What Experiences are Common When Living with an Alcoholic?

Sheri Cyprus

Although each person and home situation is unique, experiences living with an alcoholic can be similar. Many people addicted to alcohol display the same behaviors although they live in different homes. Mood changes, lying about drinking, hiding alcohol and passing out from over-drinking are common experiences when living with an alcoholic.

Many alcoholics attempt to hide their drinking from loved ones.
Many alcoholics attempt to hide their drinking from loved ones.

Some alcoholics get louder the more they drink, while others don't, but both types tend to eventually pass out from consuming large amounts of alcohol. This behavior is often troublesome for people living with an alcoholic and may be dangerous for the individual with the alcohol problem. Alcoholics may hurt themselves by falling onto furniture or the floor. Alcoholic smokers who pass out with a lit cigarette could start a fire in the home.

An alcoholic who also smokes could pass out with a lit cigarette in hand, which could cause a house fire.
An alcoholic who also smokes could pass out with a lit cigarette in hand, which could cause a house fire.

Many people with alcohol problems tend to not eat properly or give up on cooking for themselves. This can place a lot of burden on those living with them. If others don't make the effort to help the alcoholic eat healthy meals, the person can become sicker and even more prone to the unhealthy effects of alcoholism.

Drinking becomes a problem as soon as it negatively affects a person's life and relationships.
Drinking becomes a problem as soon as it negatively affects a person's life and relationships.

Living with an alcoholic can make it difficult to have guests in the home, since he or she may be drunk and display embarrassing behavior. Alcohol, especially in large quantities, tends to impair inhibitions in many people. Some alcoholics get into angry rants, while others slur their words and can't engage in regular conversation. When sober, many alcoholics are reasonable, likable people, but this may change drastically when they're drinking.

Most alcoholics won't admit they have a drinking problem.
Most alcoholics won't admit they have a drinking problem.

For example, alcoholics may make rude or insulting comments when they're drinking without even seeming to consider other people's feelings. Living with an alcoholic can mean a loss of personal space and peace as he or she may think nothing of waking up people in the home with incoherent rants or ramblings. Other times, the alcoholic may just stay in bed most of the day.

Many alcoholics won't admit they have a serious drinking problem. Living with this kind of alcoholic can be especially challenging; he or she may hide bottles of liquor around the home and/or carry small containers of alcohol everywhere. Planning to attend events or appointments with an alcoholic can be frustrating and unpredictable as he or she may be passed out in bed and not want to, or be unable to, go out. Living with an alcoholic may seem like looking after a small child at times, as the individual with a serious drinking problem may not even do his or her laundry, or other basic everyday tasks.

Most alcoholics tend to pass out from consuming large amounts of alcohol.
Most alcoholics tend to pass out from consuming large amounts of alcohol.

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Discussion Comments

Reminiscence

@Ruggercat68, that's a rough story to hear. I'm sorry you had to go through all that as a child. My dad was an alcoholic, and we walked around on eggshells because we never knew what would set him off. If he was drinking beer, he would usually be sociable to us. If he started drinking whiskey, however, he became moody and mean. He'd also try to drive somewhere to get more alcohol, and we couldn't convince him to stay home.

I couldn't invite most of my friends to my house on weekends, but a few friends from church did come over when I knew he was sober. I think they knew something was wrong with him, but he was really good at hiding his habit whenever we had visitors.

Ruggercat68

My grandmother was a serious alcoholic, and whenever we stayed at her house we had to learn how to handle her. First of all, she rarely got up before noon, and she would still be groggy most of the afternoon. We didn't know what kind of mood she would be in from day to day. One day she could be very friendly and connected, then the next day she would be angry and withdrawn. We tried not to do anything that would upset her.

She would order cases of beer from a local beer warehouse and start drinking heavily on Friday night. She and her friends would play card games all night, and inevitably a loud argument would start. We could never really sleep while those card games were going on. She was a completely different person during that time, and not somebody I really wanted to know. Living with an alcoholic can really take an emotional toll on the rest of the family.

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