Drug addiction is a family disease. This is a proven fact that becomes obvious when you look at Asheville, NC families where one member is addicted to drugs. The prolonged drug abuse negatively impacts the consumer’s physical health, impairs their mental functioning, and damages their spirit. It also takes its toll on the entire family’s finances and physical and psychological wellbeing. In the following lines, we will explore the impact of drug addiction on the addict’s family.
Drug Addiction Impact on the Addict’s Family
One person’s drug addiction affects not only that respective person but also their immediate and even extended family members. Each member takes on one or several roles in the family, to ensure that family’s stability, balance, and well being.
When drug addiction sets in, roles within the family change, to adjust to the new dynamic. Six common roles have been identified in the families where one member is addicted to drugs. We will review them in the following lines:
- The Addict – Some addicts feel guilty and ashamed for putting their loved ones through so much pain and trouble and are willing to work to overcome their addiction. Others only care about the pleasure they get from the drug and will continue to abuse it no matter what. The addict’s attitude often makes the difference between them having their family by their side and losing everything to their vice.
- The Enabler – The non-addicted spouse or, in single-parent families, an older child usually takes on this role. This person takes over all the things and responsibilities the addict neglects. They may take care of finances, get the children ready for school, and find excuses for the addict’s behavior in society and at work. The enabler is often in denial, minimizing the severity of the situation and refusing to sign them up into a drug rehabilitation program.
- The Scapegoat – In an addict’s family, one of the children will start misbehaving and defying authority. They will get into trouble both at home and in school. Some may even break the law and suffer the consequences. Their behavior is a response to the chaos at home.
- The Hero – One of the children often assumes this role, displaying confidence and responsibility. They take on a parental role and obligations well beyond their developmental stage. As they tend towards perfection and responsibilities accumulate, the role becomes more difficult to maintain.
- The Lost Child: One of the addict’s family members often isolates themselves from the rest. They have trouble building and maintaining relationships. They find social situations difficult to manage and may engage in fantasy play to escape the negative environment in their home.
- The Mascot: Each person deals with difficulties differently. While some rebel and others take on additional responsibilities, at least one person will make fun of everything they cannot control. It is just a coping and defense mechanism. Comedy often seems to provide temporary relief, so the mascot turns to it to help themselves and others throughout the hard times.
These roles are important because, when established at a young age, they turn into behavioral patterns. The person taking them will maintain them throughout their adulthood. When the roles are established later, the line between parent-child and parent-friend relationship often fades. With it, the family’s chances of returning to a normal life diminish too.
Leaving roles aside, it is important to note that drug addiction often has severe repercussions. In the best case scenario, the addicted person receives ongoing, unconditional support from their loved ones and manages to overcome their addiction.
There are also situations in which, after trying and failing, the addict’s spouse gives up on them and files for divorce, cutting all ties. It is not uncommon for the addict’s spouse to remain by their side and accept their behavior without considering the long-term implications.
Long-Term Implications of Drug Addiction for the Addict’s Family
Drug addiction can have serious repercussions on Asheville families’ dynamic. On one hand, the drug addict may lose self-control and may resort to violence, sexual abuse, or cheat on their spouse. On the other hand, children raised to families where one parent is addicted to drugs are irremediably affected.
Some develop a poor self-image, isolate themselves from their peers, and feel overwhelmed by guilt, anxiety, and loneliness. They feel helpless, fear abandonment, and often give in to depression. Some of these children living with an addictive parent or some other family member will develop an addiction themselves. Others will marry an addict or abusive person.
Things do not look better when it comes to finances either. Drugs are prohibitively expensive and addiction often favors other behaviors that are costly to maintain. Most family budgets will be depleted. This may result in malnourished and undereducated children. The children may be left to fend for themselves and, to do that, they may engage in illegal activities.
Taking these into account, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the impact of drug addiction destroys families. If it does not lead to divorce, it destroys the family members’ future and ability to form functional families.
Protect Your Family and Get Help Overcoming You or Your Loved One’s Drug Addiction Now!
If you or a loved one are addicted to drugs, every day that goes by irremediably affects your family. Protect your relationship and your loved ones now by getting professional help! You will find the support and solutions you need at Asheville Recovery Center. Call or fill in the online form to schedule a free consultation now!