Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Addiction and the Family

Addiction: Harm to the User and the Family

A drug addiction or alcohol addiction of a family member not only affects the said member per se but also has a serious effect on the people around the user, most especially the loved ones. It is but normal to be ignorant of how to deal with your loved ones who are into alcoholism, substance abuse, drug abuse, etc. It will also be hard to understand why the member of the family resorted to those addictions. Most of the time, the loved ones would have a hard time telling the person to the face that he/she needs to be brought to the treatment center or undergo rehabilitation.

The life of a user is not the only thing that is ruined as soon as addiction has been developed---the life of the family may also be destroyed as they are either hurt physically and emotionally by the user. Drugs or alcohol may be likened to a director who calls out how the actors and actresses (the users) should act, and most of the time, the actions are negative and destructive. The behavior of the user not only results to self destruction but also negatively affects the actions, feelings and thoughts of the people around the user, most especially the family.

Life for the person’s (the one who does substance abuse or is a slave to alcoholism) family will never be normal. This is because users behave in the manner that will most of the time hurt their family. The change in the user’s behavior, e.g. from being a meek child, has become a violent child, often cause the family members to have difficulty in adapting, thus resulting to their own emotional and psychological problems. Now, even the family members are being controlled by the user’s addiction. The most common feelings that family members would experience would be guilt, sometimes blaming themselves for the user’s dependency on drugs, disappointment, fear of whatever the user might do, and a lot more.

The best resort of family members would be to first learn all there is to know about substance abuse as well as alcoholism. As soon as they have an understanding of those subjects, they will be able to start helping the users as well as themselves on the way to recovery. Family members can do their research through the Internet with a lot of online resources available such as sober forums, the Sober Sources network, etc. They also need to learn first how it works in rehabilitation and treatment centers before making a decision of letting the user undergo rehabilitation.

Learning about counseling treatment options will also be a good idea as the user will be needing all the support that he or she could get. As soon as the user has attained sobriety, lapses could be avoided through the mutual support groups as well as self-help resources that gives support continuously for the users to live a drug free life with consistency. These groups support the addict in making lifestyle changes, such as establishing new, drug-free friends and activities, necessary to maintaining abstinence. There are also communities that will help the family members and the loved ones cope from the effects of having an addict within the family.

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