Parental Drug and Alcohol Problems

Tension at home

Question Why is there so much fighting at home?


Family life can be difficult and challenging at the best of times. All families argue and disagree. In families where there is harmful alcohol and drug use, there is often an increase in arguments.

Alcohol and drug problems will cause a lot of tension and stress in the home as parents can spend a lot of time in a cycle of conflict.

They may fight about how much money is being spent on alcohol or drugs or they may be fighting about who does all the work in the home.

No matter what the fighting is about, it is not a nice place to be and may make home life unhappy for you. Children and young people often find the constant fighting and disputes much more upsetting than the drug and alcohol use. Even when the fighting is not happening, you may find yourself waiting for things to explode.

It is important to realise the fighting is not your fault and not to get involved in it. You could find yourself in a situation where one parent tries to draw you in or ask you to take sides in an argument. It is safest to say you don't want to get involved and then leave the room.


Question Are the drugs and alcohol to blame for the fighting?

AnswerSometimes people blame alcohol and drugs for their behaviour, even when they have physically hurt someone.

It is never ok to hit or harm someone else and alcohol and drugs are not an excuse for this kind of behaviour.

If you or someone else in your family is being hurt in this way it is very important to get help.

Check out the section on Domestic Abuse on this website, it may be of help to you.

If you or someone in your family is being hurt by fighting at home you must get help by talking to someone you can trust.

Question My Dad is in good form and really nice to me one day but the next day he changes and can be really mean to me. He doesn’t seem to remember what has happened when he is drinking.

AnswerPeople behave very differently when under the influence of too much alcohol and the same goes for drugs. This can be very confusing for those around them. It is not fair or ok that you have to feel so mixed up and confused.

Often a parent who is drunk will say or do things which they would never do when they are sober. In fact they would be really ashamed of this behaviour and know it is not the right way to behave. But, sadly, problem drug or alcohol use often means that the person does not take responsibility for their actions or behaviour.

Sometimes they really cannot remember what has happened. This is called having a blackout.

It is not easy to trust when people act differently when they are drunk or high than they do when they are sober, but you must remember that when drug and alcohol misuse is involved, it changes everything.

Knowing that drug or alcohol use is causing this behaviour does not make it ok, but it will help you to see that it is not your fault and that your Dad is the one who needs to change things.


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