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Addiction and the Family

Drug and alcohol addiction becomes a family problem, and everyone in the immediate or even extended family can be affected by one member’s addiction.  Any type of addiction cannot be hidden away and it will eventually affect every part of the family dynamic.  Without treatment, drug or alcohol addiction becomes worse, and the effects on the family become worse.  If the addict is a parent, then the children are suffering from it.  It becomes difficult to meet their daily needs for food, shelter, and essentially raising children properly.  Children with drug or alcohol addicted parents tend to withdraw, lash out, and can even become addicts themselves.  The earlier that a child starts drinking or doing drugs the more likely they are to develop a drug or alcohol addiction.

 

When a couple is struggling with addiction, whether it is one partner or both partners, they go through various stages.  For example, there is a denial that there is a problem, the husband or wife may cover up for the other or lie to the rest of the family, and enable their behavior.  These types of situations lead to massive family dysfunction and threaten to create lifelong problems for children who are caught in the middle of it.  Addiction impacting the family dynamic will begin to destroy the family finances, and some families lose their homes, go bankrupt, and face serious economic consequences.  If the addict is the only one bringing in any type of income, this will result in a difficult financial situation considering their money is being spent on their addiction.

How are families helped during the intervention process?

 

A professional interventionist will essentially act as a family counselor and will help the family understand the consequences of their actions, and how the addiction has impacted them.  When the intervention is complete, and the addict says yes to treatment, it is always recommended that the family seek out some type of counseling.  Despite family education and help during the intervention preparation, therapy is needed to help the family work on its own underlying issues.  The family also needs to recognize that they must continue to improve their family dynamic, and not fall back into old patterns and routines.

 

Intervention groups often have extensive resources they can offer the family help to address these issues.  Whether this is helping them locate a family counselor or providing them with more reading material, there are always solutions to resolve family conflict because of addiction.  During the intervention, the people involved must remain strong and determined to help their loved one.  However, when all the dust has settled the emotions begin to flow and now it is the family who requires the help to move forward.

 

How does addiction directly affect the family dynamic?

 

One of the biggest fallouts from drug and alcohol abuse is addicts separating themselves from family and friends.  They start to lose interest in their family life and the withdrawal from the family can be painful, and hurtful things can be said.  Drug addiction brings about a host of negative mindsets and emotions as a result of the individual’s substance abuse.  The family may start to blame themselves, which begins to erode their own self-worth and self-love.  An addiction fosters mistrust, dishonesty, and creates turmoil because of no one telling the truth and everyone being lied to.  Some family members may start to feel anxious or even depressed because of what is happening.

 

When the addiction takes a turn for the worse, there is often a caretaker within the family that tends to emerge and look after the addict, essentially enabling them.  This can become a great burden for the person caring for the addict and the rest of the family.  The presence of addiction changes the family dynamic and begins to create negative roles.  Someone within the family will start to enable the addict, and make it easier for them to continue abusing drugs and alcohol.  This person who is enabling may also become withdrawn from their family and friends because they know what they are doing is wrong.  One of the most stressful problems will be financial instability.  Some families would have spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to fix the problem, and have eventually lost everything.  The family may start to live paycheck to paycheck, and arguments start among family members because of the financial problems.

 

Other issues such as abuse can emerge, whether physical or emotional and children are exposed to this lifestyle and grow up watching a parent addicted to drugs or alcohol.  This is a never-ending cycle of pain, remorse, guilt, and tragedy if the person addicted to drugs or alcohol does not get help.  Newman Interventions has helped countless families perform successful interventions.  A properly done intervention will save the life of the addict and help the family regain control, allowing them to move forward with their own healing.

 

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