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Addiction Makes Families Pay a High Price

Many people understand that a person with an addiction really puts their life at risk.  They could die of an overdose, drive drunk or high, get arrested for a bar fight, wreck their internal organs, and ruin their finances.  But what is the long-term fallout for children and their other parent?  Addiction really does a number on marriages, kids, and family behaviors. 

Spouses Deal With Addiction in Marriage

Often a person with an addiction marries someone who is just as unhealthy as they are.  They are either also involved in drugs or alcohol, or they are getting a need met by choosing a person with problems.  So when the chips are down and their spouse is developing a serious addiction, they may have trouble dealing with the choice of staying or leaving. 

Many times, the spouse of an addicted person feels like they have sacrificed a lot.  The addicted person may be gone a lot, isolated, raging, or simply out of it much of the time.  The spouse may feel resentment for putting forth much of the effort to raise a family and keep a marriage going.  Whether parents like it or not, this kind of stress and conflict trickles down to the children.

A non-addicted spouse may decide to reclaim their freedom by ditching parenting responsibilities onto an older child.  Or, they may do everything possible for their children to make up for the chaos, but fail to take good care of themselves.  Sometimes, children have to become the caretakers for parents who have more problems than they can manage. 

Children With Addicted Parents Just Want Their Family Together

No matter what is going wrong, children love their parents and generally want to be a family with them.  So strong is this desire that they will often make unnatural adjustments in their lives to accommodate a drug addiction or alcoholism.  Even if they get a raw deal, their family role and behaviors may actually help hold the family together in some way.

Older children that have left the home are often left feeling mixed emotions about their family life.  They feel awful for their younger siblings stuck in a troubled home.  But they also may feel relief that they have finally escaped themselves.  This can lead to a struggle between establishing their own life path away from the chaos and going back into the family environment to rescue or care for younger siblings. 

Parents With Addiction Can Make Family Gatherings Tough

Some parents with troubled relationships do a better job than others at keeping peace for family events.  Addiction really triggers the self-focused short-sighted parts of human nature, which goes against the spirit of family love.  Parents with addiction in their relationship can become a real sore spot for anyone having a family gathering.  Will Mom be high at my graduation party? 

Can we get through the wedding without Dad storming off drunk and angry?  Will they spend 2 hours at the birthday party bickering and blaming each other for everything?  All in all, a poorly managed drug addiction can wreak havoc in a family’s life for years and years.  Certainly there are families who have pushed through an addiction and changed their lives dramatically for the better.  However, many more have lingering problems and raw emotions ready to pop. 

Drug Rehab Helps Families With Addiction

If you recognize this family situation as your own, take a step toward drug rehab.  Or, if your family member is in this situation, help them get information drug and alcohol rehab.  You won’t just be helping someone with their addiction, you could be saving an entire family.

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