Wednesday, June 24, 2009

For the Children Of alchoholics.

Of late, there have been around me, increasing stories of alchoholics and their marriages to ordinary, naive, stupid, smitten women who don't have an ounce of common sense. Maybe their brains cease to function and that is why they cannot see beyond these smooth talking people.

My better half pointed out to me, that generally I'm a tolerant, polite, nice person who tries her hardest to see and show the best in people, Even in people I dislike. He and I were both surprised and stunned at my vehemence regarding alchoholics and addicts. He is against them being involved with a family member too...but not as violently as I am. He asked me if they weren't human? Didn't they too deserve happiness? A family?

I was baffled at my intolerance. After many, many conversations regarding this topic it turned out there was a damn good reason for my anger at addicts.

In my psychiatry posting in college, I admitted many addicts. Not one of these came of their own accord. Not one Admitted to a problem. Half of them had undergone deaddiction programmes before and currently relapsed, half of the rest were new and the other half referred from another hospital. Ask any of them the standard question of "what seems to be the problem that brought you here?" and there was a standard reply, " Nothing. These people think I have a problem, I'm totally fine."

These people were their family. Wives, children, parents, relatives. Who had seen enough and tolerated enough and tried enough on their own. Beaten up wives and messed up children. Broken homes, broken hearts, shattered souls
An estimated 6.6 million children under the age of 18 years live in households with at least one alcoholic parent. For more alchoholism related statistics go here.

They are human beings. No doubt. But they are ill. Ill in a way that, 95% of the time, they cannot help. Literally cannot help. Addiction is a sickness. Even a drop of alchohol after a Deaddiction programme, is enough for a relapse. They cannot help it, they don't know how to stop.

And while that doesn't make Alchoholics and addicts less human, they are still adults. It is their problem. If another man/woman falls in love with them, believes their claims which range as follows :

I only drink occasionally now.
Even one peg goes straight to my head and makes me drunk.
I have strong will power.
I will stop it for you.
I have stopped because of you.
Beer doesn't do anything.
I will change after marriage.
It's only because i'm lonely.
and etc.

...if other men/women are stupid enough to believe them because they are lonely, they want to feel loved, or feel they can "save" an addict or the addict is otherwise handsome/beautiful/charming/rich/qualified/smart etc...if these people are blinded in infatuation so much so they are willing to marry these addicts and live with them thats ok too.

What is not ok then?

It's not ok, when these people, this couple, decides to have children.
They have no right...when they are so messed and unsure of their own selves...that they don't know when they will relapse next...they have no right to bring innocent children into this world.
Two adults getting married is by choice. They can undo it, get divorced if the addict turns into a beater or abuser or relapses.
But children do not get a choice. They do not get to choose the family they are born into. They have to live with the consequences, with an addict as a parent.
The world is hard enough to live in as it is. Even with normal, well balanced is a hard life. Imagine how much worse it is with one or more parent who is messed up. Who are unstable themselves. How can they provide any semblance of stability for their kids?

To read about the suffering of children of addicts and alchoholics please go here.

Children are innocent and extremely sensitive creatures. They are dependent on us, their parents. To give birth to one, to make a baby, another human an enormous responsibility. A grave responsibilty. A decision that cannot be taken in a giggly, romantic moment. Carelessly. They trust us with their lives.

How can we betray them by bringing them into this world when we are so messed up ourselves? When we cannot guarantee that we won't touch a drop of booze or snort a line of coke or shoot something up our arms.

If a woman marries someone who is an alchoholic/ex alchoholic/relapsed/addict/ex addict/someone making smooth but probably false promises/still trying to recover/ etc etc...just for her own selfish reasons, imagined love or infatuation, then they have successfully taken the first step towards being a terrible mother.

If an addict, a known addict, even an ex addict with relapses etc, agrees to father a child...he is on his way to becoming a bad father.

The children of addicts don't respect their parents. Either of them. They grow up hostile and insecure among other things. They have a high chance of drug abuse themselves, apart from depression and social issues. They have few friends or many, many friends. They spend their lives dealing with these issues. Female children often end up marrying a man in their alchoholic father's image. In India Divorce is still Taboo. SO what then? They think children will solve the problem. So they reproduce.

Read more about the whole issue

There are no guarantees in life. Normal people may become addicts after marriage.
But tell me something...
Isn't there a huge difference, between choosing to marry someone you KNOW has a problem and marrying someone whose problems you know nothing of. After marriage their issues may come as a shocker.
But to knowingly "jump into a well?"...
How can a person do that?

The adults I don't give a damn about. They deserve their fate, they made their choices. But their unborn or soon to be born kids have no say whatsoever. They wouldn't make such a lousy choice. One that will fuck up the rest of their lives.

