Addiction Treatment

Drug Addiction and the Family Unit

Written By:

Becky Babb

Drug Addiction and the Family Unit

    When a person falls down the rabbit hole into addictive addiction, the consequences are anything but individual.Everyone you come in contact with, from close family members to strangers on the street, will be affected by your addiction. To strangers, your incoherent mumblings or angry rantings will be fleeting; however, those closest to you have to live with your mood swings, unreliability, lies, outbursts, and whichever desperate measures you may resort to when chasing the next high.Dysfunction: The New NormFamilies bond together in hard times, and dealing with drug addiction can be one of the most trying. The good news is that these people are there because they love and care for you. What’s uncertain is who will come out on top in the end? Can you let them through the haze to help you on your road to recovery, or will you drag them down to the pits of hell with you?Every addiction and addict is different. Influencing factors such as gender, genetics, and general health will affect how a person handles their drug or drink of choice. It’s not uncommon for an addict to crawl deeper into addiction when friends and family first begin pressing. The things they ask you to do seem ridiculous and far-fetched . . . and too hard.Why?Nobody sets out to become an addict. It often begins when a person is trying to find reprieve from stressful events in their life, or even under the care of a medical doctor—via highly addictive prescription painkillers. By the time addiction has set in, you’re physically dependent and psychologically needy, and have to choose between being high or making your family happy.By definition, “dependent” does not imply choice.Of course you don’t want to hurt your family, friends, or coworkers. Sometimes things just get beyond your ability to control. The result is a vicious merry go round of lies, deceit, broken promises, and tears.Watching a loved one struggle with any kind of difficulty or pain is never easy. Drug addiction can tear families apart. It becomes too much when the addict continually refuses all attempts at help. Enablers are created when constitutions weaken. Or the opposite, addicts are all but disowned and cast out. Neither of these paths lead to happiness.So How Do We Fix It?If you’re trying to help a loved one get clean, you have to take care of yourself first. Much like the instructions flight attendants give when taking off: see to your own air first. Talk to professionals, get counseling, and make friends with people in similar situations. Knowing you aren’t alone can sometimes get you through the darkest of nights.Have faith and be strong. A solid, united front is much harder to break down. The day will come for most when their addict finally allows that next step; they’ll ask for help. You need to be ready for them when they do. In the meantime, know that frustration and setbacks are normal. Everyone needs to be open and honest with each other. Don’t try to hide how the addiction is affecting the household as this will lead to enabling (again).The Last Resort staff is at your disposal to help you find:

    • an intervention specialist
    • a certified representative from Alcoholics Anonymous
    • psychotherapist
    • a friend who understands

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