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Repairing Family Relationships Damaged by Addiction

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Repairing Family Relationships Damaged by Addiction


Addiction is a chronic disease with great potential to negatively impact a person’s life and health. Its effects often exceed far beyond the addict, leaving in its wake a trail of damaged relationships with long-lasting repercussions on every individual’s life.

Foremost of which is the family. The cost of addiction on families, although the effect may differ depending on family structure, is always with disastrous consequences. When an addict has a family, the disease can wreck the home and the family can fall apart. With the right kind of help, repairing the damaged family relationships is possible.


Addiction is a Family Disease              

Addiction does not only develop from abusing substances or alcohol. A person can be addicted to cigarettes, shopping, gambling, video games, the internet and even fast food if the form of addiction begins to rule one’s life. It develops into a full-blown addiction once the activity drains your finances and demands your attention at the cost of your health or lifestyle and relationships.

When a family member develops addiction, it becomes a family-wide disease because it causes stress to all the people living in the same house and to other closely associated people. Addiction can potentially interfere with family life and routines as the addicted member behaves erratically, depending on several states: sober, drunk, high, or recovering.

A family member who is in active the throes of addiction may try to manipulate loved ones if it can be the means and resources to support their bad habit. It is also quite common to lie about the quantity or frequency of their addictive indulgence. It may take awhile for the entire family to recognize the red flags that a loved one has an addiction. There may be denials as the member in question may even persuade everyone that it is just an episode and will not happen again. Unfortunately, addiction is a recurring event.

Once the signs are clearly written on the wall, family members may react by stepping in to offer help. In some cases, however, the family does not have a unified decision to help the addicted member, believing that a tough stance on the situation must be taken. As more discussions and disagreements follow, the family can go into turmoil while the addicted member continues to feed his or her addiction unnoticed.

Unfortunately, the children in a home become the biggest victims of addiction if they are raised in a household where a parent or another family member has an addiction problem. These children have four times chances of developing an addiction of their own, developing behavioral problems, and falling into more trouble in various settings.


Recognizing Addiction within the Family

Knowing the signs that indicate a family member might be engaged in any form of addiction will assist in seeking and finding the right type of treatment for that loved one before irreparable damage occurs.

A hallmark of addiction, particularly substance abuse, is a significant change in behaviour. The problem may not be immediately noticeable, and if parents and other family members do not pay attention, addiction may develop further. Certainly, there are behavioral changes that may lead the family to suspect that a member is into addiction, including:


  • Isolation and withdrawal from family, friends and the community
  • Abandonment of responsibilities
  • Carrying out secretive habits
  • Involvement in risky activities


A variety of physical factors may also serve as warning signs that someone in the family has started or developed an addiction. The following signs are easy to spot:


  • Lack or loss of coordination
  • Significant change in appetite and weight
  • Bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils


The Impact of Addiction at Home

Family members have a role to play in maintaining and improving balance and stability of the whole unit. When a member develops addiction, the roles each one play change to adjust to the new behavior manifested due to the disease so that the family can still maintain a relatively stable equilibrium. The family dynamics are, however, no longer the same as when members used to interact in healthy ways.

Addiction can drive a wedge firmly between an addict and the people nearest and dearest to him or her. All the closest personal relationships have the potential to be damaged. Addiction can affect and hurt the whole family, from parents to spouse, siblings, children, and friends. The tension, arguments, and miscommunication can increase the level of stress and general negativity felt by the family.

Precisely because of emotional distress and anxiety pervading the domestic atmosphere, the overall family relationship is strained as each member feels a variety of intense emotions, ranging from anger, hate, guilt, blame and fear. The unpredictable nature caused by addiction can cause trust to be an issue, as other family members constantly feel on the edge to stay alert from the lies and actions of the addicted loved one.

The good news is that there is always hope and help to repair damaged relationships, especially if family members and friends can learn more about this disease.


Recovering from Addiction and Rebuilding Family Relationships

There are a variety of treatment approaches to treating addiction, including medication, behavioral therapies, or their combination. With relapse as the biggest challenge for one who has gone through medically-assisted detox and rehabilitation, it underscores the importance of stopping addiction with aftercare.

The key to healing from addiction and restoring the family relationship after a member has hurt the unit, let you down, caused considerable disappointment, and caused chaos in several instances, is to find a good therapist who can help with aftercare. The most commonly used approach is family therapy. Study after study shows it is effective and beneficial for almost everyone in the family, from the one struggling with addiction down to the other members.

If your family is tainted by addiction, you are most likely cognizant of the fact that the disease affects not only the addicted member but all of you. Regardless of all the negative emotions, you still believe that your loved one needs your family support, encouragement and strength. Today is the day to get help for him or her!

If the addicted member is ready to seek treatment, call Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC to find out the family therapy options available. Having your loved one receive treatment while the family also participates in the therapy, helps educate all of you about the disease. Everyone learns to interact in a healthier way and can then be better able to extend support to a loved one in need.

The loving and supportive environment created by family therapy essentially promotes healing for all members. The perfect time to start fixing family relationships ruined by addiction is in treatment. With help, it is entirely possible for the recovering member to rebuild healthy relationships once again.

If the addicted family member refuses to receive treatment, it does not mean you cannot pursue counseling on your own, especially if you feel somehow responsible for or if you want to learn how to stop addiction on the family track. The right fit family therapist independently contracted with CCS – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC will work with you for healing to take place within your family. Contact us now!

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services

Counties: Cumberland, Bladen and Sampson Counties, NC
Areas: Fayetteville NC, Ft Bragg NC, Pope Field NC, Sliver City NC, Linden NC, Bowmore NC, Autryville NC, Bunnlevel NC, Erwin NC, Dundarrach NC, Pineview NC, Rex NC, Lemon Springs NC, Johnsonville NC, Eastover NC, Stedman NC and Wade, NC
Zip Codes: 28311, 28395, 28390, 28356

Counseling Information

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  • Call: 910-636-0011 (Fastest way to schedule)
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Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office, Fayetteville, NC

422 McArthur Road, Suite 2
FayettevilleNC 28311

Our Mailing Address:

PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311

Choose your Therapist

  • Becky Clark, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Anxiety, Depression, Individuals, Couples, Geriatrics, Criminal Justice, Stress Management, Loss and Grief related to death, disability, divorce, deployment, “empty nest”, retirement and other major life transitions
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare, and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Fayetteville, NC