The Effect of Alcoholism on a Marriage
The Effect of Alcoholism on Marriage. The effects of alcoholism in a marriage are dramatic and damaging. The mental state and physical well being of the abuser aside, there are significant effects on marriages. The members of the family affected undergo psychological and health trauma accruing from alcohol abuse by either spouse. For instance the sober spouse undergoes a psychological transition from being caring and giving to being addicted to caring for the alcohol abusing partner.
It is the nature of all addicts to be liars, making cover ups, committing lies of omission, creating excuses, denial of their habit and blaming others for their addiction. The cause effect trend of this scenario complicates the children’s social and academic lives therefore further propagating household misery and tension. Marital distress results where marital trouble for instance dispute and quarreling are the order of the day. Lack of or aggressive communication leads to disruption warmth and unity in a marriage thus bottled up feelings of anger and tension in the relationships.
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An alcoholic spouse’s attention will often get distracted from their day to day roles and tasks. The effect is dissatisfaction and resentment on the part of the other spouse and family members. The time spent away drinking or in a stupor is usually time away from domestic roles that go unfulfilled. The most apparent of these duties are parenting duties and husbandly roles, thus this affects the entire household. Due to reduced judgment levels alcohol especially when consumed away from home makes either spouse vulnerable to unfaithfulness.
Not only does this lead to detachment and guilt on the part of the cheat but also exposes the other spouse to sexually transmitted diseases. This health implication and the emotional hurt experienced on discoveries leads to outright failure of a marriage. The adverse physiological effects of alcoholism for instance tremors and blackouts disrupt the drinker’s social but also work life. This may lead to interruption of sources of income. In the case of women alcoholism affects the fetus before delivery. Alcohol permeates all the organs including the placenta and it easily finds its way to the fetus’ blood system.
The born child develops birth defects such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome one of the three top reputed causes of birth defects. If it comes to the attention of the family that a new born is suffering due to the ignorance of the alcoholic mother, it results in strained relations. Alcoholism is an expensive habit since the alcoholic spends more time spending on alcohol than he or she does making money. Most alcoholics eventually lose their jobs and carry on with the habit using the family savings. Some even tap into the children’s college funds to keep their appetite for the habit going.
Alcoholic spouses deplete the family’s financial resources culminating in a financial crisis leading to frustration, conflict and eventual separation. Most crimes are committed under the influence, the most common being alcoholic drunkenness. Corrections authorities released information that 35% of convicted offenders confess having been drinking when they committed the offence that led to their conviction. The offences range from traffic offenses, disturbance, violent crime, petty crimes like theft, assault and many others.
The family undergoes legal problems, having to hire lawyers and try to keep the alcoholic out of jail and also undergoing all the undue attention and embarrassment that comes with publicity about the crime. While these crimes occur outside, some of them happen right inside the household The likelihood of divorce increases due to violence and hostile communication, verbal abuse and physical battery since alcohol abuse is linked to heightened aggression; attributable to reduced rational thought and self control; that most often ends up in injury to either or both of the spouses.
Enhanced differences and unbalanced spousal equity occur due to the decrease in together time especially where the abuser’s drinking escapades take place away from home. The kind of communication that exists in an alcohol strained marriage is negative, prejudicial and angry. Cooperative and positive problem resolution thus deteriorates. In this regard less marital problems are solved due to the negative nature of conversations. Issues to with family finances, parenting and sexual issues form a big part of these accumulated issues.
As far as sexual issues are concerned, it is proven that alcoholism leads to marital sex complications with lower sexual satisfaction and erectile dysfunction in men, while in women alcohol abuse is reported to slow down orgasm. The alcoholic personality tends to involve less conscience while entailing hypersensitivity and anxiety further complicating any chance of problem resolution in a marriage. If there are children the effect is that they tend to copy the behavior and end up being alcoholics themselves with their future marriages being subject to chances of failure, as were their parents’.
The 1979 national drinking practices survey data revealed that children to alcoholics lead disrupted lives. The children’s social woes include feelings of low self esteem, guilt, loneliness, helplessness and chronic depression. They at times feel responsible for the parents’ drinking problem. Young ones are troubled to the extent they experience nightmares, bedwetting and crying. for instance battering and incest. It is said that 75% of domestic violence cases are cases of an alcoholic parent.
This leads to guilt, shame, helplessness and they themselves turn to drinking to escape the pain. They carry their problems into adult life, forming a vicious cycle of alcoholism. It is thus doubtable whether a marriage can survive all the above detailed problems. More often break downs characterized by divorce, separation and loss of life or insanity take place. Thus alcoholism unless unchecked through therapy not only to the alcoholic, but to the entire family, leads to a break down of the basic social unit, the family.