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Workaholics

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Autor:  tomy  18 November 2009
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Live for the Moments and Take Control
Millions of people suffer from life-changing addictions such as alcohol and work. These people are normally called "alcoholics" and "workaholics". Workaholics and alcoholics have few differences, but are similar in many ways. In Scott Russell Sander's essay, "Under the Influence", he shows how children of alcoholic parents suffer from self-blame and how such blame can affect them for the rest of their life. Sanders illustrates the troubles he experienced as a young boy due to his fathers drinking problem. Scott blamed himself for his father's addiction to alcohol. Whenever Scott became older, he then dealt with an addiction to work, as his father had to drinking. He states, "Work has become an addition for me, as drink was an addiction for my father" (150). Workaholics and alcoholics can both result in the disappointment of a loved one, lost relationships with children, and divorce. In comparison, workaholics are just as sick as alcoholics, each involving some of the same characteristics and differences.
Workaholics and alcoholics can result in having troubles with a loved one. Such people, who are obsessed with working and drinking, usually are depressed and lonely individuals. Alcoholics and workaholics can disrupt family life and cause harmful effects that can last a lifetime. This can be true for families of workaholics also. Each member of the family may be affected by alcohol and work differently.
Alcoholism and workaholism can also have severe effects on normal children of alcoholics and workaholics. Many of these children have guilt, low self-esteem, and depression. Guilt is a big role in children of alcoholics and workaholics. Children believe that they are responsible for their parent's wrong doings. Sanders states, "I tell myself he drinks to ease an ache that gnaws at his belly, an ache I must have caused by disappointing him somehow, a murderous ache I should be able to relieve by doing all my chores, earning A's in school, winning baseball games, fixing the broken washer and the busted pipes, bringing money to fill his empty wallet" (141). Children of alcoholics and workaholics feel guilty for their failure to save their parents from the effects of alcohol. Children that have parents that are alcoholics and workaholics could also develop problems at school. Children who also live with these such people are more likely to have behavioral problems themselves, such as lying and stealing. These children live in extremely unstable home environments. Children never know what to expect from an alcoholic or a workaholic parent. Because they are unable to predict their parent's mood, they don't know how to behave themselves. Such children are missing valuable time with their parent who is locked behind a computer or drinking a "cold one". Therefore, relationships with children are usually lost.
Alcoholism and workaholism also have negative effects on the spouse of an alcoholic or workaholic. Addiction to work and alcohol can cause suffering in a marriage. A vast majority of spouses are unhappy living with workaholics and alcoholics. The spouse may have feelings of hatred and self-pity. Very often the spouse has to perform the roles of both parents. Members of alcoholic's families very often become codependent. Family responsibilities shift from two parents to one parent. As a result, the non-alcoholic and non-workaholic parent may be inconsistent, demanding, and often neglect the children. Alcoholics and workaholics tend to replace their life with work and alcohol which leads to neglecting their children and spouses. While a workaholic or alcoholic is experiencing a high, spouses may be threatening divorce. Alcoholism and workaholism are two of the major reasons for divorce.
Alcoholics and workaholics are similar in many ways, but are little different between the two. They both disappoint loved ones, children, and spouses. Work and alcohol becomes a shield from negative emotions that an alcoholic or workaholic feels. Both are addictions that are believed to be a disease, such as obsessive compulsive disorder. Sooner or later, the addictions will destroy the person within, like alcohol destroys an alcoholic over time. A work addict can use work much like an alcoholic uses liquor to self-medicate, manage control and avoid feelings. Denial is an essential problem for alcoholics and workaholics. Such people deny ever doing anything wrong. An alcoholic can be sneaky by hiding liquor bottles, as a workaholic is sneaky by working late at night while everyone else is sleeping. A workaholic gets high off the adrenaline from doing three or four things at one time, they will go through withdrawal as they come off their work, even crash and sleep in their clothes like an alcoholic coming off a drunk. They will find themselves asking a question three times, getting in the car and forgetting where they are going, being absent-minded. When you look at the trajectory, workaholism follows a similar path as alcoholism. Both alcoholics and workaholics have a way to run away when times get tough, either through the bottle or to the job. The difference between alcoholics and workaholics is the meaning of each. Alcoholic is someone who is addicted to drinking and workaholics is someone who is addicted to working. Although, alcoholics usually have a harder time paying bills and keeping money because they spend most of their money by buying liquor or beer, while workaholics usually have a great deal of money.
Workaholism, like alcoholism, can have a detrimental effect on the spouse and children of the workaholic or alcoholic. Alcohol and overworking affects each member of the family, from the unborn child to the alcoholic's spouse. Workaholics should be treated just like an alcoholic is treated. There are barely any differences between the two, but there are many similarities. Even if the alcoholic or workaholic eventually improves, the family members who were so greatly affected may not themselves ever recover from the problems inflicted upon them. Alcoholics and workaholics are a bit like riders on a high speed carnival ride. They may be feeling nauseous, but they are not quite ready to call it quits.

Works Cited
Sanders, Russell Scott. Under the Influence. The Norton Reader. New York: London, 2004

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