How Alcohol Abuse Affects Families

How Alcohol Abuse Affects Families

Table of Contents

Several Ways That Alcohol Abuse Harms Family Relationships

The abuse of alcohol is an issue with a serious impact on more than just the afflicted individual. When you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, your family members struggle, too. Learning about the various ways that the abuse of alcohol may affect a family can help you to recognize the signs of alcoholism and how this situation is harming your loved ones. You can also learn ways in which your family can act as a system of support and encouragement.

How Alcoholism Affects Relationships

Alcoholism has the ability to damage relationships. Loved ones may feel belittled or attacked as a result of your alcohol use. Going to rehab is one way to start repairing damaged family relationships. Counselors can teach clients strategies to aid in asking for forgiveness and bettering relationships. Also, clients learn how to acknowledge that some relationships may be permanently over and accept that reality.

Romantic Relationships

In the most serious of situations, alcoholism can lead to physical or emotional abuse of a romantic partner. Individuals might steal from their partners or be unfaithful. Even without serious issues like that, you might feel as though your partner is not as involved in the relationship as you are due to his or her alcohol abuse. When people are constantly drinking, they may lack the ability to properly manage money or to contribute to household maintenance.

Relationships With Children

Parents who are struggling with alcoholism may cause serious harm when it comes to their children. Some parents commit acts of child abuse. Some parents neglect their children. Other cases exist where parents are absent for important events, such as sporting events, recitals, and graduations, because they are intoxicated. If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, you might find it difficult to play games with your children or to help them with their homework.

Relationships With Parents

You might also be the parent of an adolescent who abuses alcohol. Your efforts to intervene and help your child might have led to disagreements and distance. Considering treatment programs that are specifically designed for teenagers can help your son or daughter feel more comfortable.

How Abusing Alcohol Impairs Relationships

Strong relationships have a number of characteristics in common. The abuse of alcohol can harm these critical foundations of relationships.


If you abuse alcohol, you may have violated the trust of your loved ones in several ways. For example, you might have lied to cover up your addiction. You might have made promises that your alcoholism prevented you from keeping. Getting treatment can teach you strategies for rebuilding that trust.


Loved ones might also not be able to depend on you. Your partner might have relied on you to pick the kids up from their after-school activities. However, now your loved one may worry that you will drive drunk with the children in the car.


Healthy familial relationships typically involve a high degree of comfortability. In other words, you should feel relaxed and safe in your home. Living with an alcoholic, however, can feel unsafe and uncomfortable. Your loved ones may avoid coming home until after you have gone to sleep in order to avoid confrontations and unpleasant conversations.


Caring about one another’s health, in both the physical and mental sense, is an important part of familial relationships. When your relatives see that you’re addicted to alcohol, they may feel helpless. Some of your loved ones may even blame themselves for your abuse of alcohol.


Constant drinking can cause people to behave recklessly. Your relatives might be worried about you and themselves. For example, when you drink, you might forget to turn the stove off or leave candles burning, thereby putting the home at risk of a fire.

Effects Outside the Home

Abusing alcohol can seriously affect the lives of your family members at home. These effects can also spill into your loved ones’ lives outside the home.

At School

Alcoholism can have serious effects on children when they are at school. Youngsters may feel a great deal of anxiety about having to return to an alcoholic household at the end of the day. Children may be unable to concentrate on their schoolwork and end up failing classes. Kids feeling embarrassed about their home situations may not invite their friends over or might even stop trying to socialize at all.

At Work

Your partner may feel stressed at work with constant thoughts about your alcoholism. Since you are struggling with alcoholism, your partner might have the sole responsibility of making an income for the family, and this can lead to further anxiety. This stress could lead to your partner making mistakes or even getting into confrontations at work.

Social Situations

The stress of living with an alcoholic can also harm your loved ones’ social lives. Your family members may be constantly worried about what you’re doing at home and unable to enjoy time with friends or at events as a result. Your partner might feel pressured to make excuses for your whereabouts when they are out with mutual friends.


Your alcoholism could also interfere with your loved ones’ ability to pursue new opportunities. If you constantly forget to show up for appointments and events due to drinking, you might miss an appointment to talk with a bank representative about a loan for a new house or the chance to speak with a university admissions officer at your teenager’s college fair.

