The Family Impacts of #Alcohol #Addiction

People drinkingWhen searching for something else, I came across a short film about alcohol addiction (see below). It serves to provide a visual representation of the struggles that many experience whilst trying to address problematic drinking and alcohol dependency.

On the same subject but unconnected to the film, I was also reminded of Amy’s story.

My sister was a 21-year-old university graduate when she first became ill. Seven years later, aged 28, Carys passed away as a result of the irreparable damage alcohol had caused to her body. (Amy’s Story)

Amy highlighted many of the often unhelpful but stereotypical assumptions and beliefs around alcohol issues. Her sister “didn’t ‘look’ like an alcoholic” – “she had a degree, she had a home and she had a loving and supportive family – she didn’t fit the bill” – many don’t!

She went on to explain the impacts of supporting a family member through alcohol addiction issues. Sadly and despite several residential detox programmes Amy concluded; her sister’s “addiction was too strong and she was not willing to engage with the treatment.” Despite a “seven-year battle” of “detox programmes and residential rehabilitation clinics” hospital visits became a family routine. “Dealing with a loved one who has an addiction is all consuming.”

Throughout some clearly difficult and emotional times, Amy’s sister became desperately ill however, she was unable to share the burden and impacts of her sister’s “illness” due to lack of understanding and social stigma.

…people were eager to judge, which only made an already difficult time harder. Even close friends failed to appreciate the severity of the situation and I felt very alone… (Amy)

ONE – short film by Luke Bradford from Frogspawn Creative Limited on Vimeo.

Amy came to accept that people often view alcohol dependency as a ‘self-inflicted’ illness but, from her experience, sees this as “drastically inaccurate.” But as she also points out… “the cause of an illness is irrelevant when considering the impact” for family members.

The family they were caring for a loved one with a “terminal illness.” The family still had to witness someone they loved deteriorating in front of their eyes… “The only difference for us was that we were going through that process without any sympathy or support.”