Public and Mental Health: Alcohol and the Family

The ideal of successful achievement as alleged by worldview says, that if a person has an education then he is worthy and acceptable. Moreover, people would say of  the man or woman who graduated from high school, or who has earned a degree are successful. Joe is a man who lives on the street, and one would wonder how it is that he came to be in that place.

The eyes of society would gather that he is good-for-nothing, lazy, or the scum of the earth. However, they would be surprised to know that Joe was reared by a Christian family, and went to one of the finest private learning institutions in the city. When he graduated high school he attended a prominent college to earn a Degree in Business, and from there went on to work making good money with a reputable company. His future was bright, or so it seemed, because for most he had everything he needed. As society dictates he got married, bought a house and had children. Hence, Joe was living the American Dream. Sadly, life as he once knew it ended years ago, because when I first saw Joe he was one of the people who stand outside the corner store asking for money.

His downfall began; I was told when he started going to happy hour after work with friends. First it was a few drinks to relieve the stress of the day, and then came a day when anything was a reason to drink. Fifteen years have passed and Joe has no job, no wife or family and no hope. Why? Well, Joe is now an alcoholic; however, he is not alone. Many people suffer from the disease of Alcoholism for which the world knows no cure, except when they find a Power Greater than themselves. (as cited by Griffin, 2011)

There are many people like Joe who frequent the streets of America in the throes of Alcoholism. “The drug alcohol is the leader of all drugs found in the United States.” (Mogul, 2012)  The numbers of those who partake of the most coveted of beverages reaches 12 million. Accordingly, there are “three-fourths of all adults who drink which is an average 6 percent of Americans who go on to become fully fledged alcoholics.” (Mogul, 2012) This information is troubling, because to see Joe who looks almost skeletal in appearance one has to wonder where America went wrong. Joe is not the only person who has become a statistic; further estimates show that the youth are at risk which says that those ages 12-20 are binge drinkers. (Mogul, 2012). This assumption adds up considering that Joe was just a little over that age when he graduated college. “Three-fourths of high school seniors report that they have been drunk at least once” which is astounding. (Mogul, 2012)

I was curious about the man I saw there, because contrary to how he looked he had a dash of sophistication about him. It was the way he held his hand to say thank you, and the slight tilt of his head as smiled that drew my attention. I asked around for anyone who knew his plight not wanting to seem disrespectful. Who would believe that this scraggly bearded man with the ragged clothes hanging around corner store asking for coins was once a successful gentlemen, husband and father?  Statistical data is of particular interest here, because it denotes that people with higher education are more likely to drink, and those who have higher income tend to be most affected. Figures show those 5-10 % males, and 3-6% females may be considered alcoholic, according to the National Institutes of Health (as cited by MNT, 2009).

What happened to Joe’s family? Once he started drinking which began as early as 9 a.m. there was no turning back for Joe. He would hide bottles everywhere in the house so that no one would find all them. Thus, when his family thought they had a reign on the illness it seems that the illness got an reign over them once again; Alcoholism is a family disease, and has claimed about seventy more than 70 million Americans. Accordingly,  sources say that the alcoholic family tends to step into roles where the family conveys “the perfect family” to the outside world.

Generally, each member of the family plays a part as in a theater act:

  • “The Caretaker. Usually a parent, this person tends to everyone’s needs in order to maintain appropriate appearances to the outside world.  This person tends to ignore his or her own needs and others cannot bond to the caretaker in the midst of constant bustles of activity.”
  • The Hero.  This role is usually bestowed to the child who excels in academics, arts or athletics.  The hero raises the esteem of the family to compensate for the alcoholic’s behavior.”
  • The Scapegoat.  “The scapegoat is blamed for the family’s problems, deflecting the spotlight from the real problem – the alcoholic.”
  • The Mascot.  This child is the class clown and the most popular member of the family.  His or her role is to provide laughter to a humorless state of affairs.
  • The Lost Child.  “This child disappears from family activities, spending a lot of time watching television or alone in his or her bedroom.  His or her purpose is to be low maintenance and not place any demands on an already taxed family system.”  No role is entirely owned by any particular member of the family. Unfortunately, Joe has not seen his family for years.

Is there help available for the Alcoholic who suffers?

According to Alcoholics Anonymous, the disease is a spiritual one, and is coined by professionals as a “Spiritual Disease.” The authors denotes that the disease characterizes the loss of self with the victim “wasting away, physically, and isolation.”  Help for the Alcoholic is seen in self-help groups, and church where the focus is taken away for self and placed in a Power Greater. The need for a humbled spirit of surrender is foremost for those successful. Hence, finding hope, finding oneself can be seen in giving back, and paying forward to mend shattered and broken relationships.”

There is hope for Joe and others if they believe.

Read: Yo Scapegoat Ain’t Me

Watch: There is hope & life after Alcohol Addiction & Drug Addiction.


What is an Alcoholic? What is Alcoholism? What is Alcohol Abuse (2009).   

Alcoholism and Drug Addiction a Spirtual Disease. 

Is Alcoholism and Drug Addiction a Spiritual Disease? 

Is Alcoholism Hereditary? 

Learn-About- Alcoholism. 

Alcoholism in the Family.

Signs of Alcoholism. 

One thought on “Public and Mental Health: Alcohol and the Family

  1. Pingback: Is YOUR child born an Alcoholic? | Torchlight Conceptions

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