When one individual is struggling with an addiction, the addict is not the only person affected. In so many ways, the illness of addiction affects the entire family. Significant others, parents, children and even friends often face negative consequences.
Every individual's circumstance with substance abuse can be different, but family members tend to take up certain roles in the situation. Within one family unit where substance abuse is involved, you tend to see:
- The addicted person: Continually uses substances despite the negative effects and consequences. His or her prime focus is getting and using the substance.
- The enabler/caretaker: Strives to protect the family, including the addict, from the consequences of addiction. This may include working extra jobs to recover money spent or neglecting personal needs to make sure the addict's needs are met.
- The scapegoat: Acts out negatively to attract attention that is usually focused on the addict. This person is oftentimes a child or sibling of the one addicted.
- The disregarded or lost child: Pulls from family ties and often goes unnoticed. This family member is not getting his or her needs met, which can lead to many negative impacts.
- The mascot: Uses humor, comedy or charm to deflect pain caused by the addiction. The deflection can be used as a form of self-preservation or to soothe stress within the family.
Family Support for Drug Addicts Can Make the Difference
With each family member contributing to the addictive behaviors in some way, the addict continues on the treacherous path. However, the right kind of family support for drug addicts sets the stage for recovery. When loved ones take part in the recovery and treatment process, the addicted individual is:
- More likely to commit to and adhere to a treatment program
- Less likely to be hospitalized due to substance abuse or face relapse
- More likely to achieve sobriety and recover
- Less likely to end up in jail or dealing with the legal system
Steps Families Can Take to Support Their Loved Ones in Recovery
A few ways families can help an individual who is going through recovery include:
- Actively participating in treatment: Show your support for the addicted loved one by visiting him or her in treatment and being present to help work through recovery.
- Avoiding enabling: Enabling protects the addict from the natural consequences of his or her actions. Seek help to break free of enabling or co-dependent behaviors.
- Attending family support groups and therapy: Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous offer group meetings for families impacted by drug and alcohol abuse. These programs can be essential for stepping out of the negative roles often played in the addict's behaviors.
The Best Support Network Starts With Family and Ends With the Best Treatment Program
The path to recovery can be riddled with obstacles and challenges. The stronger the individual's support network is, the more helping hands there are to guide him or her back to a life of sobriety, even when a relapse or stumble occurs. While that support network should always include loved ones, treatment is also a necessary step.
Legacy Recovery Center provides comprehensive addiction treatment options in a safe space to support the journey to recovery in a personalized way. Reach out to find out more about our treatment options.