frequently neglect their children’s basic needs. These necessities include food, safety, instruction, structure, regularity, affection, and medical care. If these basic requirements are not satisfied, households—many of which are rife with alcohol abuse—may descend into chaos and uncertainty. Children might witness fights and other forms of violence or not know where their next meal is coming from.
A child may feel unsafe in their own home if their environment is unpredictable and unreliable. The pain brought on by their parents’ alcoholism may make them feel trapped and unable to escape. Children who don’t get their needs met may blame themselves, which can cause them to feel ashamed and unworthy. Additionally, this type of environment may lead to more significant challenges in social and academic contexts.
Children who live in homes where alcohol abuse is prevalent might have to mature more quickly. In these families, children might be required to take care of their parents or siblings. Even though taking on this kind of family role at a young age can be very demanding, some good character traits can emerge. These outcomes include resiliency, compassion, accountability, and tenacity.
Adults who grew up with an alcoholic parent often have trouble trusting people because they have been let down before by an important person in their lives. As such, it’s natural for them to close off their hearts as a form of self-protection.
Children in alcoholic homes have a hard time adjusting to change. A sudden change of plans or anything that feels out of their control can trigger their anxiety and/or anger. They thrive on routine and predictability, as it helps them feel safe.
Children in an alcoholic home tend to search for perfection—both in themselves and others—and this continues well into adulthood. Unfortunately, they set the bar too high and can never reach the goal of perfection they’ve set for themselves, creating an impossible standard.
If you or someone in your family is experiencing alcoholism, there are organizations that will help you. Going through Christian’s Drug Rehab will give your family the chance to heal old wounds from your addiction. Above all else, it will fortify your family bonds by bringing you closer as you face a challenge together. Alcoholism can have devastating effects on families, but receiving Christian addiction treatment will ensure that your family is not in danger due to your addiction and give you another chance to improve it.