Alcoholism Affects the Entire Family


Alcoholism affects the entire family and not just the person with the alcohol use problem. In fact, alcoholism affects everyone in the individual’s life including their friends, their colleagues and supervisors at work. Most people in the life of the excessive alcohol user will spend most of their energy and emotions trying to talk the individual into getting help. We have all seen the television show “Intervention” where well meaning family and friends try to confront the chronic substance user and force them into getting help. The emotions are raw and even the family is at the end of the line, unable to watch the individual self destruct.

Fortunately, there are options to getting help and finding the right one to meet your needs is half the chore. The important thing is making the decision to get the help you need for yourself and for your family. Your family is there to encourage you and to support you as you go through the program, so you want to make sure that you choose a program that encourage the support of loved ones and not deter their support or separate you from their support.

You may or may not need alcohol detox after you quit drinking. It depends on the amount of alcohol you have been using, how often you have been using alcohol and how long you have been using alcohol. If you are unsure, consult with your doctor.

Traditional alcohol rehab programs such as 12 step programs, promote the false belief that alcohol use is a brain disease and that you inherited your alcohol use from your family through an alcoholic gene. They teach that you will never be able to defeat your alcohol use and that you will relapse. Their solution is treatment through belief in a higher power, abstinence (which you will not be able to do) and to participate in group meetings. These meetings extend to family members as well.

Family members are invited to attend open meetings and then there are 12 step programs for families of alcohol users. These meetings force the family to believe that their family member is diseased and to accept that they are powerless. It seems that this philosophy does little to help the family of an alcohol user and would increase their pain and misery and further seems like a waste of time.

12 step programs have more than 2 million members, yet they also have a 95 percent dropout rate. Family members need to feel that they can support and encourage their loved one and being constantly told that their loved one is hopeless, has a negative impact on the situation with nothing positive to gain.

There are programs that do not believe that alcoholism affects the entire family.

Luckily, Saint Jude Retreats has a helpful family program for substance users and their loved ones that helps break these vicious mentalities. Our Family Program encourages family members to create boundaries with their loved one who is struggling with substance use, without abandoning them completely. In addition the program clears up popular myths surrounding enabling, denial and the truth about what addiction truly is. Family members will also have access to the St. Jude Corner, a website that allows the family to follow along with the program with reading materials, daily schedule, menus and social activities. Families are encouraged to visit on Family Day every Sunday and to stay and have brunch with your family member.

Learn more about the Family Program today! 1-888-424-2626