Suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol is an isolating experience, and individuals can feel alone in their battles with substance abuse and its consequences. While these intense feelings are prevalent, addiction does not affect people in isolation, and entire families are impacted by one person’s use. From spouses to parents and children alike, a family member suffering from addiction affects everyone, and professional help is necessary to understand how to address and overcome the effects of addiction and begin the healing process for the whole family.
Addiction and Isolation
It is common for those struggling with drugs or alcohol to engage in many self-isolating practices. For some, hiding the use of drugs or alcohol comes with distancing oneself from friends and family, while others may feel as if their situation would not be understood by others, compromising their willingness to reach out.
Regardless of these isolationist tendencies, addiction has a drastic effect on many people, from friends and coworkers to close family members. It can be impossible to truly separate one’s use from their family.
Addiction and Children
Children can be most at risk for the effects of addiction. Parents struggling with the use of addictive substances affect children in many different ways, impacting one’s childhood to formative teenage years and beyond. For some, drugs or alcohol may replace other activities as one prioritizes the use of addictive substances, creating an emotional schism between a parent and their child.
Not being actively engaged in hobbies or interests or skipping out on birthdays or other celebrations all have lasting effects on children. Doing so compromises their feelings of self-worth and brings a myriad of other detrimental effects. Mood swings as a result of addiction can compromise communication and establish a fragile, tense, and stressful home atmosphere for children to navigate.
Children do not need to fully understand the science behind addiction in order to be affected by it, and many children are more aware of addiction and its impact than one may realize. Some children may be exposed to these substances at a young age, normalizing their use and putting them at risk for underage use and experimentation. Others may harbor resentments, sadness, and other negative emotions that can reframe a child’s perspective and continue to adversely affect their relationships. These tense relationships can affect a child for years, changing how they approach other relationships and future dynamics.
Lastly, addiction also has a myriad of effects on the body and is a disease that can even put future children at risk for a genetic predisposition for developing an addiction themselves. Understanding the impact of substance use on a child’s emotional and physical health can be the catalyst for change a parent needs to challenge their use of addictive substances.
Compromising a Home
A person’s spouse is equally as affected by their use of addictive substances. Oftentimes, spouses, children, and other family members are aware of their loved one’s destructive use of these substances long before they reach out for help. Spouses can feel the emotional and physical barriers of addiction as trust deteriorates or as aspects of their partner’s identity begin to change, giving birth to extreme anxiety and depression. Feelings of guilt are common in spouses as well. Spouses often suffer from being torn between prioritizing their own emotional health and stress, the desire to support another, and their own feelings of anger.
Having a family member suffering from addiction also changes home dynamics, especially as a person may eschew responsibilities or accountability and place these burdens on a spouse or other family members. This tense atmosphere can create a pervasive “walking on eggshells” feeling, where the walls feel thin and families must dance around delicate language, bringing more stress into daily life for all.
The Finances of Addiction
Addiction can be difficult to track, and individuals suffering from the disease may not truly realize how much they are spending on drugs or alcohol. The financial cost of addiction is high, and those struggling to manage their use may compromise other budgets to continue engaging with these substances. From meals and rent to other bills, families as a whole can suffer from the indirect financial cost of addiction as they are labored with these expenses.
Legal costs can also be exceptionally devastating. Families may be tasked with paying for mistakes their loved ones made while under the influence. Public intoxication, DUIs, and mistakes made due to their use of addictive substances can all carry a large financial burden for the family. The loss of a person’s job due to their use of addictive substances can add to this financial burden.
Whether an individual is acutely aware or not, addiction is a family disease, and their actions and use of drugs or alcohol impact those they love most. Although, detox and family programs are the first steps toward rebuilding these relationships in sobriety. Approaching recovery as a unified front and acknowledging the way in which children, spouses, and other family members are affected is the beginning of creating a healthy, sober future together.
Addiction affects entire families, and there is no way to truly prevent one’s use from affecting one’s children, family, or spouse. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we understand the widespread effects of addiction and are prepared to work with you to challenge urges and cravings. We will work with you to create a personalized plan to rebuild relationships and a healthy familial unit. With our comprehensive approach to detox and recovery, we are prepared to create a plan that addresses your needs while instilling the communication skills and coping strategies necessary to begin your own family healing program. Our unique approach to treatment and recovery is personalized each step of the way, helping us adapt the best therapeutic approaches and strategies to help you meet your unique goals for sobriety and the health of your family. For more information, call to speak with us today at (949) 426-7962.