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Addiction has the power to destroy families. Whether it’s a spousal relationship, parent, and child, or siblings, substance abuse will change the dynamics of familial interacts if left unchecked. With couples where one partner uses drugs or alcohol tend to be unhappy, as drug use can take over one’s life to the detriment of everything else. The parents of an addicted child might be so used to the role of caretaker that they turn into enablers. If the parent is the one with a substance use disorder, roles may reverse, leading the child to be the one cleaning up the messes.

When one half of a marriage or partnership is an addict, it can lead to a great deal of anger and resentment. Sometimes that person is always out doing or acquiring drugs instead of spending time at home. They might turn violent either as an effect of being on drugs or needing another dose. Often, they begin to neglect duties at home, whether it’s as simple as lawn care or as important as remembering to pick up a child from school. On top of all this, certain recreational drugs like alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine, can cause erectile problems, leading to a loss of intimacy. Addiction can also lead to children being neglected, whether they are directly mistreated or simply ignored. One in four children lives in a family where at least one parent is addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Family counseling is important in addiction treatment programs. The entire family can speak with a therapist or attend a group, where each family member will be able to discuss how the addiction has affected them. Once the addicted family member has completed treatment and returned home, the family will be a crucial support system for continuing recovery. This might not always go smoothly. Part of the process involves addicts come to terms with the fact that their lives don’t immediately improve or return to what they once were. Addiction can break trust, and it will take time to rebuild. The addicts must take responsibility for the things they did while they were still using drugs or alcohol, and the aggrieved family members will have to learn to let go of resentment and offer forgiveness.

While all family members might wish for their loved one to receive help, there is often conflict over the best way to approach it. Some people believe in tough love and might threaten to kick the drug user out of the house or cut them off financially. Others might be more sympathetic, offering endless chances. The problem is that when family members disagree about the best way to deal with the addict, the person with the addiction can carry on drinking or using drugs undisturbed while everyone argues around them. Although interventions are good fodder for television shows, they aren’t always the best idea in practice, at least not without a professional present.

If you or a loved one need help to quit drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949-438-4504).


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