The effects of addiction on families are overlooked. While on the road to recovery, the focus is generally on the addict, the person working to recuperate from their toxic habits. However, families of addicts experience their share of hardships during the process. Families are heavily damaged during the addiction, but they also play an integral role during rehabilitation.
Feeding an addiction is a pricey task. Whether it is drugs or alcohol, those substances must be paid for, and one of the tolls addictions takes on families is a monetary one. Gone are the funds needed for survival, for food and shelter and other necessities, to instead be used on whatever drugs or alcohol the addict desires. This creates a stressor within the family, particularly between spouses. In some cases, addicts steal or lie to attain their vices. In other cases, the addiction causes the addict to lose their job, and as a result, the family has lost an important source of income. They must now work harder to compensate for the money spent on drugs or alcohol.
Unmistakably, addiction affects the addict, not only physically, but mentally as well (and more so). Families of addicts can also suffer psychologically. Addiction is a poisonous disease that slowly changes a person’s way of thinking, ultimately leading them to become a different person. Families must witness their loved one take on a new and destructive persona, one unlike the person they once knew. This is especially taxing on children, who must now change their perceptions of their parental figure. This can lead to trust issues amongst family members, as the addict now showcases inconsistency and unreliability.
Despite what the addict might have said or done under the influence, it is of the utmost importance for the family to be present during recovery. By being vocal and unconditionally supportive, the family provides the addict an incentive to get better. Families can express their concerns to the addict, detailing the destruction the addiction brought about. This can be a cathartic moment for both the addict and the families. Everything is out on the table. It is now time to let go and begin anew.
During a person’s addiction, families are damaged just as much as the addict. But families can also be the key to a full recovery and a new start.