While I work a great deal with addicts and alcoholics I also work frequently with the parents, partners and friends of those who are still using. Family members experience pain and suffering as they try to help the addict. Shame, guilt, fear, worry, anger, and frustration are common.
In most cases, the family has had to face the consequences of the family member’s addiction, including the stress of worry, financial issues, and life adjustments made to accommodate the addicted person’s lifestyle.
Blog writer Ed Hughes puts it very well in his online article:
“Addiction leads the addict away from positive influences of the family. The disease twists love, concern, and a willingness to be helpful into a host of enabling behaviors that only help to perpetuate the illness.
Family and friends are usually very busy attempting to help the alcoholic or addict, but the help is of the wrong kind. If directed toward effective strategies and interventions, however, these people become powerful influences in helping the loved one “hit bottom” and seek professional help. At the very least, families can detach themselves from the painful consequences of their loved one’s disease and cease their enabling behaviour.
Please read the rest of his article as well as the reader comments after it to get a sense of how families enable the addict unknowingly and how unhelpful it really is.
10 Ways Family Members Can Help A Loved One With A Drug Or Alcohol Problem
If you want to hang in there with the addict or alcoholic in your family then you must build up a great deal of support around you as well. This includes Nar-Anon or Al-Anon as well as counsellors and other families that have been through or are going through what you are with your family members. If you don’t you will be making decisions that you believe are helping the addict and yourself when in fact you may be making the situation worse. Below is the contact details for Nar – Anon in Melbourne – you don’t have to face this challenge alone.
The Process of Addiction for Families