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What is the Family Role in Addiction and Recovery?

Most people don’t think that families have a role in addiction or recovery. However, this is far from true. There are many parts to the family role in addiction and recovery of practically all addicts.  Whether drugs or alcohol are involved, the family plays a role as well.

Family Participation in Addiction

In one way or another, almost every family member has a part in an addict’s struggle with substances. If it is a parent who is addicted to a drug or alcohol, the children play a role. Usually, it is role reversal where the child has to be the adult and take care of the parent. The addicted parent cannot handle the responsibilities of running a household.

Many children of addicts have to get their self and any siblings up and ready for school in the mornings. This often happens when the parent can’t get up or isn’t even home from the night before. The kids often go to school with no breakfast, either because they are too young to fix it.  In some cases there is no food in the house because the parent used all of the money on drugs or alcohol. The effects of being the child of an addict can be far-reaching and last a lifetime.

Parents Who Enable an Addicted Child

As a parent of an addicted child, the family role in addiction turns out to be caretaker. The parent doesn’t necessarily intend to be an enabler but that is what they end up being many times. The parent tends to all of the responsibilities of the home.  They also make excuses and tell lies for the addicted child at school or at their job.  All the while, this only enables the addict to continue with their substance abuse with no consequences. The parent is only doing what they think is best.  But, in the end, they are doing nothing to help the situation.

The same goes if the family member is a spouse of the addict. The spouse takes on all of the responsibilities while the addict continues abusing their substance of choice. In some cases, the spouse goes through mental and physical abuse from the addict, all while lying to cover for their addicted loved one.

The family role in addiction is much more significant than any family member wants it to be in all honesty. Family members think they can help their addicted loved one because they are not educated about addiction and the effects of it. They want to help the addicted loved one, but they just don’t know how. This is a job for professional addiction specialists.

The Family Role in Addiction May Include an Intervention

If the family member insists that they don’t have a problem with drugs or alcohol, it may be time to have an intervention to try to explain to them how they are hurting the entire family as well as their self. The family role in addiction cannot continue to be caretaker, enabler, and problem-solver. The addicted loved one as well as the family has to seek professional help if the family is to survive these circumstances.  Addiction can drain the life out of families who are trying to deal with the day-to-day issues that always arise. The family unit has to be put back together through sobriety and recovery. The only way to do this is through professional treatment and counseling.

Intervention is conducted to make the addict aware of the ways they have hurt and used their family members for the sake of getting high or drunk. The family members have to let the addict know that they cannot continue on this path and that the addict has to enroll in an addiction treatment program, or they can no longer have anything to do with them. The family has to instill in the addict that they deserve better than the life they are living all because of their addiction.

The thing to remember if conducting an intervention is not to make threats or promises that you are not ready to carry out. If you tell the addict they will have to leave, and you want nothing more to do with them, you have to stick to your word. You can’t make false threats; this will only make matters worse.

Seeking Professional Help for Addiction

The family role in addiction needs to include “healing.” The entire family can heal from addiction, but it will take a lot of work by every family member involved with the addict. Family counseling is valuable in addiction treatment programs. The entire family can go through counseling and have group meetings where each family member can discuss how the addiction has affected them and their life.

Once the addicted family member has completed treatment in an inpatient rehabilitation facility and returned home, the family role in addiction can change to the family role in addiction recovery. The family will be a strong support system for the recovering family member.

Yes, addiction does affect every member of a family in different ways, but with the help of a professional treatment program the family can heal and become a functional group again.

Don’t wait until addiction destroys the family.  Seek help through a licensed, professional inpatient addiction treatment facility. Call today to learn more about programs that will fit your individual needs and preferences. Do it now!

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