More about alchoholic's kids here.

Addicts are experts at deception. Experts. Smooth liars. They have to be. It's upto you to be wary.

Afterword: It makes my heart and mind sick. And since I couldn't sleep thinking about this, I blogged. And cried. For all those little children. The huge gap between posts was because I couldn't bring myself to write anything else. I had to get this out. I don't mean to offend anyone. I admire the addicts who remain clean. I know the courage it takes. Not everyone can do it. Thats the trouble.

36 lost souls found themselves in my mirror....:

ruSh.Me said...

Alcoholism like other addiction, is a sure menace...

I hate to say this, but since I have started to understand things, not a single marriage ceremony in my family (both paternal and maternal) haven't gone without an issue or fight.. the sole reason.. My uncle/s and/or cousin/s would just get drunk and forget who they are.. Or why are they there for..!!

Being on the groom's side, sure helps salvage some fake pride as no one can say anything to the Baraatis.. But even on sister's wedding, when we are supposed to be the gentle and the accommodating ones, the trend still continues... The biggest problem is the same as you mentioned above; Even when I try to talk to them... "Nothing. These people think I have a problem, I'm totally fine."

It breaks my heart, watching the to-be-wed cousin, wishing those, her own blood, not spoiling her/hi big day!!

Its only for an social occasion, I just cant imagine, the family who has to confront this on daily basis... :(

Sucharita Sarkar said...

This is a very serious and sensitive issue that you have blogged about. Being a doctor, you are obviously mush more exposed to such things and the devastation they cause. I think all addicts suffer from a lack of responsibility, which is what is so debasing...and I, too, hate to hear about or see children becoming scarred because of their parent's addiction.

CoFfEe AnGeL said... : see? No one will ever admit to their problem. Occasional binge drinking is embarassing, and ruins occassions. And daily or alchoholicy drinking, ruins LIVES.

chirpy-paaro said...

I feel so proud to say that me and my husband dont drink at all. Even if it is then once in 6 months a small sip. Many a times his other friends tease him that u dont know how to live life. These are the people who are almost helpless on ever friday night. They would drink like anything and then their children see them and learn to abuse. One of his colleagues child is so disturbed..i feel pity for hi. But this person drink every friday and weekends and mother is too busy in her career. I many a times feel like saying them that they dont have right to be a parent.

Zeba Talkhani said...

Hey, Nice to read you after so long! And this post was very informative and enlightning. I have friends who have parents suffering from this problem and it is just difficult to see my friends suffer when it is no fault of theirs. But at least these kids know the reality and might never grow up like their parents. Hopefully.

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Sucharita SArkar: So u understand how sick at heart I feel. Maybe more people should blog about it. Yeah i'm more exposed....seen too many broken homes and families to believe in a reformed addict...its just too big a risk to take with your life n an unacceptable one to take with those innocent children's lives.

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Chirypy Paaro : Good for u champ...its so good.Let ppl tease...its the last thing that matters...
Ppl owe their kids. I don't get it...dont they see the misery in their eyes? the pain in their hearT?

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Zeba : I wish i could be as optimistic as u :o) But some of these kids grow up with Abuse, abandonment issues among other things. Even if these kids know the reality...they're just kids. children.getting me?

Pesto Sauce said...

It can be really tough if one parent goes actually wrongs your life instead

Aniket said...

Addiction to anything is a concern. However, I don't share the same passion as you do against them. I do go out with friends for a couple drinks once a month. But we don't whine, cry or beat anyone. We catch up with each other have a nice time and leave. No one passes out or anything.

Am not against anything that is done in limits. As long as choice remains with you.

But I do agree with all the concerns you have raised here. If its hurting your children and your family then its most certainly a time for self-realization.

Solilo said...

Binge drinking becomes addiction then addiction ruins lives.

It is sad to see so many families and lives ruined because of this addiction.

laddu said...

addiction 2 anything is bad..ppl r poor, dey dont have money to feed their family still dey ll buy drinks, smokes lose money in bets..
dese ppl ve no sense..i feel sorry 4 their family....

Sara said...

True, its sad to think that so many childhoods are tainted by alocoholism!Also choice to drink or not is a personal choice and I hate it when people continuously suggest non-drinkers to have some.
My argument is why take something that makes you forget who you are!!

Little Girl Lost said...

while my partner and i are occassional drinkers and i do not share some of the "people who drink are monsters" sentiments people have given, i copletely agree that alcoholism, like any other addiction, corrodes families and has a very negative impact on children.
but i seriously didnt like chirpy paro's holier than thou stand. there is a difference between alcoholism and drinking.

