Addiction can be tough on those who have it and those who care about it. It can be challenging for family and friends to know how to help their loved ones and themselves best during this challenging time. The good news is that there are ways for families to get help and find their way through this process.
This blog will discuss how addiction affects families and some options available to them. We’ll also talk about how these options can give families of addicts the support and guidance they need.
How Does Addiction Impact Families?
It has long been held that a family is the smallest unit of society and that general societal issues can be traced to the family. It is also valid to note that when there are issues, more often than not, the family is the first victim and usually the most impacted. With regard to this, addiction is no exception.
Addiction has many complicated and long-lasting effects on the family, and these effects are often passed down from one generation to another. When one family member becomes addicted to a drug, the other members become co-dependents and enablers. When a person becomes an addict, his situation forces other family members to adapt, taking up roles and putting up faces to adjust to the addict’s new behavior. This tends to have a ripple effect in other areas of their lives. The impact on the family often depends on which family member is battling addiction.
Five ways substance abuse impacts a family.
- Increases the Risk of Substance Use Disorder (SUDs) in Children. Many times, children who grow up in homes where either parent was an addict to drugs or battled with substance abuse often grow up to encounter these same SUDs. This, in turn, creates a vicious cycle of substance abuse that goes on and on.
- Causes Neglect in the Upbringing of Children. Because of the parent’s addiction, they often do not have time for their children resulting in a series of negative impacts on the children. According to the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality reports, children whose parents have SUD are at greater risk for poverty, academic challenges, social isolation, and dysfunctional family relationships than children whose parents do not.
- Strained Relationships. Children are not the only ones affected by a parent’s addiction. There is the risk of strained relationships between partners when one has an addiction problem.
- The Financial Impact on the Family. Notwithstanding which family member has an addiction, there will always be an adverse economic effect on the family. If a breadwinner falls victim to addiction, it impacts the earning capacity of the family and increases the likelihood of financial downtimes. If a dependent is an addict, the cost of the addiction might cause the victim to steal or lie to get the money to fund the habit.
- Increase in Likelihood of Abuse. This is particularly obvious when an adult is a victim of addiction. There is an increased risk of physical and emotional abuse on the other members of the family.
Are There Support Groups for Families of Addicts?
Family members of addicts also need help and therapy as much as the addict themselves. While an addict is recovering, the family also needs to learn the necessary habits to help cope with addiction in ways that do not harm them and do not enable the addict to continue with their vice.
Besides therapy, support groups are essential for helping families of addicts. There are a lot of support groups available to help families of addicts; they include:
- Al-Anon Family Groups. A global fellowship program for families and friends of alcoholics. Instead of focusing on getting an alcoholic to quit, this program helps family and friends cope with the challenges they confront due to their loved one’s drinking.
- Learn to Cope. A community of families coping with the effects of drug abuse. In addition to many online support services and forums, they also provide in-person meetings in various places around Massachusetts, New Jersey, Florida, and Idaho.
- SMART Recovery Family and Friends. SMART Recovery is an alternative to programs like Al-Anon. SMART Recovery is based on science.
- Nar-Anon Family Groups. Nar-Anon is a program with 12 steps for people affected by someone else’s addiction.
- Recovering Couples. Operates on the principles of Al-Anon but is not affiliated with them. Their services are also geared towards couples alone.
How to Find Resources for Families of Addicts
Looking for resources to help your family cope with addiction can be tedious. There is often a lot of stigma and trauma attached to the label, but it does not have to be that way. Grace Recovery provides resources for alcoholics families and all the help a family needs to cope with and overcome addiction. Grace Recovery provides a community of healing and addiction support for families that helps the family better handle a member that is an addict. Call us today to learn more about our plans and resources for families of addicts.