A True Story of an Alcoholic Family in Crisis

Sad woman with chin resting on her arms
How Alcoholism Can Affect the Family. Tetra Images / Getty Images

When the telephone call came, with an invitation to come back "home" for a visit, I had not heard the voice on the other end in over 20 years. I accepted the invitation and made the trip, not realizing I would be walking into the midst of a family in crisis—an emotional powder keg ready to explode.

Chapter 1: A Family in Crisis
One Alcoholic Can Affect Many Lives
This, unfortunately, is a true story about how many lives one alcoholic can effect, and how alcoholism can spiral into a full-fledged family disease.

Chapter 2: An Alcoholic in Denial
Untreated Alcoholism Can Affect the Entire Family
No matter how much they are admonished or scolded, how much encouragement and understanding they are offered, some will never make the decision to stop drinking.

Chapter 3: A Family Disease
There Is a Reason It's Called a Family Disease
She blames herself for the violent outbursts. She lost her temper, lost control and said things that she did not mean. She knew what would happen; this was not the first time he hit her.

Chapter 4: The Cycle of Violence
'Don't Worry, It Will Never Happen Again'
The brightness of the room causes him to squint and he realizes it's morning -- the next day. He says to himself, "If this is Saturday morning, what happened to Friday night?"

Chapter 5: The Cycle Continues
Repeating Behavior Over and Over
The incident of domestic violence that we witnessed in our series "A Family in Crisis" is typical of the physical abuse that occurs in thousands of homes each day.

Chapter 6: What Makes Them Stay?
Why Do Victims Stay With the Abuser?
Most people who come in contact with the inappropriate behavior of an alcoholic will simply walk away. But for many others, it is not that easy.

Chapter 7: A Progressive Disease
It Creeps Up on You Insidiously
Over the years -- slowly and insidiously -- alcohol begins to take more and more control in a subtle and stealthy manner until it finally comes to dominate all aspects of the drinker's life.

Chapter 8: Passing It On
Passing Violence Down to the Next Generation
An estimated 75 percent of those arrested for domestic violence report witnessing the same behavior in childhood and 50 percent say they were abused as children.

Chapter 9: Another Child Affected
Extreme Behavior Begins to Look 'Normal'
Because of the insidious nature of alcoholism, alcoholics and even those around them sometimes do not notice that their behavior has slowly grown more extreme and unacceptable.

Chapter 10: The Final Chapter?
The List of Victims Grows for the Alcoholic
When alcohol begins to take more control of their lives, many alcoholics find themselves making promises that they cannot keep, buying things they can't afford, and signing contracts they won't possibly fulfill.

Chapter 11: The Cycle Repeats
The Violence Is Progressive Too
When we last visited with our friends David and Glenda they were back together again as a couple and making plans for their future together, in spite of some dark clouds on the horizon.

Chapter 12: An Alcoholic's Final Victim
A Second Chance at Life Squandered
After he and Glenda went their separate ways, David went looking for another enabler to support his drink-all-day-everyday lifestyle.

Was this page helpful?