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Family Member Of An Addict

Family Group For Family Members Addiction

Intervention: How to Talk to a Family Member with an Addiction Part 1


Support group for family members affected by a loved ones addiction. For parents, spouses, siblings who have been affected by a family members substance use. Weekly Support Group with educational material, support, process groups, coping tools. Join the confidential group at

The Impact Of Substance Abuse On Parents Of Adult Children

As children transition into adulthood they are still strongly affected by their parents as their parents are by them. One of the factors that can perpetuate SUDs is the enabling that family members frequently engage in. Enabling is a form of accommodation that protects the individual with the SUD from fully experiencing the consequences of his or her substance use. An example of enabling is when the parents of a 25-year-old man repeatedly bail him out of jail and pay for lawyer and court fees generated as a result of drug-related arrests. The parents are attempting to help their son and maintain homeostasis in the system by preventing him from going to jail, however the secondary effect is that the son experiences no consequence to his use. As a result, his SUD is more likely to continue. Parents and grandparents do not always agree on how to âhelpâ an adult child with an SUD. Social workers can encourage parents of adult children to seek their own help in Al-Anon and Nar-Anon. These are 12-Step programs for family members that will help them disengage with love, so that they stop enabling and begin to care for themselves. Often parents blame themselves for their children’s substance use and feel responsible for fixing the problem. In Al-Anon and Nar-Anon they receive support from other family members and learn they did not cause the SUD, nor can they control it or cure it.

When Families Get Stuck In A Situation Where Addiction Is Allowed To Continue

Ultimately, breaking the codependent relationship boils down to making the current situation uncomfortable enough to spark change. Looking at the Change Formula of Life, we know that change cannot happen until there is dissatisfaction with the way things currently are.

In a codependent addiction familial relationship, the situation has become so comfortable , that the fear of change is greater than the fear of staying the same. This is how a horrible situation in a good family can be allowed to develop and can be allowed to continue we just get stuck.

Success Rates of Interventions & Addiction Treatment Programs Are High

Family First Interventions Founder and Arizona Interventionist explains that when dealing with a family member who has a drug addiction or serious alcohol abuse issues should be approached just like any other serious disease.

Mike Loverde, Founder & Interventionist

When you look at any other fatal illness whether it be cancer, HIV, etc. people do everything they can to stop it with addiction, we dont. We just kick the can down the street, thinking that its a moral dilemma, that their willpower will kick in, and theyll just stop. I was just talking with my wife recently, and her mother has cancer it is in the stage where you have a 14% of survival , and there was no question that we could get her help.

How Do I Make the Change and Take the Steps Necessary for My Loved One to Recover from Addiction?


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Avoid Supporting The Addiction Financially

This is also a form of enabling and rears its head in different ways.

When a drug-addicted family member asks you for money, has you pay their bills, or even lives in your home rent-free, this may be enabling their addiction.

Your loved one may give many reasons why they are asking you for money, but unfortunately, all paths likely lead to supporting the drug abuse financially.

Ways To Help A Family Member With Addiction

Take Warning of The 6 Most Common Family Roles in Addiction

When a loved one or a family member is struggling with alcohol use disorder or drug abuse, it can be difficult for the whole family. While ignoring and avoiding the problem might seem easier, addressing their addiction as early as possible and providing a positive support system as they begin recovery is the best thing you can do for them. Here are a few tips to get you started.

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Family Members Of Addicts: The Enabler

Addiction is a disease that impacts each member of a family unit in a different way. Family members often take on different roles in their relation to the addict once the addiction becomes known. One of these unhealthy roles is of the enabler.The role of the enabler is perhaps one of the most damaging roles to be in. Due to this, it is critical to know the traits of an enabler and ask yourself if you may display some of them. Educating yourself properly on addiction and its impacts can help avoid even more damage to the addiction and family dynamic.

Behaviors of The Enabler

Living in Denial

Enablers commonly live in a âfantasy worldâ where their loved one is not being harmed by addiction. They deny the severity of their loved oneâs addiction, often making excuses for it. The enabler ignores obvious red flags, such as their addicted family member neglecting responsibilities, missing social obligations, or losing their job. Ignoring and making excuses for your addicted loved one does nothing productive and simply allows the addiction to continue.

Projecting Blame onto Others

To protect their loved one, the enabler may project blame and anger on others close to the addict. They do this as a way of protecting themselves and the addict, unable to believe their loved one could ever slip into addiction.

Covering for the Addict
Not Maintaining Boundaries
Completing Your Loved Oneâs Responsibilities

The Impact of Enabling Behavior

Stopping the Enabling

Parental Substance Abuse And Child Social And Emotional Functioning

Many children living in a home where there is an addiction develop into âparentified children.â This occurs when the caretaker is unable to meet the developmental needs of the child, and the child begins to parent themselves and perhaps younger siblings earlier than developmentally appropriate. In a phenomenon called âreversal of dependence needsâ the child actually begins to parent the parent.

