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Family Disease of Alcoholism

"Family Disease of Alcoholism, Irrational GUILT! "
copyright 2011, all rights reserved

by Toby Rice Drews
author of the "Getting Them Sober" books

One of the worst manifestations of the family disease of alcoholism is the irrational guilt that families have when they are angry at the alcoholic when he/she is acting out.

It goes like this------

a. the alcoholic "does it again"

b. the family member gets enraged (years of this junk of course produces more than just annoyance)

c. when the anger dies down (and it usually will, after the alcoholic acts nice again, for awhile), the family member starts to (at least, unconsciously) feel bad for "being mean to the alcoholic" when he/she acted out a short while ago (all remembrance of this happening so many, many times before goes out the window-----the guilt sets in as if the family member got so angry "just because the alcoholic was nasty for awhile"........i.e., the family member makes "molehills out of mountains")

d. because of this minimizing the effects of chronic emotional (and often, physical) abuse, the guilt of the family member increases

e. the family member tries to "make up for his/her anger" by rescuing the alcoholic once again------ or by going out of her/his way to make the alcoholic happy

f.The alcoholic sees us as crawling to him/her when we go out of our way to make them like us....... and we feel demeaned by our begging because we are so scared of losing them or losing their love that we cannot stop ourselves from doing this--------------plus, then, the alcoholic often gets contemptuous towards us for this behavior of ours-----even though we are trying to make him feel good. He has no compassion for us, and we often forget to have compassion for ourselves.

g. the family member sees the contempt and gets angry all over again ("after all I've done for you" and you junk on me again!)

h. the irrational guilt sets in all over again


1. as Father Martin said in an early pamphlet of his ----- "the family often feels guilt for being angry at the alcoholic...... if there is any "sin", it is for babying the alcoholic, not for any anger toward the alcoholic"

2. Here are a few short excerpts on this subject from the book, "Getting Them Sober, volume 2"----- "....... often, when things are awful, your expectation of yourself is that you be able to get out of the marriage, immediately get well from all that you've been through, find somebody who is terrific, and live happily ever after....... all within a few months.

"But there are ways to emotionally detach from painful situations that one cannot, yet, physically leave (if you want to leave, that is), and one of these is to see your situation as a "training ground" to get well and out from under the abuse.

"You will grow to see that you are making the alcoholic the alcoholic too important------and making yourself too un-important!

"Actually, what you have internalized (and what the alcoholic has you convinced of) is that you are so weak around him------------- but alcoholics don't marry weak people! You're NOT as dependent on the situation as you think you are!

"That's just one of the illusions of alcoholism."

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