Addiction and Families: Why Recovery Isn’t Just for Addicts

When addiction to drugs or alcohol affects the life of a family member, their struggles affect your life, too. Their behavior and actions can cause you stress, worry and pain, but perhaps the most difficult aspect of addiction is the feeling of powerlessness to make the situation better. Unfortunately, feelings of guilt, shame, denial and anger can take the focus off of what is most needed, which is to get them the help they need to recover and heal. And while an integral part of any recovery program begins with an addict accepting that they have a problem and wanting help, it is also important for family members to understand that recovery should include family addiction support programs that help the family as well.

Addiction may affect each family member or friend differently. Children of an addict may feel guilty and responsible for the problem. They often experience depression, anxiety and low self-esteem, and many attempt to deflect attention from the addiction by either acting ‘too perfect’, or by acting out with behaviors such as lying, stealing, or fighting.

Spouses of addicts become more preoccupied with the problems of the user than with their own health and well-being. They will often deny their own interests, hobbies, and friends in order to cover for their addictive partner. They frequently deny the seriousness of the problem by convincing themselves that things aren’t that bad – everyone has problems of one sort or another. Ultimately, this behavior can lead to low self-esteem, anger, and depression.

At 12 Keys Rehab, we understand that addiction rarely affects only the individual struggling with dependency. We know that a successful addiction recovery also involves working with family members like you. Our group counseling programs support and educate you and your family about the process of addiction, while acknowledging your pain and offering you an opportunity to heal, too. We provide a safe, confidential environment to discuss your feelings, understand how your loved one’s addiction is impacting you and your family, and give you the tools you need to help repair relationships and create an emotionally healthy family environment again.

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