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Is Drinking Making Your Home Life Unhappy?

by | Johns Hopkins 20 Questions | 7 comments

(0.22) Needs retweaking
(0.51) A family matter
(1.29) Only the poor?
(2.19) My Story

Tweaking The Question

These questions were written in the 1930’s so I think the question: “Is drinking making your home life unhappy” is a bit tame by today’s standards.

Some of the alternative and more pertinent questions are:

  • Is your family being neglected because of your drinking?
  • Are there altercations in your home caused by your drinking?
  • Does your family feel safer when you’re not around?
  • Does your family make excuses for your drinking?
  • Are you on your own because of your drinking?

Is Drinking Making Your Home Life Unhappy?

It’s All About the Children

“In 2002, almost 5 million adults were alcohol-dependent or alcohol-abusing and had at least one child younger than age 18 living in their home…More than 60 percent (62 percent) of these alcohol-dependent or alcohol-abusing parents were fathers and 38 percent were mothers. Most (69 percent) were married.”

NSDUH report 13th February 2004…

Alcohol abuse in the home often has the greatest impact on innocent children. Many of them are not yet old enough to understand what’s going on, they don’t get that their parent is abusing a drug, they only see the consequences.

Children can miss out on school time and many other fundamental learning experiences because one of their parents is a drunk.Drinking-Making-Your-Home-Life-Unhappy

They can suffer psychological problems because of instability from drunken parents…they can be anxious about what’s going to happen next, or fearful of doing something wrong, blaming themselves for their parents behaviour…

In some cases, the children may have to take on the responsibilities of the parent when that parent is absent (physically or mentally).

Although levels of verbal violence may increase, in the form of shouting or insulting behaviour, physical abuse levels aren’t usually affected by alcohol abuse. Either a person has a violent tendency or they don’t. Alcohol does not in general cause an otherwise passive person to become violent.

It is also a fallacy that alcoholism is only a problem amongst the poorer parts of our society. The middle-classes also drink too much, have alcohol problems, and problems in the home as a result.

In his book “The Sophisticated Alcoholic”, David Allen, a British therapist, says that the middle-class Mr and Mrs Normal don’t really see themselves as having any alcohol related issues…

“But they are drinking excessive amounts of alcohol — well above the recommended limits. They drink in an organised and managed fashion. They’re not the ones who crash the car because they were drunk but they do have an alcohol problem.”

In some homes, there might be money problems and alcohol problems. These families might be doing without proper nutrition, new clothes, light and heat, etc. because the money is being spent on alcohol instead…

The Elephant in the Living Room

I was never a bad drunk, I was one of those drunks who would laugh if I was with other people and cry when I was on my own.

The elephant in my living room was the belief that there was ever going to be a normal way of drinking for me. I was raised in Ireland and England, and was surrounded by a type of alcohol culture that revelled in the getting drunk. I suppose that’s really the point, if the truth be told. Many people truly believe they’re doing it for the taste, the bouquet, the deep velvety richness, or the full bodied voluptuousness of that particular vintage… remember the ‘Emperor’s new clothes”?

When drunk, my moods would often get quite argy-bargy. I always came across as the boisterous practical joker who loved laughing at the ludicrous. The loud laughing, thigh slapping, joke telling, and raucous nature went down well with blokes, but not too good with most women. I would often have digs at my partner, that sarcastic humour didn’t really come off as particularly funny to her at all.

When I was drinking on my own, I would always begin by watching a movie. I’d soon get bored with that and stick on some iTunes. The music usually started out fairly jovial but I’d nearly always end up playing sad songs, as the mood got more and more maudlin, emotionally silly with drink…

More often than not, I wouldn’t remember having gone to bed, waking the next morning to begin nursing another day or two’s worth of hangover. Sometimes I’d be told some of the things I’d said the night before, rarely could I ever remember saying them.

Are You the Woodsman or the Big Bad Wolf?

All families have problems; they come in all shapes and sizes. But trying to run away into the bottom of an alcohol bottle is never going to provide any solutions.

Family is family, Father’s should be heroes and Mother’s the binding force that holds the family together.

