Addiction is a Family Disease

addiction family holding hands

When you or somebody you love is struggling with addiction, it is often referred to as a family disease because of the impact the addiction has on the individual struggling and those around them. Being a family member of someone who is struggling can be extremely difficult because of the emotional turmoil that occurs while watching a loved one grapple with their battle with addiction. 

Some of the emotions that may arise from being a bystander to a loved one’s addiction include fear, anger, sadness, shame, guilt, anxiety and/ or depression. The emotions of helplessness and hopelessness are commonly experienced as you are forced to watch your loved one self-destruct. These feelings can evoke a belief that your loved one’s struggle with addiction is your responsibility: “Their pain is your pain; their struggle is your struggle.” 

The impact of addiction on family members may cause one or more family members to take on the responsibility as a care-taker to show their love and support. This may lead to co-dependent behaviour within the family leading to enabling the addict. Though care-taking comes from a place of love and support for the loved-one, the struggle will still continue until the addict is ready and willing to seek help. It is important to remember that your loved one must first want the help for themselves before any lasting change may occur. 


So What Can You Do to Help?

Seek Support for Yourself

A helpful way you and your family can support a loved-one who is suffering from addiction is to seek out support for yourself. Dealing with the adjustments you have made in your life to cope with someone who is struggling with addiction has its own set of intricate difficulties. It is useful to become aware of your experiences mentally and emotionally in order to become stronger when your loved one is ready for their journey to sobriety. Being able to cope with your living situation will enable the family to offer the appropriate support when your loved-one decides to ask for help. Organizations such as Al-Anon are a great place to start when searching out support for yourself and other family members.

Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries with your loved-one will require you to set clear limits. Communicate clearly what you are willing to do to offer support and where it ends. Be clear and upfront with your boundaries, allow yourself to say no to things that will enable their addiction.

Be Present During Treatment

When a loved-one seeks support and begins their journey into their recovery, they undergo a great deal of challenges. Letting your loved-one know that you are there and willing to support them with what they need will reduce some of the anxiety and fear surrounding treatment and recovery. The support offered to a loved-one during treatment will play a large role in the recovery process.

Life as you know it has changed and there is only so much you can do for your loved-one until they can admit they have a problem and express the desire to seek recovery. The Farm in Stouffville can be of assistance to you or a family member currently struggling with addiction, please contact us today. We are always here to help. Call us any time at 1-877-353-2777.