The damage of alcohol


Sahira Carino (created with Canva)

This image represents memories of me hiding my father’s drinks from him thinking it would stop him, but he always found one.

Alcohol has many ways of being intertwined with our life. It can come from parents, siblings, outside family, friends, and many more. It finds a way into our life whether we are the ones touching the bottle or not; we are impacted by it. 

Alcoholism has been titled “A Family Disease” by the mental health world. It’s not exactly the ingredients or the substance itself that does the harm but the actions that follow up from abusing it. The consumer isn’t the only one who becomes affected by the liquid but also those they surround themselves with can begin to have effects. The actions of those who consume the liquid can start to be picked up and shown in the surrounding people. The lifestyle, behaviors, and attitudes of their loved ones can begin to be changed forever. 

Being a child and living or simply constantly being surrounded by someone with AUD (alcohol use disorder) can cause an enormous impact on the development of the child. They start to look at everything differently. They look at themselves in a different light. They begin to believe that the relationships present in their life represent the ideal image of love whether it be good or bad. They begin to have difficult and conflicted emotions and feelings. 

According to Eleanor Health’s article, “Alcoholism: A Family Disease,” it states that there are many effects that can occur: “Guilt, depression, anxiety, anger, shame, distrust, confusion, and many more.” These feelings are all kept within the person however, there are more characteristics that begin to develop and are shown more on the outside and to others around them such as, having difficulty at school, isolation, impulsive behavior, fear of abandonment, and many more. 

My Experience

Alcohol has always been a continuous presence in my family. Throughout my life many people, specifically the men in my family have had a strong addiction to alcohol. The closest however, is my father. Wherever he was, a beer was always in his hand. Many times we justified his actions and addiction to alcohol because he works and provides for me and my family but I do believe that sometimes it’s okay to ask for more. I think it is very difficult to complain about his actions simply because he stayed and was present for my life but so was the alcohol he always chose to bring along. 

I hold many valuable and memorable stories with him but sadly most of the memories are him with alcohol. As much as I wish the happy memories would wash over the difficult ones, it is those that stay with me the longest and have an overall effect on my life. I was eight and hiding beers from my dad at parties. I was so used to hearing the continuous phrase, “Nomas esta,” or “Estas la ultima,” (this is the last one) and knowing that it translated to we are staying for a lot longer and I would end up sleeping on foldable chairs. I am used to the disgusting stench and reek of alcohol. These are sadly the ideas and stories that stick into my memories. Many times my family always says these are the memories you chose to hold onto but how can I not? It’s the ones that are repetitive, the stronger ones that are impossible to ignore. 

Others’ experiences

Discussing this topic and sharing it online can be very difficult and I was thankful to have found two strong people who were willing to share their stories to a stranger. However, both were asked to be kept anonymous and I think the reason why matters. 

An anonymous student shared that she just personally wanted to share her experience and wanted to let others know that she too struggled with this challenge in her life and continues to do so but that she also felt scared for reactions. 

“I do want to bring attention to alcoholism and share my story just to encourage them to speak up and share theirs too but I think this is something that I want to keep private. Also it’s not easy to share stories like these; there’s always just fear that comes with it and the paranoia.” 

The second anonymous student mentioned how she was ashamed of the constant connection she has with alcohol. That it’s a part of her. 

“I think that I’m just ashamed that alcohol is always connected with me. I don’t want to look like I am trying to drag on what alcohol has done to me so in some ways I am ashamed of my dad always drinking and I am always surrounded by it. 

The first student shared a little about their family’s history with alcohol.

“I don’t really know much about my grandpa but I do know that he passed away because of his problem and addiction to alcohol. My dad would always drink, he liked to say that he wanted to have a couple beers to celebrate the time we spent together. After the situation of my grandpa happened he started to abuse it and drink a lot more and the process of the divorce didn’t help.”

When asked how this person personally felt that they were affected by this situation, they shared the struggles they go through. 

“While my dad was trying to get back on his feet after his fall he attended meetings for support. I don’t know if he did it because the court made him but I like to think it was for himself. My dad did have to lose a lot of time with us. I have been in therapy for a while now and over 70% of our time we talk about him which I think helps. But I don’t think I will ever get close to alcohol, I don’t want anything to do with it. Seeing what it did to my dad didn’t really help with alcohol I just think that if your a grown man you should know your limits.”

The second student shared about their issues with alcohol. 

“My dad always drank every single night and sometimes even during the day. He is the type to come from work and drink and go to sleep. I just remember him always being with alcohol.”

When asked how they felt about alcohol they shared that it isn’t something to take lightly. 

“I think I don’t like alcohol at all. I don’t like the idea of it or the smell. I don’t see why people my age find it so interesting to drink. I don’t think it’s cool or that it’s needed. When I see people post themselves drinking and think of it as fun I just think that they don’t truly understand how hard it is to be surrounded by alcohol or truly drink it to an excess.”

These are just two of many situations that occur around children everyday. It is sad but also something that constantly happens. 

How to cope and resources to get help

It can be difficult to cope with the idea that the adult in your life may struggle with alcohol. Most of the immediate thoughts of the children lead to questioning what they did wrong or how they were part of this issue. It’s important to understand that there is no fault on their part and that they shouldn’t feel the pressure that they have to fix the issue on their own. There are many sources and groups that offer their services to help the person with alcohol issues and those around them slowly recover from the experience. 

Here are just a few of the sources focused on helping adults and families. 

Al-Anon Family Groups focuses on helping those who feel that their family may be struggling with alcohol and offers all kinds of aid and support to not only adults but teens also. 

Adult Children of Alcoholics & Dysfunctional Families is an organization founded and maintained by people who have been through similar situations and understand the difficulties that come from this. They also offer more knowledge through books and terms to describe the variety of feelings, emotions, and situations that the person may be going through. 


The first student shared some ending thoughts.

“It does take a lot of courage and strength to speak up about your situation and find help but just know that you do have a voice and it does matter. Your life and safety is the number one priority and if you’re putting others before yourself it should be something that you should change. I did that. I placed my dad before me and now I still struggle with the outcome of it but it’s something I am hoping to work on.”

The second student left us with these words.

“It will be difficult to get out of such a complicated situation but just know you don’t have to stay or have to carry all these problems with you.”

I found it very difficult to write this article mainly because I was unsure of what I wanted to share or even write. I am writing this in hopes that it can help someone who is struggling with a similar situation at home who will read this and can relate to these stories shared and maybe feel a little less alone.