According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, "Alcoholism is the consumption of or
preoccupation with alcoholic beverages to the extent that this behaviour interferes with the
alcoholic's normal, personal, family, social, or work life." Another word which is important in
understanding how relatives cope with alcoholism is "codependence."
"Codependence is loosely defined as someone who exhibits too much and often inappropriate,
caring for persons who depend on him or her" (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).
Some family members become so obsessed with their relative's addiction to alcohol they
become someone they do not like and focus all their energy in saving a loved one from
destroying themselves. The ones most affected by the alcoholic's drinking are close family
members. Alcoholics are like a tornado spinning through the lives of others, leaving a trail of
broken relationships and painful memories behind.This paper focuses on how family members of
alcoholics cope and how they can break this cycle of codependence and make it to the path of
Now given these facts there are no family members that would like to watch another relative
ruin his or her life. It is with this reason why alcoholism becomes a family disease. The ones
whom the alcoholic share a familiar relationship are the ones who are most hurt. They get caught
up in the behaviour of the other person. Zastrow & Kirst- Ashman p. 421 (2004) state; "The
abuser’s top priority is getting enough alcohol, and the family’s top priorities are the abuser, the
abuser’s behaviour, and keeping the abuser away from alcohol."There are a mixture of feelings
relatives try to hide. They react to an
Coping with Alcoholism 3
Alcoholic’s behaviour. When they see that the drinking is out of hand, they try to control it. They
are ashamed of the public confrontations but attempt to handle it with dignity. It is not long
before they are the ones to be blamed. These individuals take on the...