Addiction is considered a family disease because it is a disease that affects everyone close to a loved one who is addicted. While one may believe that their addiction is theirs and theirs alone, many times the relationships with family members and loved ones take the largest impact. Addiction creates a numbing effect on someone’s life. Drugs and alcohol are desensitizing analgesics, numbing them from reality. Family members, who are not under the influence of substances, are not numb. They are forced to watch helplessly as their loved one struggles with addiction. Family members want to help, but every time they mention their concern an argument breaks out. Consumed by addiction, the majority of an addict’s prioritization goes to staying intoxicated. Lies and disappointment begin to seem more common than laughter and love. While no family member is immune to the struggles of an addiction, how the dynamic is changed depends on the relationship.
Watching a child struggle with addiction can be one of the hardest things parents will face. The secrecy and lies place a strain on the relationship that sometimes never heal. Parents find themselves in a position where they want to help but have no clue how to begin. They may even begin to blame themselves and question if they did something wrong, constantly wondering what they could have done differently. Many treatment facilities offer family therapy and programs that can be helpful in rebuilding the relationships damaged by addiction.
Addiction can hit the spousal relationship especially hard. Trust may become limited in the relationship and spouses could find themselves in the role of an enabler. Not wanting to upset their addicted spouse, they say nothing even though they see the harm their loved one is causing to themselves and the marriage. They may find themselves lying to their children and other family members in order to keep the addiction a secret and maintain as much stability as possible in the home.
The changes in the dynamic of a parent-child relationship are by far the saddest to witness. If the child is young they may not understand what the problem is. Children know there is something wrong with their mommy or daddy. They may wonder why mommy never wants to play or why daddy is sleeping in the front yard instead of inside for his birthday. As they get older the children find themselves having to take care of their parents and becoming the adult in the relationship. By being forced to become the adult, children are robbed of precious childhood moments that they can never get back. Children with addicted parents are also at a higher risk of developing anxiety, depression, or an addiction themselves.
The Springboard Center knows that treatment for addiction and alcoholism is important to you. That is why we are committed to providing you the best proven practices for treatment so you can live a full life of recovery. Call us today for information on our residential treatment program and sober living: (432) 620-0255