How Does Addiction Affect Family and Friends?
There is no question that the chronic abuse of drugs and alcohol leads many unsuspecting people down a path to despair. The effects of using are clear: serious physical and emotional health problems, long-lasting and costly problems with reputation and the law, destroyed careers and destroyed families. Everyone knows addiction is bad for the addict — but what about family members, friends and loved ones who are left behind? How many people are affected by addiction?
Relationships With Family and Friends
If you live with someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, how many times have you made excuses for your loved one? How many times have you cleaned up after your friend’s substance-fueled party, or picked him up at the police station? Have you ever felt embarrassed when your loved one didn’t show up for an important event, or was clearly intoxicated when it occurred? These problems build resentment and destroy trust. When finances and legal problems start, the consequences are even worse.
Family members have love and a sense of responsibility on their side when dealing with an addicted individual. Professionals rely on each other almost as much as members of a “work family.” Erratic or inappropriate behavior, chronic lateness or calling in sick, and financial misdeeds are all part of working with someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. When mistakes and behavior problems add up, it won’t be long before job loss is part of the equation.
Some employers offer substance abuse policies that can help an addicted individual get back to health and return to work when sober. Your employer-sponsored healthcare plan is an excellent resource. If your employer has a human resources professional, then reach out for help before the problem gets worse. With early intervention, you may have a job waiting for you when you return from rehab.