When there is an addict in the home it changes everything. The entire family is changed
as a result of alcohol or drugs. The family system attempts to make adjustments. As a result it becomes way out of balance.
Some of these adjustments are understandable but in the long term not healthy. They
often lead to the demise of the family unit.
Here’s what families do in their dysfunction to cope:
Enable the Addict
It is understandable why families try to enable the addict. The stress is high and it appears
there is little the family can do to make a difference. After all, the addict has all the
Each member has decisions to make.
They can decide to:
- quit making excuses for the addict
- stop taking responsibility for their use of alcohol or drugs
- refuse to minimize the impact put on the family because of addiction
- stop enabling
Play the Blame Game
There is plenty of blame to go around in this highly charged family. The inhibitions of the addict are lower and the tensions run high.
It makes total sense there is poor judgment. Decisions are either abandoned or put off on others who either don’t have clear understanding of the responsibility or refuse to take it. Ultimately there are unintended consequences happening very often. These have to be
attended to and take up a lot of the families focus.
Ironically, in the dysfunction it actually may take the focus off the addict for a moment while the crisis it tended.
The only way to make this process stop is to begin taking responsibility for what your
own choices. Set boundaries and say no more to the blame game.
Using has become so much of an obsession it feels like the addict is having an affair. In
some ways it has similar characteristics:
- Attention is focused away from you
- Time is spent more with alcohol or drugs and on seeking opportunities to use than on your relationship
- If put to the test, the mistress ‘addiction’ wins the affection
What can you do? Does it give you reason or justification to cheat? It is clear you need to make a choice about the relationship. If you decide it is over, then you choose to end it, but if you remain committed to the relationship learn what you can do to establish healthy boundaries. Learn to take care of yourself regardless of the decision of the addict.
Families with addicts have challenges you can get help for your addict
Written by Wendell Montney