In 2019, nearly 20% of the United States suffered from excessive drinking problems. These problems also link closely to violent crimes, premature death, and injury. However, these injuries do not just affect alcoholics, but the people around them—friends and family alike. Furthermore, one in five people—or over 50 million—are affected physically or psychologically by an alcoholic’s drinking choices.
Alcoholism not only develops physical problems of kidney, liver and heart disease, but also neurological and mood problems. Many of these issues can hurt not only close friends and family members but even complete strangers. Worst of all, alcoholics often do not seek help to prevent these problems going forward.
Yet there are ways to prevent this: by seeking treatment and developing an awareness for others, alcoholics can not only help themselves but the people around them.
Affecting Family and Friends
Families of alcoholics often experience the brunt of the addiction, constantly exposed to the violence alcoholism brings out. For some addicts, thoughts and feelings are spoken completely unfiltered and with little empathy. Others become irritable and irrational to a point that they lash out at family and become physically abusive.
Though common alcoholic stereotypes are not factually consistent, they become stereotypes for a reason. Alcoholic males are reported with more physical abuse and vandalism, while female alcoholics struggle with monetary and family problems. In addition, women in the household such as spouses or children are more vulnerable to physical harm from alcoholics.
Moreover, friends also become common targets for addicts to relieve stress, with males having increased vulnerability outside of their homes. Physical abuse is often less common with friends, but they are still susceptible to verbal abuse and harm. Nevertheless, verbal abuse is just as capable of creating irreparable damage in relationships as physical abuse.
The damage of alcoholism affects more than just close friends and family, but the people around alcoholics. Harming family or friends can reach further to extended family and other friends. Perhaps the stress of abuse bleeds into the lives of others, or even to their co-workers. New behaviors arise that give concern or creates a butterfly effect that hurts multiple parties.
As previously mentioned, alcoholics are not only capable of physical abuse but vandalism, property damage, reckless driving, and aggressive behavior. This also creates a ripple effect that can hurt more than just people but businesses, government property, or even completely innocent bystanders. In 2010 alone, excessive drinking cost the United States nearly $250 billion dollars through death and other damages. Because of this, alcoholism hurts not just family and friends, but even complete strangers out of sheer lack of responsibility.
Moving Forward Responsibly
Alcoholics have a history of physical and verbal abuse, vandalism, reckless driving, sexual misconduct, financial struggles, and various other offenses. These actions do not reflect and define all alcoholics but displays how many struggle to take responsibility for their actions.
Drug and alcohol addiction are chronic illnesses with no real or permanent cure and are capable of resurfacing through relapse. Though addiction itself is not a choice, it is ultimately an alcoholic’s choice to pursue treatment. Treatment applies not only to the addict themselves but also for family and close friends and their own healing process. By reaching an understanding with others, alcoholics can work on their own behavior and improve themselves around others.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, contact a Discovery Place’s Treatment & Rehab alternative in Tennessee. You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment center alternatives, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Alternative Recovery Program or our Long Term Alternative Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.