Addiction and alcoholism are family illnesses that destroy the entire system.
The family will adjust its behavior to try and compensate for the problems brought on by addictive behavior.
Sometimes the behavior changes will be so gradual that the end result is a shockingly dysfunctional system built around accomodating the addict and his/her behavior.
The amount energy and stress expended by the alcoholic/addict to continue procuring the drug of choice to self medicate and the family as they try to maintain a sense of normalcy and/or try and get the alcoholic/addict to change can be enormous and all of this energy is expended in a direction that deepens the problem and can stress the entire family system.
The family is endangered by the addiction and the potential negative consequences are extremely numerous and include possible bankruptcy, incarceration, and even death. Addiction is progressive and should not be ignored.
What to Say to an Addicted Family Member
It is difficult to know “what to say” to that family member…. that is why there are professionals trained to help in this area. These professionals can take the form of a drug counselor, a marriage and family therapist, or an interventionist. The important thing is to get someone to help who is trained in working with addiction.
The Good News
The good news is that the alcoholics/addicts do recover – and so do their families. Millions of people have changed their lives by seeking help for their chemical addiction.
Recovery begins with asking for help. Families are not equipped to “self-help” themselves into drastic change. Addiction festers in the family system because it is like a petri dish that contains all the required ingredients for addiction to grow.
Sierra by the Sea is an addiction treatment center for men that also focuses on integrating the family into the treatment process.