As a child it’s not a surprise that you didn’t understand why your parent drank. You don’t get that sort of information, often the drinker doesn’t always know either.
That doesn’t make life any easier does it? I know that you maybe someone that blames yourself for your parent(s) drinking. Maybe if you were perfect or did all the right things everything would be OK.
Well I hope for all children of alcoholics that you realise you didn’t cause your parents drinking, you couldn’t have controlled it and you certainly don’t have the power to change it.
Reasons people (not just parents) drink
Over the years my knowledge on this topic has increased, the more research and learning I do.
I volunteer at Addaction and I love running workshops for addicts. It’s not something I thought I’d ever do. The reason I mention this is because it really helped me understand what they go through.
Here are some of the examples I believe are why people drink:
- To block out their feelings in order to cope – fear, anxiety, overthinking, stress, low confidence
- So they can feel a certain way – confident, brave, self-assured, empowered
- They drink to be social
How can some people enjoy drink to be social and some can’t?
Drink is something that is experienced and enjoyed in lots of ways. so what didn’t understand about why your parent drank? Why couldn’t they just enjoy it socially like other people?
Probably because they are pre-disposed to addiction, they’ve had certain stressors in the life and so they used alcohol as a way to cope.
Some people can drink and put it down, it doesn’t control them. Some people can’t. They have little self-control and they just keep going. They start to use it as a crutch and before you know it, they’re dependant and to stop would mean they’d experience withdrawal symptoms.
Why does the drinker keep drinking, no matter the cost?
Unfortunately they can’t just stop. If they’re dependant then they are physically addicted to the drug (alcohol). This isn’t your fault and it isn’t theirs.
I know a lot of people will say, if they wanted to they could just stop. If it were only that easy. It’s my job to start educating people about it. I thought the same thing when I was younger, if Dad loved me he wouldn’t drink.
They can see the damage that it’s causing but they can’t get out of it. Their body needs it and when they’ve been drinking a lot and for a period of time, they’re sick of it too.
So the drinking continues because it has to, in order to stop the pain they’re in. Although for long term users, they experience pain most of the time, it’s no fun.
I hope this has helped in some way to explain a small amount of the complexity why someone drinks.
If you feel you need some extra support, then there are options available to you. I offer a secret Facebook group, just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here with your Facebook email address and I’ll send you an invite.
You can also view a sample of a brochure my sister and I put together to help families coping with a drinker. Get your copy here.