Is your spouse, partner, girlfriend, or boyfriend using alcohol in a way that is causing problems?
The harm experienced by the drinker due to their own drinking is only part of the story of alcohol related problems in Ireland. Alcohol’s harm to others as a result of someone else’s drinking is far reaching and can be serious.
Over one in four people (28%) in the general Irish population reported experiencing at least one or more negative consequences as a result of someone else’s drinking - family problems, passenger with a drunk driver, assault, property vandalised and money problems. While some of the alcohol’s harm to others are more visible in communities such as assaults and property damage, others are less visible and effect families resulting in financial difficulties. These can have serious and chronic consequences for the well-being of the whole family.
There is very significant harm associated with alcohol, extending far beyond that experienced by the person drinking. There is a growing recognition of alcohol related harm and how it extends from the person who is drinking to those around them - be they family member, friend, co-worker or innocent ‘bystander’.
You are not responsible for someone else’s drinking nor do you have the power to do or say something that will stop their misuse of alcohol. You do have power and control over your own life and actions that you take. Do not let someone else’s addiction consume your life and that of your families. You may be struggling with a number of painful emotions, including shame, fear, anger, and self-blame – it is important to find support for you and your family to help you cope.
In Ireland, a survey among adults on the impact of parental drinking reported that of those who had parents who drank alcohol during their childhood, almost one in ten had often felt ashamed or embarrassed by their parent’s drunken behaviour, or had often witnessed conflict between parents when they were drinking or felt afraid or unsafe as a result of their parents’ drinking (AAI, 2009).
Research completed by the HSE reported that alcohol’s harm to others in the general population was measured using five indicators; family problems, passenger with a drunk driver, physical assault, financial trouble (money problems) and property vandalised. The overall prevalence of experiencing one or more of the five negative consequences as a result of someone else’s drinking was 28%.