Addiction can have a major impact on family members. In this guide for family members of addicts, you can learn how to help your addicted loved one find treatment. Beyond that, you can learn how to seek support and care for yourself as you deal with the effects of your family member’s addiction.

Are you living with the damaging effects of your family member’s addiction? Contact The Woods at Parkside to access the help and care you both need.

Effects of Drug Addiction on Family Members

Father and son try to take alcohol away from mother who is an addict

The effects of drug addiction on family members can be painful and damaging to everyone involved. The turmoil caused by the addiction affects not just the user but also any children, teens, and adults living in the household or even college students in the family. Here are some of the ways the addiction affects the family.

Effect on Children

Children in the home are seriously affected by drug addiction that is happening in the household. These effects are even more startling when it is their parent or another caregiver who is addicted. These young family members of addicts pay a heavy price.

First, the presence of an addicted family member in the family can affect the child’s development. This is the time when they are growing and developing. They are becoming the person who they will be as an adult physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. When their development is disrupted, the consequences can last into their adulthood.

In addition, children in homes with drug addiction are very often abused or neglected. Because the person who should be taking care of them is so focused on their addiction, the children suffer.

Non-Addicts Bear More Responsibility

Usually, partners work together to take care of household duties. However, when one of them is addicted, the other one often has to work harder to take up the slack. Where two people once shared the workload, now only one person must do everything, including managing the household finances, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the children. 

These added duties lead to increased stress for the person who is taking over the addict’s responsibilities. They bear the burden of all the worries that come with running a home. What’s more, the increased stress can have a profound effect on their physical and mental health. Even while the addict is in the process of overcoming their addiction, those family members left at home must take care of all the household responsibilities. 

Trust Issues

While you may care about an addicted family member, it can become very hard to trust them. They make decisions based on what will help them get the object of their addiction. If they are addicted to a substance, they may lie or manipulate you to get more of it or to get away from the house to use it.

Beyond that, addicts often fail to keep their promises. Perhaps they make the promises to pacify you, never intending to keep them. Maybe their intentions are good, but they forget they promised you something. If the promise is to quit using, they may be unable to do it without professional help that they are unwilling to seek. 

All these lies and broken promises lead family members of addicts to distrust them. Thus, the relationships in the family are damaged, and children do not learn to trust.

An Environment of Fear and Distress

Family members of addicts live in a state of fear and distress. The addict’s behavior is unpredictable. So, the family members never know what to expect. The addict may lash out in anger or even abuse if they can’t get the drug or alcohol they want. 

Children and adults in the home start avoiding anything that might set off the addict’s emotional outbursts. Trying to keep peace in the home and protect themselves, the family members of addicts deny their needs to avoid frightening conflicts. 

Financial Difficulties

As the addict spends family money to support their addiction, the family finances become difficult at best. Sometimes bills don’t get paid because there is no money left to pay them. Savings wither away, and debts pile up. Yet, the other family members are left to deal with these money issues without the addict’s cooperation. 

Advice for Family Members of Drug Addicts

Advice for Family Members of Addicts infographic

Are you looking for advice for family members of addicts? In this section, you can find out many things you need to know and do for yourself. You can also learn the best ways to help your addicted family member. 

Advice for Protecting Yourself and Your Family

Let’s start with advice for family members of addicts focused on protecting your health and well-being. Here are some ways to ease your suffering.

1. Set boundaries and enforce them. 

Think about your limits. What types of addictive behaviors would damage your physical or mental health? Draw the line there, and do not allow the addict to cross it. Examples of boundaries you might set include:

  • Being violent or aggressive.
  • Using drugs around your children.
  • Taking all your money and selling family possessions to buy drugs.
  • Abusing anyone in the household.

Be prepared to act if the addict’s choices put you or any of your family members in the way of harm. You might have to report them to the authorities or demand that they move out of the home, for instance.

2. Study and practice good communication skills.

Communication among family members of addicts and the addicted person can become strained and ineffective. You need to be able to communicate your boundaries and needs. 

You can improve your communication skills by reading self-help books, working on it with a therapist, or participating in support groups. 

3. Avoid enabling the addict to use.

Show that you care and offer your emotional support. You can be there for them if they choose to seek help. However, knowing how to talk to someone with addiction without enabling them can be a challenge. Remember that enabling them to use it will not solve any problems for you or them. Instead, they end up using more without facing the consequences of their addiction. 

It can be difficult to know how to hold the addict to their responsibilities and avoid enabling them. Talking to a counselor can help you recognize your enabling behaviors and make different choices. In the meantime, you can avoid supporting their addiction with your money and time.

4. Attend support groups for family members of addicts.

Support groups for family members of addicts can be helpful in several ways. For one, they help educate you about addiction, its consequences, and how to deal with it in your family. Also, support groups do exactly what their name implies – they offer you emotional support at a time when you need it most.

Here are some of the support groups for family members of addicts:

  • Al-Anon
  • Ala-Teen
  • Nar-Anon
  • Families Anonymous
  • SMART Recovery Family & Friends
  • GRASP (Grief Recovery After Substance Passing)
  • NAMI Family Support Group
  • Parents of Addicted Loved Ones

With the help of others who are going through similar challenges, you can ease your emotional distress to some degree. You can learn from others ways to protect yourself and help the addict, too.

Advice for Getting the Addict Help

It’s best to keep in mind that only the addict can be responsible for their own recovery. Yet, there are things you can do to help them. Many of the things you do for yourself will also help the addict face their problem. For example, setting boundaries and refusing to enable them could help them see their need for help.

Another thing you might do is stage an intervention. However, interventions can be tricky to manage well. If you want to do this, it is usually best to read up on it or consult with a professional. Then, you can create a strategy for protecting yourself and your family while you confront this difficult problem.

The Woods at Parkside Services for Families of Addicts

The Woods at Parkside offers services to help family members of addicts. While your loved one is in our facility recovering from their addiction, you can come to the center for help as well. We not only help our clients heal from addictions but also provide services that help them get back to their normal everyday lives. 

As a part of this treatment for them, we offer services to help the family members of addicts. You can attend educational groups designed to help the addict’s loved ones deal with the fact and aftermath of their family member’s addiction. 

We see the inclusion of family members as integral to the recovery process of the addict. Therefore, we provide not only educational groups and materials but also other resources for families. Located near Columbus, Ohio, our beautiful facility is a place where families are both welcomed and supported through our programs.

Would you like help to deal with your loved one’s addiction? Call us at The Woods at Parkside for the best addiction recovery treatment and family programs.

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