Hope for the Future

Alcoholism in a household can also drain hope for the future. Your kids might dream of going to college, or your partner might want to buy a bigger house together. However, family members might see your alcoholism as a roadblock to achieving these goals. For example, your teenagers might feel that they have to stay in the house to take care of you instead of going away to college.


Alcoholism can also lead to the end of the family unit that you currently know. Your partner might ask for a separation or divorce because of how much the relationship has deteriorated. You also could lose custody of your children if officials deem your home to be an unsafe environment.

Medical Issues and Death

Years of alcoholism can take a toll on your body. Physical health issues might force your partner or children to prematurely become caregivers for you. Also, a traffic accident or alcohol overdose could lead to your death and leave your family with grief and pain.

How Families Can Help With Recovery

Understanding how alcoholism can affect your family is important. However, there is good news. Loved ones can also play a critical role in your recovery. In addition to helping you to recognize the need for treatment, your family members can help you pick the right treatment program.


While an intervention might feel uncomfortable, the experience can be lifesaving. An intervention provides relatives with an opportunity to tell you how much they care about you. Also, your loved ones can express the specific reasons why they feel that you are in need of help. Hearing this information is likely to be difficult, but honesty can be the catalyst you need to enroll in a rehab program.

Selecting the Right Treatment Option

Even if you are acutely aware that treatment is necessary, you might not know where to start in terms of finding a program. Ask your loved ones to help you explore the various options. Ultimately, you must be the one to pick the program that is right for your needs, but family members can assist by providing their perspectives.

Medically Supervised Withdrawal

One option you can explore with your loved ones is medically supervised withdrawal, also known as medically supervised detox. Withdrawing from alcohol can be difficult, and you might experience serious side effects. Going through withdrawal at a treatment center lets you complete this challenging process in safety and with supervision by healthcare professionals.

Inpatient Treatment

Your family can also provide critical support for you if you enroll in an inpatient treatment program. Entering an inpatient program means that you’ll need to live away from home for a period of time. Assurance from your family members that they will take care of the kids, pets, and other household responsibilities can be exactly what you need to focus on your recovery.

Outpatient Treatment

You might also choose an outpatient treatment program, which means that you’ll continue to live in your home and interact with your household members on a daily basis. You’ll need the patience and understanding of your family members in order to succeed. You might have to miss certain functions or events in order to get treatment. And any enabling behavior at home must stop.

Providing Continued Support

Regardless of which treatment you choose, the support of your family members can help you to get through. For example, you might communicate with your relatives regularly from your inpatient program. This type of emotional support can be powerful in recovery.

Selecting the Right Center

Working with your family to choose a center that respects and values your needs as an individual is pivotal. Liberty Bay Recovery Center offers both detox and rehab programs.


Liberty Bay offers a supervised detox program. If you experience common withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, nausea, or insomnia, you can receive support from our team. Staff members can also help you to connect with your family during this time. Having multiple levels of support can help to prevent a relapse. Keep in mind that if a relapse does occur, you can connect with the team members at Liberty Bay for assistance.


Liberty Bay provides a comprehensive program in terms of alcohol rehab. In other words, after you go through the supervised withdrawal program, you can start a rehab program. Then, when the rehab program is complete, you can enter into aftercare. From the time you start the program until after it’s finished, you’ll have support from our team members.

Benefits of Treatment at Liberty Bay

At our treatment facility, you’ll get individualized care that’s tailored to your needs. We understand that no two clients are exactly alike.

Also, the program will focus on addressing the root causes of your alcoholism. At home, you may choose to share this information with your family. Explaining to your loved ones the reasons why you drink can help them to have a better understanding of you and your needs. Additionally, your loved ones can help you in resist temptation and avoid triggers.

At Liberty Bay, we use a combination of different approaches to help you to succeed. For example, you’ll participate in individual counseling. In these sessions, you can learn about strategies for mending relationships with your relatives and maintaining healthier connections with the important people in your life going forward.

Another strategy is group therapy. You might feel hesitant to share your story with other clients, but think about how much strength and comfort you can draw from this powerful experience. Also, talking about your struggles and triumphs with a group can help you to develop communication skills for more effectively sharing information with your family.
Our team members at Liberty Bay are dedicated to helping clients like you recover and have healthier relationships with loved ones.

The abuse of alcohol can have many consequences for yourself and your relationships with loved ones. However, you’re making the right move by thinking about getting treatment. Many people have sought help from us and have bettered their lives and relationships as a result. Take the next step by speaking with a Liberty Bay team member today.