Addiction and alcoholism never affects just the addict or alcoholic. It impacts family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, communities – society as a whole. Yet the ones who are most affected are the immediate family members. It’s the parents that wait up all night in fear, hoping that their loved one will return home alive. It’s the spouses that worry about the physical, emotional and financial implications that the addiction and/or alcoholism will bring into the home, especially if there are young children involved.
As these individuals are affected by the addiction or alcoholism, they too start changing their own pattern of behavior. They may begin missing work, distancing themselves from family and not taking an interest in their children. These actions have a trickledown effect and further impact those around them. Work may suffer, family may feel hurt or abandoned and children begin acting out. As you can see, addiction is very damaging and extends far beyond the addict themselves.
How Addiction and Alcoholism Affects the Family Unit
Here are just some of the ways that addiction and alcoholism place stress on the family unit:
- Financial troubles (the addict/alcoholic is spending money uncontrollably or has lost their job)
- Stealing from family members to support the addiction or alcoholism
- Constant worry and concern
- Frequent lies; no one can trust the addict/alcoholic
- Addict/alcoholic is constantly too tired, too high or too sick to do anything
- No one can count on the addict/alcoholic to follow through
- High tension in the home from members not getting along
- Physical violence
- Neglect and abandonment
What’s interesting about the above list is that the addict or alcoholic is initially responsible for these things but the rest of the family finds themselves caught in the same behaviors, disrupting peace in the home. An addict or alcoholic may lose their job and steal from family to support their habit, but the parents may be quietly paying the bills and not have enough to fund their own expenses. Or, an addicted or alcoholic parent may neglect her child, but the other parent is so caught up his wife’s problems, he neglects his children’s needs too.
Bottom line: Addiction and alcoholism are dangerous, tumultuous and deadly cycles that affect everyone in the addict or alcoholic’s life.
Starting Over: Helping Families to Reunite
Rarely does a family come to our integrative treatment center in confidence and ease. Families tend to be in turmoil. The addict or alcoholic may not be happy about coming; the family may not trust the process. Everyone is worried about how the addict or alcoholic will handle treatment. Everyone is worried about what will happen after treatment. The worry and concern that has plagued these families over the recent months and years remains. We wish we could take this away, but we can’t.
What we can offer, however, is the support, guidance, and peace of mind that our treatment is effective and has turned many lives around. Our counselors and medical doctors do not focus solely on the physical effects of addiction. Getting our patients clean is just the first step. We offer intense therapy that includes individual, group and family counseling sessions, and we welcome encourage family participation.
Our role is to explore family relationships and help everyone in the family see how their actions are hurting each other. Counselors then work with the family to replace unhealthy behaviors with constructive, meaningful ones that will benefit the entire unit. A home that is balanced, peaceful and harmonized is conducive to recovery. A family that is unable to work through their problems fuels stress and tension, precursors to relapse.
As a family dealing with addiction or alcholism, we understand that it can feel impossible to see any way out of your current situation. The River Source works with families from all demographics and backgrounds, and we are prepared to help your family sort through their problems and rebuild key relationships. Seeking help is the single most effective thing you can to facilitate a successful, healthy recovery for your loved one.
Contact The River Source today to learn more about how we can help your family.