Alcohol addiction is capable of being a major influence on both the addict and their loved ones. With over 15 million adults experiencing AUD (alcohol use disorder), this means several million more struggle with family members suffering from alcoholism.

Many of those millions are likely young children growing up in fear and confusion of their parents’ behavior. They are conditioned to look up to parents for support, love, and care; yet, they may have trouble finding just that with a parent who drinks regularly, making them lethargic, neglectful, or even aggressive and abusive.

Living in a dangerous and unhealthy environment can condition children into unhealthy habits and behaviors growing up. Maybe they lack trust in people, isolate themselves, lash out, or even adopt the same drinking habits as their parents. After all, they may not know better.

It should go without saying that abusing alcohol can create a rift in a parent-child relationship that, sadly, is not uncommon. These are just a few of the effects of growing up as a child with alcoholic parents.

The Alcoholic Parent

Drinking alcohol in a family environment is not inherently bad; in fact, drinking alcohol responsibly and educating your child about it can provide them with healthy examples. An adult who abuses alcohol on a regular basis, however, can be negligent and set a poor example.

Alcoholic parents tend to be neglectful, sometimes disappearing for extended periods of time. They may also have trouble paying bills on time—typically spending too much money on alcohol. They will also typically mistreat or abuse their children or spouse under the effects of alcohol, or even get in legal trouble, such as driving drunk.

This makes alcoholic parents typically poor role models for children and can make for a difficult life growing up.

Effects on Living

With the common neglect of alcoholic parents, children tend to be left alone and mistreated. This puts additional strain on the other parent or even older siblings, who act as a parental figure for younger siblings in their place. The stress can also lead to divorce between parents, creating a lack of stability and entirely new problems that a child has to handle.

However, parents who do not divorce but fail to address the alcohol problem can make the situation even worse. First, alcohol abuse becomes normalized; children begin to think that drinking so much alcohol is normal when problems arise. They might even begin to abuse it and other drugs themselves later in life.

A life with an alcoholic parent also tends to be filled with broken promises, poor psychological and physical treatment, and dishonesty. This can ultimately lead to trust issues not only with their parents but with friends or even potential life partners in the future. This lack of trust can also tie into common feelings of needing approval, praise, and constantly fearing abandonment.

Finally, a child growing up with an alcoholic parent tends to struggle with poor self-esteem. A lack of stability in the family makes them feel inadequate to their peers or believe the verbal abuse from an alcoholic parent. For many children, this can develop feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation in the future.

What a Child Needs

Helping both an alcoholic parent and their victims is difficult but crucial to repair relationships and livelihoods. More than anything, a child needs a safe and healthy environment, with or without the parent. But in recovery, there are other things a child needs.

While away from a recovering parent, a child needs to positive role model in recovery. This can be another parent, a family member, or a professional counselor; someone a person a victim can be openly honest with, discuss their feelings and struggles, and gain inspiration from.

There are also family recovery groups for alcoholics to recover both from their addiction and with their family. Here, families can speak honestly and work on exercises for more healthy interactions. By healing together, a family can work to repair their relationships once more.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, contact a local Treatment & Rehab alternative in Tennessee. You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment center alternatives, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Recovery Program or our Long Term Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.

Testimonials

  • Discovery Place was the answer for my son. He did the 90 day and then the step down program and sober living. We give this organization 10 stars. They met my son where he was …emotionally, mentally, physically. They helped him put his life back on track. Discovery Place employees care about their guests. If your son, brother, nephew, grandson or husband needs excellent supportive care THIS is indeed the facility.

    Kim Morton
    Alumni Parent
  • I have remained sober and it is because of DP. DP is the best place there is, hands down. I keep everyone there in my prayers, and I encourage everyone there to take what they are practicing and do it in their lives, after.

    Roy Mantelli
    Alumni
  • Over the past year, I’ve been putting into actin what Discovery Place taught me, and I have experienced a complete perspective change of the world, and the people in it. I get to be a man of service and love today, and for that I am grateful to Discovery Place.

    Matt Kassay
    Alumni
  • Discovery Place means the world to me. They showed me the tools that I’ve tried to use everyday in my life to think less often of myself, and more frequently of others. I am learning to lend a hand when I am able and to have a honest and humble relationship with God and the people around me. Not only am I clean and sober, but also I am happy and fulfilled.

    Tommy Parker
    Alumni
  • Discovery Place and the men who work there made recovery attractive, and more importantly, fun. There is strength in the struggle. I am forever grateful for my time at Discovery Place.

    Creed McClellan
    Alumni
  • When I got to Discovery Place my whole life was in shambles, but I didn’t know it. I spent 6 months in their programs, participating in all three phases, and was met with kindness and love all along the way. It is unbelievable to me, where I am now relative to where I was when I arrived at DP.

    Lance Duke
    Alumni
  • I can never say enough good things about Discovery Place and the people who work there. Before checking in to DP, I was out of options and out of answers. Fortunately, Discovery Place has a solution. Taking suggestions from the staff at DP saved my life, and as a result, I’m now more content and hopeful about life. I’m grateful for Discovery Place showing me how to live a healthy life so that I can become a better man and help the next guy.”

    Tyler Buckingham
    Alumni

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