Alcoholism and drug addiction is a family disease. It's estimated that for every person suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction, another seven people are affected.
Trying to help a loved one get sober can be emotionally draining and lead to issues of co-dependency and control. Attempting to regulate drinking or drug usage can end up consuming large amounts of time and money with little result. Negative consequences that pull the family into continuing chaos can include tremendous emotional stress, economic strain, poor health and run-ins with the law that result in legal fees and complications. It can be a confusing and extremely disruptive environment if you live with an alcoholic or drug addict.
Family dynamics can be a major contributing factor in both addiction and recovery. For the individual to be successful in transitioning from addiction to recovery, it's necessary for family dynamics to change as well. Drug addiction treatment centers helps to educate and assist families in making this transition. Some of the questions to consider include:
1. What is the family history? Is there a history of alcohol or drug abuse? Is there emotional trauma or issues of abuse that may have occurred? Choose a treatment center who work with clients that have underlying issues associated with alcohol or drug abuse. Uncovering these issues and addressing them with family members will help repair issues that may be contributing to alcohol or drug abuse as well as unhealthy patterns.
2. Denial is a major symptom of alcohol and drug abuse not only for the individual, but also family members. Sweeping it under the rug or downplaying the amount of alcohol or drugs consumed and the consequences involved can be a result of fear, an inability to want to face reality. But denial only postpones the inevitable - things can and will get worse.
3. Denial is also a form of enabling. Enabling a family member to continue using alcohol or drugs in spite of negative consequences can sometimes look like love. Calling in sick to work for a loved one, making excuses for his or her behavior or going to the store for more alcohol to minimize withdrawal symptoms are all forms of enabling. This is a trait of co-dependent behavior and a very normal coping mechanism that family members engage. The fear that your child or loved one will die if you don't cover for them or keep them at home where you can watch them is a valid one but nonetheless can assist in helping the alcoholic or addict continue to engage in destructive behavior. Your loved one may be safe momentarily, but until alcoholism or drug addiction has been arrested it's only a matter of time before the bottom falls out.