Information for Families of Alcoholics

Dealing With Alcoholism in the Family

There are many resources on this site which are intended to help those who have a drinking problem, but also just as many for the families and friends of those with an alcohol use disorder. After all, alcoholism is considered a "family disease" that can affect all members of the family whether they realize it or not.

Do You Need Help?

Why Do I Need Help? He's the Alcoholic!
The disease of alcoholism affects everyone in the family, whether they realize it or not. Here is why alcoholism is a disease of the whole family, including the spouse and children.

Even if the person with an alcohol use disorder seeks help, you may still need assistance to overcome the effects on you as a family member.

How Can I Get Him to Stop?
When family members of those who are alcohol-dependent ask the above question about a drinker, the answer is never simple.

Enabling - When 'Helping' Doesn't Really Help
Many times when family and friends try to "help" some one with an alcohol use disorder, they are actually making it easier for them to continue in the progression of the disease.

Are You Enabling an Alcoholic?
Sometimes the things we think are helping are actually hurting. This quiz can show you which behaviors are enabling the person with an alcohol use disorder in your life.

Quiz: Alcohol Problem Screening
Are you concerned you may be developing a problem with alcohol yourself? Complete this for some answers.

Quiz: Adult Children of Alcoholics
Did you grow up in an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional family? Those who grow up in homes where there is alcohol abuse or alcoholism are sometimes affected in ways they do not even realize.

How Families Are Affected by Alcoholism

Enabling: Games Alcoholic Families Play
You didn't cause it and you can't control it. But could you be contributing to the problem?

If you find yourself locked into  playing a role in the alcoholic's life, maybe you need to call "time out."

Denial - A Symptom of Alcoholism?
One of the most frustrating factors in dealing with alcoholism, as a relative, friend or professional, is that alcoholism is almost always accompanied by a phenomenon known as "denial."

What About the Children in Alcoholic Families?

Growing Up 'Alcoholically'
Growing up in a home with a person with an alcohol use disorder can affect how a child looks at life and almost everything in it.

Adult Children
Most of us who grew up in families affected by the disease of alcoholism never really did grow up.

What Can You Do to Help?

Sometimes when the alcoholic's problems reach the crisis level the only choice left to his family is professional intervention.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

Detachment - Letting Go of Someone Else's Problem
For the friends and family of the alcoholic, the key to serenity is finding the wisdom to know the difference between what they can and cannot change.

Al-Anon Family Groups
The Al-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength, and hope, in order to solve their common problems. Find out more about these groups and how to find one near you.

Al-Anon Meeting Discussion Topics
A discussion of 40 topics of interest to families of alcoholics and newcomers to Al-Anon.

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Article Sources
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  2. Park S, Schepp KG. A Systematic Review of Research on Children of Alcoholics: Their Inherent Resilience and Vulnerability. Journal of Child and Family Studies. 2015;24(5):1222-1231. doi:10.1007/s10826-014-9930-7

  3. Pickard H. Denial in Addiction. Mind & Language. 2016;31(3):277-299. doi:10.1111/mila.12106