Families of drug or alcohol abusers go through a lot of painful feelings as they struggle with their loved ones’ addiction. Sometimes these family members are overlooked as help is being offered to the person with the drug or alcohol problem. New initiatives have been formed in recent years that focus on a family approach to addiction treatment, and it has proven to be a benefit to not only the addict, but also to his or her family as well. Support groups have also been organized that help family and friends deal with those with addictions.
Support for Spouses of Addicts
It has been said that alcoholism is a family disease, affecting the entire family. Perhaps spouses are the first to notice a problem with addiction, and their lives may change the most. A once-loving spouse and parent to their kids becomes withdrawn, depressed, unreliable, and hard to spend time with. It is very painful to watch someone you love wreck themselves over substances.
Support for Parents of Addicts
Parents go through much pain also as they watch a child struggle with addiction. Feelings of helplessness, failure, and embarrassment are common in these situations, and often parents question where they went wrong and don’t know how to fix it.
Support for Children of Addicts
Children, however, may often suffer the most. To not have the parent around to care for them properly or to spend time with them takes its toll on children. Abuse and neglect commonly go along with parents that do drugs or are alcoholics, and these kids suffer greatly. It is common for these kids to go on to abuse substances themselves one day.
Because addiction has such a strong effect on the family of an addict, it is important for families to receive support themselves. Al-Anon and Alateen (for younger family members) offer help and hope to addicts’ families. Al-Anon holds regular meetings throughout the country for family members to share their experiences, learn from other people’s stories, and be encouraged to find their own strength and happiness.
Family Addiction Therapy
Many drug and alcohol treatment facilities also offer help to families and encourage family therapy. This offers benefits to family members, and it may improve treatment for the addict. Often, families can provide support and resources to help the addict live without the substance. Sometimes the family is even motivation for an abuser to succeed in treatment, such as a mother who works extra hard to overcome addiction in order to be with her children again.
For those family members suffering in silence while a loved-one abuses drugs or alcohol, there is help out there for both the addict and the family. It is important to encourage the addict to get treatment and counseling to overcome the addiction. It is also important for the family to or treatment in order to move on with their lives. And even if the drug addict or alcoholic won’t free themselves from the substance, their family members can and should get help so they aren’t left suffering alone with the problem.