Alcoholism As A Way Of Life

by Linda
(Albuquerque, NM)

I am looking for any research-based information on the phenomenon of alcoholism as a way of life across generations, in a seemingly functional upper middle class family.


The family I am looking into is, (on the surface) loving, close, successful in life, and all of them drink all the time. It’s a way of life.

Basically, my question is, if a group of people do not all exhibit typical signs of alcoholism, is it realistic to assume that they just enjoy their drink? Or is it likely that there is an unhealthy relationship with alcohol that just doesn't affect all members?

The functional members refuse to acknowledge that other members are struggling with alcohol. It seems as though, if they were to admit and face their loved one's problem, they would have to adjust their way of life in order to help him. Or perhaps admit his problem would implicate their way of life as a contributor to his disease.

Do you have any thoughts, or resources to shed light on comparable situations?

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I am not familiar with any research-based information on this problem, but I am familiar with the issue. Alcohol affects all the members in this family -- but it affects each one differently. All of them enjoy drinking because otherwise, they wouldn’t pick up a drink in the first place, however they have different tolerance for it. That’s the way alcohol works. The more you drink, the more your body becomes accustom to it, so it will take more alcohol to give you the same effect. This is why some of the members seem ‘fine’ with alcohol and others will display more of the effects.

The ones with high tolerance also have the twisted belief that they can ‘handle’ alcohol, and this continues their denial. However, they are just as affected by the alcohol in their system, they simply are displaying it differently. They should not be operating a vehicle and they are slowly destroying their health.

An alcoholic in denial does not admit to their problem and will focus on another person who is clearly not able to control drinking. This takes the pressure off them. By admitting that they have contributed to their loved ones’ drinking problem, would be taking responsibility – and this won’t happen with someone in denial.

It won’t be easy, but it’s up to the suffering person to stop blaming the family and get the help he needs to change his life. If he takes the first move, he’s opening the door for others in the family to chose a healthier lifestyle for themselves as well.

All the best

Bev

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