Dealing With a Family Member’s Addiction

Dealing With a Family Member’s AddictionCommonly, the behavior of addicts leads everyone around them to walk on eggshells, and not know how to act. Either people are afraid to incur the anger of the addict, or afraid to risk sending them into another bender. However, until the problem is actually verbalized, out loud, to the addict, the friends and family “secret” will not lose its power, or magically resolve itself. 

Most of us believe that our families-of-origin were a little dysfunctional in some areas. It seems that there really is no true “normal” for how a family should look or behave. The only true measure of a family’s functionality, usually, is revealed once the children grow up and begin having families of their own. One truth is certain, however:

“A family in which an alcoholic, or other addict, is actively engaged in chasing the substance of choice almost always fall into the authentically dysfunctional category no matter what the measuring tool might be.”

Addictions are best compared to love affairs. A person often knows that what he or she is doing is wrong. They may try to hide the evidence of their behavior, whether is liquor store receipts, or drug paraphernalia, but after a while as their family, you know. Just like a secret love affair, active addictions take on a life of their own. As the compulsive lies, and excuses add up we begin to feel out of control as to what we should and shouldn’t be doing for this person we love. We want to believe them, even if the evidence is every bit as clear as finding them naked in the bed with a “lover”.

There is no timeline that is universally applicable to any addict’s recovery. There are many various things that can happen to point the addict in the direction of recovery. The law, their health, finances, everyone leaving, etc. Sadly, some addicts never decide that it’s time to seek help and choose to continue their love affair regardless of the damage they are doing to the people who truly care about their futures. That is why one thing we know for certain always rings true:

“Save Yourself first, as nobody has the power to save an addict except the addict themselves.”

Addictions are powerful beasts, and they can only be slaved once an addict decides that it is time to fight back. Unfortunately, not every addict will make that decision, and generally not on the timeline you prefer. Breaking the silence in your home, and acknowledging the damage being wreaked by an addict is not always easy, but it is necessary. Contact The Haven if someone you love is suffering from an addiction, and he or she wants help to change their life. 

Tags: addiction, substance abuse, family, codependency

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