In addition, the public is finally learning how dangerous heavy drinking is, how many teenagers are alcoholics and, simultaneously, putting behind the notion that alcoholism amounts to just odd and strange behavior. Since 1935 the members of Alcoholics Anonymous have been telling society about the seriousness of alcoholism; Al-Anon has made public the news that relatives and friends of drinkers can suffer along with the alcoholic and The Children of Alcoholics (COA) have brought new insight into its effects on the more than twenty-eight million Americans who have seen at least one parent succumb to the disease (Leershsen, 1988, p. 62).
When an individual becomes dependent on drugs, his/her actions or defenses are troublesome because they invade the autonomy of others, merging boundaries just like infants merge boundaries with their mothers (Maxwell, 1986, p. 70). People with drug problems do not live in isolation. Their lives are intertwined with those of others, all of whom - friends, family members, coworkers, fellow students - are seriously affected by the problems that accompany the addiction. Drug and alcohol abuse disrupts family life and alienates close friends and relatives. It can sneak in and tear the family apart. And, as is usually the case with drugs, it goes out of control before you can do anything about it (Polson, 1984, p. 5).
Drug addiction and alcoholism each carries with them