Alcoholism, and its physical and mental impacts, alter behaviors in the regular drinker which create family-wide disruption and conflict. Previously-important family rituals are shattered, financial problems arise, child neglect occurs, as well as a multitude of possible impacts. This research project identifies alcoholism in the family and the impact on family lifestyle.
One author describes the family structure as one in which specific job roles are assumed by various family members, with one as chief caretaker, another as the family expert, the master distractor, and many other family roles (Cole, 2000: 27). These job descriptions are generally held for long periods of time and work as the foundation of the family structure. In the situation where alcoholism factors into the family dynamic, outcomes of behavioral changes can include domestic violence, marital discord, sexual abuse, suicide, poverty and even medical problems (Athanasiadis, 2003. Cooper, 2001).
The linkage between alcoholism and behavioral changes would explain the wide variety of aforementioned family outcomes as the social dynamic changes. The alcoholic, if they were the traditional caretaker, is suddenly the family member requiring help. The family expert, if acting as the family alcoholic, is suddenly unable to provide the guidance or swift fix-it mentality which the family had come to previously rely on. Marital discourse would be the most obvious outcome of strained spousal relationships if one or the other is unable to receive the rewards of their partner’s job role functions in the family due to altered behaviors. .