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

Firstly let me make it clear...

I'm talking about Alchoholism *THE DISEASE*

Drinking occasionally is different. Why do you think I provided all those links? For your Information!

Read, READ and UNDERSTAND what are the guidelines that DEFINE alchoholism!

Permit me to mention that my Better half and I drink occassionally too. But theres a difference between that and the disease.

Ruchika said...

We have a very nice pool of people commenting on their views about alcoholism. As a result, not much left for me to say.
I don't agree completely with the tone of the post (but you already know that) although what you have said probably does need to be said.
Usually, in our attempts to be more socially understanding of the disease, we fail to see this side and kudos to you for bringing that out.
However, remember, you and I are not acquainted with alcoholics. We're not acquainted with anyone who was an alcoholic and is reformed and now wants children. As a result, I do wish you'd keep an open mind.
I agree with you to the extent that people who can't stay clean shouldn't have children but I am also somewhere of the opinion that some people find that very responsibility of rearing a child the perfect motivation to clean up their otherwise messy existence.
What you have portrayed here, is just one facet. Let's please be open minded??

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Ruchika : I am accquainted with an alchoholic. but I don't think much of that, except to be aware of it. I used to talk like open minded and etc. but saw too many sick and broken kids and their irresponsible parents.
Ppl do clean up.
we just dont know and neither do they...that they will or can..or can maintain their sobriety. THAT is the problem. no one knows, not really and least of all the alchoholic themself...whether they can count on themselves.

Where lives of children are concerned, there is no room for risk taking. The world is bad enough. tough enough.

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

Where children are concerned, there is NO ROOM FOR AVOIDABLE MISTAKES.

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Pesto Sauce : U think its just one parent who goes wrong? I think differently. The other, saner, stabler parent has a choice too. To leave with their children for a better life for them. But more often than not, their personal feelings override and they stay in the mess of a marriage.

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Aniket : Like i said...I am only and only talking about alchoholism the sickness, not about the occassional drinks had by people who KNOW WHEN TO STOP.
Everything, even living healthily, is not so good in excssive quantities.

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Solilo : Yeah, it becomes a vicious cycle...but not everyone who drinks occasionally is a binge drinker...a few drinks sometimes dont long as one doesnt CRAVE it. among other things...

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Laddu : Ur right...the poor ones, they sometimes end up drinking poor, adulterated methanol and get poisoned. They are often cachexic and malnourished because they cant be bothered to eat...because all they want to do is drink.

Yes, these ppl have no sense. Thats wat i'm trying to say...the ones who do have sense should utilise it.

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Sara : We all haVE and need our vices...but within limits...excessive coffee will make one ill. Red bull can make u forget who u are...
i think thats the point...the reason...lifes hard, one needs something to forget...the pain. Sometimes.

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@LGL : PPL who drink are not monsters. Even alchoholics aren't monsters...theyre just v.sick. V.sick.
and ppl who just drink are not sick...probably just tired.
like i said...theres a difference...and its good u tried ot make ppl realise it.

The Write Girl said...

This is a powerful post and I understand your sentiments..its difficult to deal with these topics. I agree that children should under no circumstances be put in an abusive situation. Thanks for your thoughts on this issue and being brave enough to write about it.

Crafty Shines said...

Hey coffee!!! what a write up! kudos to u, it was so well written n researched! :) hugs!!

yeah, i dunno how women r so gullible...and then their kids suffer, it really bad to see...

"I can quit when i want" is the root of all problems i feel..i mean if one doesn't even acknowledge that they have a serious addiction at hand, the scope of change or improvement is not there :(

i loved this writeup coffee...very informative...

u busy? me no see more of u lately! hope all ok! :D

hugs! luvya!

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@The write girl : Thanks are not required... Someone has to say something.and its heartening to see so many people's views on the matter. Pls write or get ppl to read this and leave their views. I need to know that ppl are becoming aware...its time for a change right?

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Crafty shines : Thank u for lovin' it :) i was expecting u to b the first to comment! :o)
alls well
jsut v.v.busy with work stuff :o( will blog more later this week.

Imp's Mom said...

nicely written and can make out it has affected u real deep....

btw read somewhere its Doctor's day today.... Happy Doc/s Day! :-)

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Imp's Mom : Hey...thanks a lot! it is indeed doctors day :o)

Dok Saab said...

Hi Sweta!
I read your blogs regularly, and appreciate the intensity with which you feel for any cause.
This, too is one of the very emphatically written article of yours. But I disagree with your views about the alcoholics.
You have brought up two points,
-one is that an alcoholic is necesarily a bad guy, not fit to be loved (you term the love for these people infatuation )
-two you say that alcoholics are bound to be bad parents (If an addict, a known addict, even an ex addict with relapses etc, agrees to father a child...he is on his way to becoming a bad father.)

