Addiction isn’t just an individual problem. How addiction affects families is far-reaching and profound. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) found that the majority of all violence against a spouse or partner involved substance abuse. However, addiction doesn’t just include things like drugs and alcohol. Excessive gambling, porn, video games, and social media are all forms of addiction that tear families apart. Taking a closer look at the impact may be the wake-up call you need to make a change in your life.
At Recovery Ranch TN, we know how addiction impacts families. Our family programs help you and your loved ones understand addiction, develop healthy communication skills, and set boundaries. If you’re struggling with addiction, we can help. Call 1.844.876.7680 to learn more about our drug and alcohol detox center and other treatment options.
Blame-Shifting and Turning Others into Caretakers
Often when a loved one is addicted, family and friends blame themselves rather than holding the individual accountable. For example, a parent may tell themselves they should have done more. Alternatively, a spouse may feel if they could do things right, their loved one wouldn’t need to use drugs. The person with the addiction may reinforce these beliefs by using them to get back at those they love. So all the blaming keeps families from addressing the real issue, addiction. The truth is addiction is a mental health disorder, and it is treatable.
When someone uses drugs or alcohol, all too often, the individual gives up their ability to care for themselves. They may try to drive while under the influence. They may spend endless hours playing video games instead of getting a job. This action may force small children to take on the role of parents. At the same time, a family member may feel they must care for the individual financially. Addiction affects families and creates unhealthy family dynamics. They love you, but it’s destroying their health, life, and happiness.
How Addiction Affects Families and Creates a Cycle of Abuse
When someone in the home has an addiction, they often develop abusive behavior stemming from:
Ultimately, these extreme feelings come out in hurtful words and actions. The result is lasting damage. The person may thoroughly regret it afterward and swear that it will never happen again. However, this promise does even more damage when they cannot keep them.
How addiction affects families runs through every aspect of life.
Surveys suggest that a loved one’s addiction can cause their families financial hardships. Many family members feel obligated to lend money they don’t have, especially if the addicted person has children who will be harmed as well. A life partner and children may not know if the water or electricity will be shut off. They face an unpredictable future.
Passing It to the Next Generation
Studies show that children of people who abuse substances are more likely to abuse them in the future. Many of these situations result from the environment in which the child was raised, not genetics or other factors. When looking at that environment, they found one over-arching characteristic in the child’s environment. That characteristic was unpredictability.
Children in homes with one or both parents abusing alcohol often face very unpredictable lives. They may not know if their mother will be home for their birthday. They don’t know if their father is going to forget to pick them up after school again. Will their parent be embarrassingly drunk when they invite friends over?
They may be left to fend for themselves when it comes to preparing dinner or even having food to eat. Moving from home to home may be the norm. Children may live in fear of physical, emotional, or sexual violence from the same parent who, at other times, shows healthy affection. However, it doesn’t matter what you’re using drugs. If it’s creating this kind of unpredictability, you may be putting your children at a disadvantage.
Breaking the Cycle of How Addiction Affects Families
Addiction is a mental health disorder experienced by one person, but it’s everyone’s problem. As a result, everyone in the family can be a part of the solution. Addiction treatment that includes family counseling can help families faced with the uncertainty of addiction. For instance, in these programs, you learn how to:
- Set healthy boundaries
- Communicate with each other
- Support loved ones with addiction in healthy ways
- Reinforce what you’re learning in cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy
Family therapy can be highly effective in repairing relationships and rebuilding trust. In some cases, it may be the only thing that can save a family from falling apart.
Seek Support at Recovery Ranch TN
If you’re suffering from addiction, know that you’re not alone. Here at Recovery Ranch TN, we offer family counseling and other services to help you heal your relationships. We understand how addiction affects families. We also know that lasting recovery is possible. We offer a range of treatment programs, including:
- Alcohol addiction treatment
- Heroin addiction treatment
- Cocaine addiction treatment
- Meth addiction treatment
- Opioid addiction treatment