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Addiction Affects Everyone Not Just The Person Struggling With Substance Misuse Here Are 10 Tips That Can Help Family Members Cope With A Loved Ones Addiction

In 2019, about 5.3% percent of Americans aged 12 and older had an alcohol use disorder, the clinical term for an alcohol addiction. Furthermore, as of 2020, 13.5% of people aged 12 and older reported using an illegal drug within the past month.

These statistics represent millions of people struggling with substance misuse and addiction, and nearly all of these people have family members and friends rooting for their eventual recovery. Families play a large role in the recovery process, so it is important for spouses, siblings, parents, children, friends and others to understand how to help.

If youre a family member of someone struggling with addiction, you may have many questions and concerns, such as:

How To Set Boundariesand Stick To Them

Intervention: How to Talk to a Family Member with an Addiction Part 3
  • Talk to your loved one about boundaries at a time when youre both calm and not under the influence of drugs. Clearly outline what behavior you will and will not tolerate and what the consequences will be if they break your rules.
  • Follow through. Its almost inevitable that someone with an addiction will test any limits you set, so be prepared to follow through. If you dont enforce the consequences youve outlined, your loved one will know the boundaries are worthless and their destructive behavior will continue.
  • Remind yourself why youre doing this. No one wants to see someone they care about suffer, but a meaningful, respectful relationship cannot exist without boundaries. Having to face the negative consequences of their behavior could be the impetus your loved one needs to get clean.
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    Coping With Addiction: Programs Counseling And Support Groups For Your Family

    Family members are profoundly affected when a loved one becomes addicted to alcohol or another drug.In fact, by the time most people reach out to a counselor, healthcare provider or addiction treatment center for help with a family members substance abuse, the situation has typically progressed to a crisis level.

    Hazelden Betty Ford provides treatment for alcohol and drug addiction as well as help and support for your whole familyincluding spouses, parents, caregivers, siblings and children.

    Family care and support are an essential part of Hazelden Betty Fords healing mission because addiction takes a heavy toll on all family members and everyone in your family needs help to cope and heal. Our family programs and resources are available to you, regardless of whether your loved one with drug addiction seeks treatment.

    Here are several important and readily available resources to help you cope with addiction in your family.

    Parental Substance Abuse And Educational Functioning

    Educational problems are also characteristic of some children affected by parental substance use. Problems with unexcused absences in childhood can turn into more serious truancy problems in adolescence and culminate in school dropout. In early childhood, parents read less and provide less learning-based stimulation to their infants and toddlers. In school-age years, parents are less available to provide assistance with homework, monitor school performance, and track assignments. These children may have difficulty with attention and concentration due to increased anxiety levels related to a chaotic home environment. Unstructured bedtimes and mealtimes as well as witnessing domestic violence and safety issues all contribute to an increase in learning problems and behavioral problems for these children at school. It is difficult for children to focus on higher order thinking and learning when basic survival needs are not met. Similar to the home environment, communication between substance abusing parents and teachers and the larger school system is poor. Many parents struggling with an SUD had difficulty with the school system in their own school-age years and avoid interacting with it due to their own anxiety or shame.

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    How Addiction Impacts Young Children

    According to Psychology Today, 1 in 5 children grows up in a home where a parent abuses drugs or alcohol. Witnessing the trauma of a parent suffering from addiction at a young age has long-term effects on the child. Children who grow up seeing a parent addicted to drugs or alcohol are more likely to develop SUDs in their adulthood. They are also 3 times more likely to be neglected or physically and/or sexually abused. Seeing a parent on drugs often invokes distressing emotions which not only create delays in learning and development but can also lead to pronged mental and emotional disorders.

    Since children are still developing their personalities and are vulnerable to external influences, they run the risk of repeating such behaviors. Children may be exposed to aggression or violent behavior due to a parentâs drinking. Arguments between parents may be normal, causing the child emotional distress as they witness family members fighting.

    Early exposure to a home divided by drug use can cause a child to feel emotionally and physically neglected and unsafe. As a result, they can become more mentally and emotionally unstable. Children may develop extreme guilt and self-blame for a parentâs substance abuse. They may develop feelings of unworthiness or develop dysfunctional attachments in their adulthood. In extreme cases, children can be removed from the home and placed in foster care.

    Online Addiction Counseling

    Do: Seek Counseling Or Therapy

    Drug Use Does Impact Your Family: An Intimate Look into the Damage

    Addiction affects everyone, from the person in treatment to their loved ones. Its important to ensure youre well enough to manage the potential stress of helping someone dealing with addiction. Acknowledging that you may be in over your head and in need of professional help is normal and healthy. Its also necessary for you to help your loved one to the best of your abilities.

