May 25, 2007

A Society of Alcoholism

Four Major Types of Alcoholic Families -families in which the disease of alcoholism has affected the way the family system operates.

This system is riddled with active alcoholism. In children, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and even further back in the family history, active alcoholism is rampant. Every generation of this family will have both active alcoholism and adult children of alcoholics issues to deal with. For the Type 1 alcoholic family, crisis has become a life-style, a cycle which is difficult to break. They believe that theirs is a normal way of life.

In this alcoholic family system the actively drinking member of the nuclear family has stopped drinking. Although the active alcoholism has been arrested, the family system will continue to operate in a way that can only be described as alcoholic. It is important to note that even when the alcohol is removed from the system, if the family remains untreated, the alcoholic behaviour will continue to operate. Many ACoAs who come from this type of system feel a great deal of conflict.

In the Type 3 system the active drinking has been removed from the family for one or more generation. In this system, the parents did not drink in an alcoholic way, but one of their parents-or even grandparents-was an alcoholic. Even though active drinking has not been in the family for some time, the family dynamics continue in a way that is still characteristic of an alcoholic family. Many ACoAs come from this type of family. Their parents did not abuse alcohol, but one or more of their grandparents did, and their family continues to follow the rules and behaviours of an actively drinking alcoholic family. It is extremely important for people who come from this type of system to realize that the behavioural characteristics of the disease of alcoholism are transmitted through the family, even though the active drinking has ceased.

Many times the hidden alcoholism factor will only come to light after a thorough family history has been completed. Often people from a Type 3 family will not understand why they feel so at home with ACoAs, or why they are so personally familiar with the characteristics of ACoAs.

In this non-alcoholic family one of its members becomes an alcoholic. The family then becomes an alcoholic family system. The children of this family will have ACoA issues and will be at high risk for becoming alcoholic themselves. As the disease of alcoholism progresses in the alcoholic member, the family becomes more and more dysfunctional in its attempts to deal with the alcoholic’s behaviour.

For more information about this and much more contact St Joseph’s Hospital. You can visit their web page by clicking here.

Alcoholism: Signs and symptoms

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