The family of a drug addict or alcoholic typically suffers more than the addict or alcoholic himself. Addicts become so consumed by their addiction that they do not see the financial and emotional devastation they are causing their families. Families, in turn, often vacillate between enabling the addiction and getting angry over it. When families do not know where to turn, it may be time for them to seek professional assistance.
Family Drug Interventions
At the extreme, if an addicted family member’s substance abuse problem is causing an immediate danger to himself or to other family members, his family should not hesitate to seek and procure professional help. Dangerous situations might include, for example, if an alcoholic insists on driving himself or other family members while he is intoxicated, or if a drug addict is using a family’s home as a place to process, store, and sell illegal drugs. In the latter situation, family members may be implicated in any criminal charges that are brought against the person who is processing and selling drugs, particularly if they are aware of the activity and do nothing to stop it.
Families might try to organize and conduct an intervention to convince the addict that he has a problem and that he needs to get help. If the intervention is not successful, the family will be better served by seeking their own help from groups that support families of drug addicts and alcoholics. Those groups often have impressive amounts of collective experience in dealing with addicts who attempt to live within a family structure. They can also provide professional direction for families that have tried an intervention but that are still struggling with an alcoholic in their midst.
Professional Intervention Specialists
In all cases, it is more likely that an addict’s family will have reached the end of its collective rope in dealing with the addict, than it is that the addict himself will hit rock bottom and be forced to seek help. An addict’s family will often be dealing with mounting debt and an inability to provide basic food and shelter needs when an addict uses all of the family’s resources to feed his addiction. In every case, seeking professional help will require every member of the family to agree with the need for that help, and a group commitment to refuse any further enabling of the addict’s substance abuse. A single family member can sabotage the entire group’s efforts by surreptitiously helping the addict to get his next drink or dose of a drug. When you decide to get professional help, talk to every family member about your decision and make sure you have a unified mindset about that decision.
An addict’s family can be his greatest source of help in breaking addictions and the destructive patterns that created the addictions. Families will generally not hesitate to get professional medical help when one of their members contracts a serious illness. Drug and alcohol addiction is exactly the type of illness that family members can observe. Families should recognize that addiction is a serious illness and not just a character flaw. They should not hesitate to get professional help for their ill father, mother, brother, or sister.
Please call the Last Resort Recovery Center near Austin, Texas, at 512-360-3600 if you are struggling with the question of whether to seek professional help for an addicted family member. Our counselors and resources can help you make the best decision for you and your family.