    Read Also: Where To Get Help With Alcohol Addiction

    What Are Examples Of Support Groups For Families Of Addicts

    Because addiction affects so many family members, support groups for family members of drug addicts are very active in most communities. Examples of support groups available across the United States include the following:

    • Nar-Anon Family Groups: This group is a 12 step program for family members of people with a drug addiction. It is a place that allows them to seek validation and support from other people who also have family members battling addiction, whether its a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, child, or another family member. Nar-Anon family groups are completely free to participants and are completely anonymous, just like Narcotics Anonymous.
    • Al-Anon Family Groups: Al-Anon Family Groups are very similar to Nar-Anon groups in that they are a safe space to find support for people with family members that are addicts. It is a 12 step program, anonymous, and free of charge to attend like Nar-Anon. The main difference is that Al-Anon Family Groups are geared toward individuals who have family members abusing alcohol specifically.
    • Families Anonymous: This group is aimed toward people with family members struggling with addiction. It is also a 12 step program like Nar-Anon and Al-Anon. It was originally created in 1971 for parents of children that are concerned about their childrens drug use. Now, it is more generalized and geared toward anyone that has a family member struggling with addiction.

    Approaches To Talking To Loved Ones About Addiction

    For many families, the prospect of approaching substance abuse is so daunting that they would rather hide the problem than confront their loved one. Its important to remember that while it may be uncomfortable, facing the problem actually provides a path to healing and reconciliation. Denial only sets up further barriers to recovery.

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    How You Can Help Someone Who Is In Recovery

    Family involvement is just one of the ways in which you can help your loved one when theyre in treatment. It allows counselors and doctors to get a better understanding of the patient as well as their behavioral patterns and habits. Other ways in which you can help your loved one include:

    • Getting involved: Attend family therapy and express your feelings. This will allow them to get a better idea of how their addiction affects everyone around them. Its also a great way to show that you support your loved ones Recovery because you are willing to invest the time and effort to help them heal.
    • Communicating with them: Once the blackout period is lifted, you will likely be allowed some contact with your loved ones. Communication can be very difficult, and a seemingly safe conversation can spiral into a heated argument. Find a mode of communication that works for both of you, be it phone calls, emails or in-person visits. Use it as an opportunity to verbalize your support.
    • Offering support: Saying youre there for your loved one is one thing, but support goes beyond that. Talk positively about the future and of your loved ones progress. Let them know theyre not alone.
    • Trusting but being mindful: Its important to maintain trust throughout the Recovery process, but its also important to remember not to fall into old habits. Show your loved one that you trust them, but be aware of old behaviors that may be problematic or harmful.

    Substance Abuse: How Big Is The Problem

    Family Roles When Addiction Takes Hold

    In popular cultural stereotypes of the American family, drugs and alcohol are not part of a happy household. Yet statistics indicate that the problem of substance abuse affects people from all walks of life, including parents, children, spouses, and partners living in otherwise normal homes. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health of 2014, one out of 10 Americans age 12 and older used an illicit drug in the past 30 days a number higher than any year since 2002. The primary reasons for this increase include the rise in abuse of marijuana and nonmedical use of prescription drugs, especially narcotic pain relievers like OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, and fentanyl.

    Alcohol abuse is also prevalent among American households. Out of the 139.7 million Americans age 12 and older who reported drinking alcohol in 2014, 16.3 million defined themselves as heavy drinkers, and 60.9 reported that they were binge drinkers, according to the NSDUH.

    The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as the consumption of 4-5 drinks in a two-hour period, while heavy drinking is defined as the consumption of five or more alcoholic beverages on five or more days within the past month.

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    Recovery For Family Members Of The Addict

    Addiction doesn’t only impact the addict, family members need to recover from the addict too.

    If there is a dual diagnosis, which is so often the case in addiction, the diagnosis of drug addiction is properly dealt with by removing the substance, but the underlying diagnosis, for example of depression, anxiety or PTSD, may not be dealt with. Recovery is more than recovering from drug abuse. It is also about recovering from the other diagnosis or the symptoms that may have been self-medicated in the first place. And finally, the addict will still need to engage in a full recovery process in order to deal with the emotional and psychological complications that stemmed from their addiction. If they do not accomplish this, they are asking both themselves and their family members to live with emotional and psychological burdens that can keep the family and the individuals within it mired in dysfunctional patterns of relating that get passed along through the generations, commonly referred to as “passing on the pain”.

    APA ReferenceStaff, H. . Recovery For Family Members of the Addict, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, December 15 from

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