9 Ways Addiction Changes The Family

  • Trust: lying is commonly a part of addiction. A loved one who knows they are unable to stop yet aren’t yet able to admit that fact will resort to lying out of a need to protect their addiction as well as protect you, their family. They know they’ve let you down time and time again. Living with the guilt of their disappointment in themselves is often what fuels them to continue to drink. When trust is gone in a family, the home becomes unstable. Even after they get sober, it can be hard to trust again- especially if there is an episode of relapse.
  • Rules: for the addict or the alcoholic, rules don’t seem to apply. As addiction grows and changes, so do the rules. For other members of the family, this can be difficult. Not having clearly defined rules and boundaries can cause chaos and confusion, feeling unfair to other family members.
  • Time: time is perhaps the most important currency we have. When addiction enters the family, a lot of time is dedicated to it. Time goes into taking care of a loved one, looking for them, arguing with them, fighting against them, trying to help them, trying to stay away from them, crying over them, worrying over them.
  • Memories: when so much time is given to addiction it permanently alters the memories you as a family will make together. There are many missed opportunities for quality time, precious chances to be together that will be compromised by addiction. Knowing that your loved one is high or drunk during family times is saddening and painful.
  • Traditions: holidays, traditions, and the small specifics of what makes you a family can be influenced by addiction. Traditions can become lost, forgotten, or resented due to the way a loved one’s addiction interacts.
  • Finances: courts, fees, tickets, bail bonds, lawyers, detoxes, doctors, therapists, treatment programs- the cost of addiction isn’t just personal, it’s financial as well.
  • Well-being: unless the family seeks help for themselves as well as a family unit, a loved one’s addiction can have a negative effect on everyone else’s well being. Physical health can deteriorate as the result of ongoing stress. Too much tension in the household can be a challenge for everyone living under the roof.
  • Mental Health: codependency, depression, and anxiety are common manifestations of being the loved one of someone with addiction. It is important to see your own program of recovery in addition to therapy.
  • Recovery: there is hope. When a loved one seeks recovery and finally makes the commitment to staying sober, true transformation can take place. Though addiction can have a profoundly negative effect on a family, the recovery from addiction can create a profoundly positive effect. It’s true that addiction is a family disease which is progressive. Recovery also includes the family and is progressive as well.

Healing: family therapy, family weekends, and ongoing work can help the whole family heal. LEAD Recovery Center is an extended care facility providing intensive outpatient programming to men and women. We focus on helping the family heal as much as our clients. For more information, call us today at 800-380-0012.