How Are Relationships Affected by Addiction?
Relationships are a bond that exists between two people or groups of people. We have relationships not only with family members but also friends, co-workers, or people at our church. We can have a relationship with God or a relationship with neighbors. Suffice it to say that relationships are in our lives and they serve a valuable purpose of keeping us connected socially, spiritually, and psychologically to others.
If a person has an addiction, there is no relationship that is not affected by the addict or their behavior. There are some who state that there are at least seven people affected by an addict’s behavior.
Family relationships are probably influenced the most with addiction. If an addict lives at home, then other family members that reside in the home see the addict spiral out of control. Family members can feel helpless and angry, not so much at the addict, but at the addiction. The addict might begin to borrow money or spend hours or days away from home when using. There are arguments about the dishonest behavior of the addict and there are emotional conflicts as no one seems to understand the addict. Some family members may overindulge the addict and provide them with money, which only exacerbates the addiction. There is little structure in the home and there seems to be constant chaos.
The addict may have relationships with coworkers and there might even be those who engage in the addictive behavior with the addict. Over time, supervisors or managers will begin to see changes in behavior including increased absenteeism or poor work productivity. The addict may eventually lose their job and their financial resources.
Addicts typically do not have much spirituality or their faith in God wanes, as the addiction becomes their spiritual essence. Many addicts blame God for what is happening and many will stop attending church services.
Friends are affected by addiction in that the addict would rather be with other drug users than with their friends. Obligations become non-existent and the addict withdrawals socially. Friends begin to call less and less and over time, the calls may altogether stop. Friends take on a new definition with the addict and can include a dealer or other drug associations.
Even if these relationships are harmed or compromised by an addiction, there is hope for these relationships to be renewed. Once the addict enters recovery, a large part of the recovery process will involve making amends to those the addict has harmed. Recovery can help heal the wounds and restore the relationships back to where they were before the addiction.