A child should be able to look at their father in the role of the woodsman, the strong and valiant hero that will always save them when the big bad wolf comes to eat them. Children of alcoholics often see their father’s as the beast, or worse an incarnation of the two… a Jekyll and Hyde character, first the woodsman, then the big bad wolf with the smelly breath come to eat them.

I’ve put a couple of links to PDF’s about alcohol and the family below the post. If you have any questions or comments, you can leave them below in the text box. Or, you can use the contact form at the top of the page.

Thanks for visiting the site.

Until next time…

Onwards and Upwards

Download a copy of the transcript from the video:

Is Drinking Making Your Home Life Unhappy transcript

Further Reading:

If There’s Drinking, Drugs, or Violence at Home: What Youth Can Do….Information Sheet Download

Abuse Among Parents With Children Living in the Home


  1. Lincoln

    Drinking basically ruined my marriage due to the behavior it induced both in and out of the home. I’m finding it very hard to accept that fact but it’s true and now all I have to show for my efforts is a broken home. Honestly I don’t know how ill move on but stopping drinking seems a pretty obvious place to start.

    • Kevin O'Hara

      I wish you all the very best of luck Lincoln. It’s tough but well worth it. I only saw a bad future for myself if I’d kept on drinking.

      • Lincoln

        True Kevin. I relate to a lot in your videos and blogs. I recognized the problem years ago and stopped for 7 months. Kidded myself I could control it – amazing what bullshit you’ll make yourself believe. Anyway I’m on day 4.


      • Rochelle Laszczak

        Hello Kevin,

        Question: No matter how good or bad my life is – it seems at some point of the day – or sometimes during the day – I feel everything is dull and I need some substance to alter my mood or I just don’t enjoy what I’m doing. I probably got fucked up enough to forget how to feel high naturally like when I was younger.
        I just turned 50 on my last birthday. I’m not bragging but I look much younger than my real age. I don’t deserve to but I believe it’s because the other side of me is a health nut, always has been since my early 20’s and probably some genetics come into play there too.
        It’s my mind that’s fucked up, distorted. I’ve been to rehab 3x in my life. I’m getting worried because my boyfriend doesn’t want to see me drink beer every day after work. He works nights. I don’t blame him.
        I need help to get through my free time without drinking beer the rest of the evening while doing my evening tasks. Some NEW THOUGHTS WOULD BE NICE. Ones to jumpstart me to go 1 day and then another and then another. I’ve been drinking beer almost everyday for a little over a year now and I used to be able to wait at least till the weekend.
        He loves his beer. He waits till the weekend but I think his problem is just as bad. He’s just a weekend alcoholic and can drink a 12 pack easily in an evening.
        You probably get a lot of emails now and I don’t want to get too wordy. That’s the gist of it. Thank you for your time.

        • Kevin O'Hara

          Hey Rochelle, I don’t quite get your question. Are you asking about another substance you can take?

          • Rochelle Laszczak

            That would be nice. If it wasn’t all bad for our health.
            I came across my question by accident. No wonder you didn’t get it. I was pretty buzzed typing it and don’t remember typing it. Well, a little memory came back after I read it other wise, didn’t know I typed it.
            As far as alcohol goes, it’s “just beer” now for 4 yrs. The Vodka or any other liquor was bad news for me because up until 4 yrs. ago I was dumping barbituates on top of the Vodka and beer. The “cross addicted thing”. It caused black outs and damage to the interior of the home that I don’t remember.

            I’m sorry, just like I said in my above comment. I’m constantly trying to get new thoughts because that’s where the trouble starts. I’m on my 3rd beer now with “energy herbs” ….always trying for an up but as leased harmful as possible. It’s really just giving me a better buzz when I’m drinking and keeping me awake and escaping something (????)

            It’s funny that the British and other nationalities say, “pissed” and we are “buzzed” or ” fucked up” Anyway,
            I like your site and other ones that are inspirational, & insightful in any way but I have to go to work sometime and remember the good not poisonous thoughts. There in lies my problem.


  2. paul

    Hi Kevin. Read ur message. Paul here by the way. Not sure how bad I am.Having at least 2 litre wine every night for past 2 years In this insane/crazy world u must agree? It has knocked off loneliness at nite all these years but is now biting me on the bum affecting health and my remaining little number of friends and family. Help!


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