The Addicted Family
Most of us belong to a group of people referred to as our family. We may define the participants of this family in different ways but the term family represents those that are closest to us emotionally and spiritually. An addict’s family is no different than a non-addict’s family. Each has their ups and downs, issues that need resolving, and conflicts that arise. An addict’s family does have a unique position though and that is living with an addict.
An addict’s family in a sense also has an addiction. There is no one single person in a family that is not affected by the addict’s negative and self-defeating behaviors. An addict lives and breathes their addiction. Family responsibilities are neglected, the addict might leave for days at a time, and the addict is at risk for medical and psychological problems. Addicts have difficulty paying bills, maintaining a residence, and keeping jobs and they often turn to family members for help.
From the family member’s perspective, it is heartbreaking to watch loved ones self-destruct with drugs and alcohol knowing there is little that they can do. The addicted family feels powerless to help and often experiences deep sadness and levels of frustration. Many believe that the addicted family simply needs to toughen up and play hardball with the addict. The family members should stop enabling the behavior by giving them a place to live and money in which to buy more drugs and alcohol.
The family of an addict does have choices. They can choose to stand by their addicted loved one or abandon them, leaving the addict to fend for themselves. Research suggests that family members who support the addict increase the likelihood that the addict will get help and journey toward a path of recovery.
During recovery, family support is encouraged through participation in family therapy sessions and through attendance at 12-step meetings. The addict must feel supported by family members in order to find the strength to move forward. The addiction is also the family’s addiction so it is important for family members to find a way to not only support the addict but to also support themselves through a program of recovery. Addiction is a family problem; however, recovery is also a family effort.
An integrative approach to treatment is necessary for healing the mind, the body, and the spirit from the effects of addiction, trauma, and mental health. Cottonwood Tucson offers critically acclaimed clinical care for men, women, and adolescents. Call us today for information on our internationally recognized programs. (800) 877-4520.