Addiction is often called a family disease. It could even be called a community disease. Its effects are that far-reaching.
For the moment, let’s focus on how your addiction may be affecting your friends and family. You may believe that it doesn’t, but the truth is, it does.
If you are addicted to any substance, there’s a good chance you have no idea how it fully affects you, or you may not care. This is common. Many addicts suffer from an extreme sense of low self-worth, and are often indifferent to the effects that drugs and alcohol may be having on their health, their appearance, their finances and other areas of their lives. You simply may not care enough about yourself to stop.
You love your family, though. And you care about your friends. You don’t want to see them hurt. So, in order to keep using drugs and feel okay about it, you may have a thick layer of denial that tells you that they are simply not affected by your problem.
They are. Let’s Talk About Denial
Denial is a powerful defense mechanism that develops in order to protect your addiction and to guard against reality. Denial takes many forms, and it also protects you from having to deal with the full weight of your actions. It is one of the biggest barriers to admitting you have a problem and getting help.
One common way denial protects you from reality is through minimizing. Minimizing may lead you to believe that something is “no big deal” when it really is. Some examples:
“I don’t know what she is getting so worried about, the accident wasn’t serious.”
“Yes, I overdosed, but I’m fine now, quit overreacting.”
“It was just $20 that I took, it’s not like she isn’t going to be able to pay her bills, she has plenty of money.”
“I don’t use that much, you don’t know anything about it.”
The problem is that your family knows full well that people die from car accidents and overdoses every single day. They know that you are not somehow immune to these things, even if you think you are. Your family is terrified every single day that they are going to get a phone call from the police or the coroner saying that they have lost you. This is what keeps them up at night. This is what keeps them from being able to fully relax, and from being able to really enjoy life or have any peace.
Do you ever:
Everyone has the right to feel safe in his or her home. Waking up to strange people in your house, or stumbling across drug paraphernalia or having to constantly live in fear of angry outbursts and verbal or physical abuse means that you don’t feel safe. This isn’t fair.
Having your own family member stealing money from you is a horrible feeling. Knowing you can’t leave your purse or wallet around your own child, best friend or sibling is something no one should have to go through. It’s exhausting having to constantly worry about getting ripped off.
Over time, dealing with an addicted loved one takes a toll physically, mentally and emotionally. Here are some common ways it can impact the lives of those you love.
Depression and Anxiety: Family members of addicts, especially parents and spouses often develop depression and anxiety. They may have panic attacks. This is often due to constant worry and fear, exhaustion and lack of self-care.
Children of addicts may suffer in silence. They may suffer from insomnia, may have accidents at night, may act out at school or start getting bad grades. This can often result in consequences and punishment. Their self-esteem plummets. They often go on to use drugs themselves.
People who have to deal with addiction often don’t eat right or get enough rest. They may lose or gain weight, experience stomach problems and muscle tension. They may snap at or lash out at other family members, which can contribute to the next problem.
Relationship Problems: Parents of addicts may experience polarization when it comes to dealing with their addicted child. One parent may wish to take the “tough love” approach, while one wants to continue offering support. This causes major strain on the relationship. Parents don’t have time for each other anymore, and they are constantly worried. It isn’t uncommon for marriages to end in divorce over their children’s drug or alcohol problem.
They may miss work because they are dealing with a family member’s legal issues, or because they didn’t get sleep last night. They may be late for work frequently and performance may suffer. They may lose their job and means to support themselves altogether.
These are just a few ways in which addiction affects the lives of friends and family. They are hurting, and they don’t know what to do. Worse yet, they may have to deal with your anger, verbal attacks or ridicule when they express their fears and feelings to you. This type of emotional abuse is common from addicts, and it is often unintentional.
If you are the family member of an addicted person, you may be at your wit’s end. You may have tried begging, bribing and threatening, and none of it has worked. The next step is an intervention. An intervention means bringing in an impartial third party to help your loved one understand the severity of their behavior and actions. Interventions work in over 90% of cases. This is an extremely high success rate. A professional intervention specialist not only helps your loved one, but also helps the whole family.
Call Intervention Services, Inc. today to begin the process of healing your family. They will be with you from the beginning of the process all the way to the end, and will provide the support your family so desperately needs. Call 1-877-478-4621 and start planning your intervention this week.