Addiction affects the entire family, so it would not be unheard of if you got sick from your loved ones drug or alcohol use. This is why we refer to addiction as being a “family disease,” but just what do we mean by that, how could this be affecting your loved ones recovery, and can you fix it?
Addiction Is A Family Disease
It is sometimes difficult to believe that you could get sick from your loved ones actions – especially addiction. You aren’t abusing drugs or alcohol, so how could you be sick from this disease? These are the questions that many family members have and they are valid questions which we hope we can answer in this article.
You see, when someone in your life that is close to you is suffering from the disease of addiction they act out in destructive behaviors that can drain you emotionally, financially, and physically. Your mental and physical health will start to suffer from the stress, and by the time you may realize that something is wrong, the damage is already done. Here are some many problems you may be struggling with as a result of your loved ones addiction and it is these things that are hurting their recovery, as well as yours.
Being entirely dependent on your loved ones happiness for your own is pretty normal when it comes to an addiction in the family. You may believe that you are somehow to blame for their addiction. Maybe if you showed them love more or if you saw the signs of any other mental health issues prior, then you could have stopped it, but we can’t prevent addiction all the time, even if you think you could have caught it early. Many times that co-dependency leads to people pleasing and not setting healthy boundaries. In more dangerous cases you may buy your loved one drugs or alcohol, give them money for it, or try preventing them from going to rehab or taking them out of treatment because you can’t stand to see them suffer. We have seen this many times and this action has the power to destroy someone’s recovery. Your loved one will most likely not want to be in recovery or treatment for their addiction, so they will do whatever it takes to get you to do what they want you to do. Remember, at this point, they are really good at manipulating you, so you have to be strong and not allow them to use you to get what their disease wants. We are an accredited and licensed treatment center that has been open since 1998, and we want to see your loved one recover, so do not sabotage their chances by pulling them out too early because they told you they hate it, they hate the staff, it’s horrible, etc…these are the excuses that an addict or alcoholic will give you so they can go get drunk or high, even if they don’t know that is what they are trying to do. Addiction is cunning, baffling, and powerful and will manipulate you and your loved one to get its fix.
Many find themselves obsessed to trying to save their loved one from addiction. It can be difficult to see the difference between enabling and supporting your loved one when you are in the middle of it. Enabling is an action that hurts both you and them and can spotted easier when you really step back, listen to suggestions from professionals, and set healthy boundaries. If you are paying for their habit, buying their way out of legal troubles, and allowing them to stay with you while they use or drink, then you just might be enabling their addiction. If you are helping them find and go to treatment, encourage 12-step meetings, and other therapeutic means for recovery, then this would more likely fall under support. The best way to tell if you are supporting vs. enabling is by being honest with your supports, professionals, and with yourself. Try going to Al-Anon or Nar-Anon for extra help, so that you are not alone as you navigate this process.
Recovery Is A Process
Recovery is a process taken one day at a time, so be patient with yourself and your loved one. The less you try to control, the better you actually may be. Taking care of you by going to your support meetings, talking to addiction professionals, seeing therapy, taking up exercise and healthy eating, or just putting your focus on you could help more than you know. As hard as it is, please try not to disrupt your loved ones recovery by engaging in co-dependent or enabling behaviors, so that everyone has the opportunity to heal.
If your loved one is in treatment with us, recently left, or needs treatment, please give us a call at 877-975-4837. We understand the disease of addiction and can help guide your through your specific situation. You are not alone and we are here to help.