Alcoholism is a disease that affects millions of people. It has long term impacts on both individuals and their families. Even those who have recovered from alcoholism (and their families) will live a changed life long after sobriety.
A Life of Complete Abstinence
AA and similar programs promote lifelong sobriety. Those who are able to overcome alcoholism may always struggle with the temptation to drink. Complete abstinence allows the person to maintain sobriety and not be pressured to over drink. Someone in recovery from alcoholism will often learn to limit themselves socially and avoid situations like parties and events where they would be expected to drink. If they slip up and have just one drink, they face relapsing back into the disease.
Families of Alcoholics
Children and spouses of alcoholics often face a changed life as well. These individuals are more likely to suffer from mental illness, low self esteem, and trouble in relationships or with a career. Because of the impact of living with an alcoholic, family members of alcoholics are more likely to also abuse drugs or alcohol themselves.
For other family members, seeing the consequences of alcoholism makes them more determined to not become addicted to alcohol. Many children of alcoholics have taken it upon themselves to never drink, because they do not want to put their children or families through what they experienced growing up. They are afraid that if they take one drink, they won’t be able to stop, and will suffer the same fate as their parent.
Alcoholism changes people, and it changes families. Even after recovery, families may suffer long term effects. Those who make the commitment to remain sober and get the help they need will find that they can rebuild a life for themselves. The journey may be difficult, but families will be much happier and healthier without alcoholism.