I disagree on both counts. The Journal of the American Medical Association defines alcoholism as "a primary, chronic disease characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking." You too admit alcoholism is an illness. Being a doctor yourself, how can you then hate a patient for his illness. You say "Not one of these came of their own accord." How many seriously ill patients come on their own, most are bought on strechers by their relatives, or even strangers. Then how do you espect a person who has developed addiction to a substance come of his own. You have worked in psychiatry, you know no psychiatric patient admits of being ill. Even then thier relatives bring them to you and you treat them. Then why this discrimination against alcoholics. Studies suggest that after completing an year of rehab program, a third of alcoholics remain sober, and about 40% are substantially improved but still drink heavily on occasion . With this prognosis , shouldnt be they given a chance.
About them not able to be good parents, even sober people may be bad parents. I have known sober fathers who dont even know what thier kids are upto, who there friends are, what they are doing in schools. Just because they are not alcoholic, doesnt make them good fathers.

But to knowingly "jump into a well?"...How can a person do that?
What if the girl I love turns out to be a muscular dystrophy patient. Should I leave her "not jumping into the well knowingly" or marry her and be by side throughout her illness.
An alcoholic is not a criminal, just a sick person. And if this person is trying to get out of the situation, shouldnt he be encouraged. If a woman marries someone who is an alchoholic/ex alchoholic/relapsed/addict/ex addict/someone making smooth but probably false promises/still trying to recover/ etc etc...why do you think its just for her own selfish reasons, imagined love or infatuation, cant it be selfless true love.

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Dok Saab : I don't know why u were wary of commenting...u've done a fabulousjob of it...

Sir I specifically said that alchoholics are not bad people...they're just sick and have no control over it.

Ur right in sayin that non alchoholics are also bad parents. I said that theres no room for Avoidable mistakes...

Ur also right, in saying that psych patients rarely come on their own. I'd clearly discriminated, so thats my bad.Even non psychiatric patients have often to be brought in by their relatives...

But with the 40% drinking heavily ... a chance to father kids cannot be given because theyre a poor influence and these kids eventually don't respect their fathers and later on in life they disrespect any authority.

Sir I don't hate these patients, u know me, i can't hate anyone. But I hate them, not for their illness, but for the mess they make of their kids.

Ok, muscular dystrophy one cannot help...and at least a patient of that is in their senses and not delirious or having psychoses. One must encourage them...alchoholics and addicts...

Selfless true love it maybe...but i sometimes feel its more of a saviour complex that they are after...the spouses. The chance to say "he left drinking for me."

Sir selfless true love takes years and years to develop. initially everyone tried to show the best in them...who will warn a woman/man about their dark sides? I believe true love [not dependence] develops after years of living with, talking to etc the same person,finding out their deep dark flaws and thoughts and STILL wanting to be with them. in fact u can be with someone for years and still not know them...

the trouble is not that they cant b cured...the trouble is it is too big a risk to take with ones life and with the life of unborn kids...

With all due respect sir, you have a daughter...would u even consider giving her hand in marriage to someone who is/was an alchoholic?
would u? knowing that kal ko, theres no reliability?he maybe good or maybe bad?may hit her?hit the kids? when she/they try to stop him drinking?

I know, I am being unusually vehement...I cannot understand it myself.

Charakan said...

Most alcoholics [especially the resistant varieties], I feel are mentally ill and needs psychiatric help.
Sympathy,empathy,counselling,group sessions,medicines etc will help. One of my patient, who was always in booze for more than 15 years is now a leading activist of Alcoholic Anonymous. He had took me to meetings of AA and I could understand that they are doing a wonderful work

CoFfEe AnGeL said...

@Dr.Charakan: Its good to know that...ur patient is doing well :o) one needs all the above mentioned things u've mentioned and more to recover and remain sober...the remaining part is more important. AA members never touch a drop again if they want to remain sober...

How many ppl truly know about alchoholism?
how many even know that there are 5 types??? alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon ??

pawan said...

Reminds me of my close friend here. He started drinking a few months ago, at first he told that he was just drinking for fun. HE average at one drink per two weeks. AThe intensity of the drinking parties increased and he consumed more beer. Later this year he got in vodka and he still tells that he drinks for pleasure and is not addicted. HE made all kind of promises and stuff that he would never drink again but he always got back to square now.

It is really pathetic to see a close friend getting ruined by alcohol and I surely agree with many points mentioned above!

Good one!

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