I often felt addiction was my problem and only I could solve it. Why should my family have to suffer for my sins? What a surprise to discover they were overjoyed I wanted to change and they wanted to help.
Addiction* affects all family members. Our loved ones suffer from and contribute to the problem in a variety of ways. Marriages and families usually suffer greatly as a result of drugs and alcohol and rebuilding the lost trust, respect and intimacy, which is a vital path to recovery. Members of alcoholic’s/addict’s families very often become codependent. “Codependency is an unconscious addiction to another person’s abnormal behavior. The addict’s codependent family members do everything possible to hide the problem, preserve the family’s prestige and protect the image of a “perfect family”. They devote their lives in an attempt to control or cure the addiction. The spouse and children may avoid making friends and bringing other people home, in order to hide problems caused by the addiction. Codependent members often forget about their own needs and desires. Unknowingly, codependent family members often become enablers, thus creating a vicious cycle of codependent behavior, and allowing the addict to continue using. Even though the family member believes they are doing everything for the addict, they must be willing to identify signs of codependency and seek support groups or individual counseling.
Marin Drug Recovery believes it is essential for all family members to be included for the greatest chance of overall success.
*Addiction to drugs or alcohol is the same problem necessitating similar levels of treatment. The terms addict and alcoholic can be used interchangeably.
“I was afraid family involvement in my recovery would drive my loved ones further away. Little did I know it would bring them much closer.”, B.F. 2015
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