When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it affects everyone. From siblings to parents to partners to children to the local barista, everyone who interacts with an addict experiences some ramifications.
If you are feeling isolated, tired or scared and you live with or amongst an addict, their addiction might be the cause of your pain. The effects of drug abuse on family and society are many, so the problem could be manifesting in your life in many ways.
The first step in remedying the problem is to identify that there is a problem; that there is someone in your life who has a dependency on or bad behavior with drugs or alcohol.
Once you identify the problem, it is not as easy as curing the individual and making all trouble disappear. Instead, you will need to help yourself, first. Finding ways to put distance between you and this person, to keep yourself healthy and strong, to understand what this person is up against in order to avoid anger and blame.
Above all, know you are not alone. Millions of innocent people are affected every day by the abuse of addictive substances.
Effects of substance abuse on family relationships:
Family members of alcoholics
When a parent has a drug or alcohol abuse problem, everyone in the family feels the effects. Children are first to experience extreme consequences of their parents drinking. They tend to ignore the situation or act out against the situation, feeling helpless in either scenario. As a child, the biggest sense of security comes from being taken care of (food, shelter, love) by one’s parents. Without that protection and provision, children feel uncertain, scared, ashamed and angry.
Once the children are affected, other family members might stop in to protect the kids, whether the abuse is mental or emotional. As relatives try to help the problem so the kids can live safely, they take on the burden of someone refusing to care for themselves (financially, emotionally, physically), thus reducing the quality of life for their children.
Partners of substance abusers
Excuses are unlimited when the person you love is addicted to drugs or alcohol or has a consistently bad reaction to either. Your partner will make excuses, and you will make excuses for them to yourself and to your friends. Eventually, you might turn the blame on yourself, wondering if you are not providing sufficient love.
Parents and sibling of young substance abusers
When one child or teen in the family is struggling with substance abuse, all energy and resources go to helping this person. This leaves parents failing to work through their own drama, leaving the other siblings’ pettier problems unaddressed or unnoticed and leaving the entire family tense because they don’t know how to help the child or teen they love so much.
Ultimately, when someone is not taking care of themselves or unable to because of addiction, this person’s family members suffer as they absorb the care-taking duties of the addict.
If your life is being affected by someone with a substance abuse problem, there are resources to help you. Be it a parent, a partner, a child or a friend, this individual’s choices and addictions are likely bringing your life down. To understand more about dependency, abuse, and the resources available to help you through this scary time, please reach out to United Recovery Project. We have the knowledge, experience, and resources to make sure you stay healthy and to help the problematic person in your life get back on his or her feet.