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Alcoholism Essay, Research Paper

Alcoholism : Children and the family

Society faces problems everyday, however individuals learn to deal with these

problems and solve them in the best way they can. One of societies problems that

has plagued human kind for generations and still is left unsolved is the problem of

alcohol abuse or Alcoholism. Alcoholism has been called the most serious drug

problem in terms of number of victims and cost to society. Why people get hooked

and why they betray family values has baffled scientists for years. The cost of this

terrible addiction, unfortunately falls into the hands of the children in the alcoholic


I chose to address the topic of alcoholism, because it is of interest to me, and

because I experienced it in my childhood. This particular topic was not chosen

simply because of the fact that I grew up with it, but because I want to hear what

research has to offer on the topic. I hope that I will have a better understanding of

alcoholism and why my father drank so much. It hurts to write about it but I feel

that I will grow from this experience.

Alcoholism was a part of my life, but I really did not understand what it was all

about. I knew it was an addiction and I knew it was common in society. Before

writing this paper, I really knew nothing in terms of facts or data related to the

topic. All that I knew was that it affected me psychologically because I felt it was

in some way my fault. I thought about it a lot and always tried to put it in the back


of my mind. That is probably why I knew so little about it, because I didn’t want


As I started my research on Alcoholism I found that there was extensive

information on the topic. Using the University library I collected sources such as

books, articles, magazines and most of all, articles from the internet. Organizing

the information was difficult, but was found to be valuable in the end. In helping

to organize I used a research notebook. So every time I found a new article I

filed it in my notebook so as to keep a neat record.

During my research process much was learned on the topic, foremost that

Alcoholism in the family is very dangerous, and as was stated before is a major

problem in society. Not only in America, but worldwide. In the family, family

members often become obsessed with the alcoholics behaviour. Family members

often become depressed, angry, frustrated, confused and need treatment as does

the alcoholic. This disease has created such a problem that almost every family

is affected by it. According to Joel Dinnerstien, a jewish rabbi and doctor,

“Alcoholism is accountable for fifty percent of all the cases brought to family

court”(Dinnerstien par. 11).

Anger, frustration, these are all outcomes of the terrible addition called alcohol

abuse. Injected into the family core before family members realize, this often


scary addiction sends a family into confusion. Some of the greatest pressures fall

on the children of alcoholics. Children usually experience their parents alcoholism

while they are in their maturing stages, and most often childrens minds are affected

for lifetimes. This is not hard to believe due to the fact that many children in

America experience these hardships. Dr. Ron Pitzer of University of Minnesota

said , “A large portion of our population is affected, then, since an estimated

30 million American children live in alcoholic homes”(Pitzer par.1).

It is hard to escape the problem of alcoholism, prevalent in home across the

country, it’s presence like an entity. Children usually grow up, not understanding

why their parents drink and often times put the blame on themselves. This ” not

understanding” can lead to a cycle from generation to generation. When the child

is in the maturing stage he/she is very sensitive to these sorts of problems

(Alcoholism par.3).

The child who is in the alcoholic home usually is emotionally unstable, and has

a lack of self-esteem. Also the child is aggresive and or antisocial and sometimes

is a trouble maker. The child is usually labelled as a problem child. Another result

of the parents alcoholism is that children of alcoholics are prone to fighting with

those of the opposite sex. All of these factors create turmoil in the family and in

the child’s life (Alcoholism: a childrens viewpoint par.3).


Facts are facts, and the fact is that children of alcoholics are at a high risk for

alcohol and other drug related problems. Tension, stress, anxiety and depression

all are the results of a child living with an alcoholic parent. Children are

unfortunately left with the consequences of their parents problems, but it is

seen all the time, and it will only get worse if help is not found. An article on

Alcoholism stated :

When guardians in charge of children are alcoholics, there is strong

evidence that children in these families are more likely to develop the

disease of alcoholism as well. The fact is, alcoholism tends to run in

families(Boucher par.1).

Children are under pressure and usually can not handle it, it is of no wonder

many children of alcoholics end up alcoholics themselves. Usually these children

of alcoholics grow up to marry alcoholics and create the same stressful factors they

had in their childhood, passing on their alcoholic genes to their children. A student

I interview was a product of two alcoholic parents. He believes the gene was

passed on to him, for he also is an alcoholic and is trying to quit. He tried to

explain his difficulty in fighting the gene by saying:

Alcoholism has been a part of my life since I was 8 years old, I grew

up with it, but I’m not ashamed. I had a lot of problems at home and


when I felt down, I just started to drink. I came close to dying last

year and I hate my parents for what they did to me(Andrews int.).

Sometimes this alcoholic gene skips a generation. For example, the child of an

alcoholic may never drink, but then his children become alcoholics. This skip can

be prevented by having the child grow up in a peaceful environment and

monitoring the child for adverse behaviour. The children with this gene often

has feelings of shame, guilt or loneliness, they may also show off, or act tough.

To rid these children of their problem, it is often helpful to get them involved in

something about which they feel good. It can be a hobby or a sporting event, or

even just spending time with the child. It is also important to not push the child,

simply letting him/her to grow at their own pace(Children of Alcoholics par.5).

Society can always try and solve the worlds problems and sometimes succeed,

however, to overcome the disease of alcoholism individuals will have to concern

themselves with the future, and think about their children. They are the only

solution to this problem. Only through them can the addiction be erased. Whether

alcoholism is a gene that runs through the family or just a hobby taken to far,

something must be done. Families across America and children around the world

are losing their chances to become something better. Children should concentrate

on more important things than how many drinks their father had. If a solution is


found, children everywhere will have better lives and parents around the world

will have a peace of mind where their childrens drinking habits are concerned.

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