Updated 26 October 2015

How other people's drinking affects you

Alcoholism is a family disease. But what effect can it have on you to grow up in a household where one or more members have a drinking problem?

Alcoholism is a family disease. But what effect can it have on you to grow up in a household where one or more members have a drinking problem?

Al-Anon, a support organisation for families where drinking is a problem, have identified certain behavioural patterns in family members of alcoholics.

If you recognise yourself in some of the characteristics noted below, it may be an idea to go along to one of the Al-Anon meetings in your area to get some support and advice.

1. Do you constantly seek approval and affirmation?

2. Do you fail to recognise your accomplishments?

3. Do you fear criticism?

4. Do you overextend yourself?

5. Have you had problems with your own compulsive behaviour?

6. Do you have a need for perfection?

7. Are you uneasy when your life is going smoothly, continually anticipating problems?

8. Do you feel more alive in the midst of a crisis?

9. Do you still feel responsible for others, as you did for the problem drinker in your life?

10. Do you care for others easily, yet find it difficult to care for yourself?

11. Do you isolate yourself from other people?

12. Do you respond with fear to authority figures and angry people?

13. Do you feel that individuals and society in general are taking advantage of you?

14. Do you have trouble with intimate relationships?

15. Do you confuse pity with love, as you did with the problem drinker?

16. Do you attract and/or seek people who tend to be compulsive and abusive?

17. Do you cling to relationships because you are afraid of being alone?

18. Do you mistrust your own feelings and the feelings expressed by others?

19. Do you find it difficult to identify and express your emotions?

20. Do you think parental drinking may have affected you?

If you feel that you recognise yourself in the above, and if you answered yes to even one of these questions, it may be very useful for you to go along tone of the Al-Anon meetings in your area.

Phone 0861 25 26 66 or e-mail Al-Anon on if you are in the Cape Town area. If you cannot find the right number for your area in the directory, phone the local office of Lifeline for the correct number.


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Lifestyle »

E-cigarettes: Here are five things to know

E-cigarettes have become hugely popular in the past decade, but a rash of vaping-linked deaths and illnesses in the US is feeding caution about a product that's already banned in some places.

Allergy »

Ditch the itch: Researchers find new drug to fight hives

A new drug works by targeting an immune system antibody called immunoglobulin E, which is responsible for the allergic reaction that causes hives.