There are many factors that contribute to the development of an addiction, including one’s biology or genetics, environment, social group, and also development and behavior. Nobody ever intends to become addicted, but rather individuals become dependent on alcohol or drugs while believing that they are in control of their substance abuse. However, over time the substance abuse begins to affect one’s health, financial stability, career, and even relationships with family and friends. Additionally, the onset of withdrawal symptoms is a clear indication that alcohol or drug abuse is no longer a conscious choice but has become a compulsion.
Addiction is widely referred to as “the family disease” due to the profound effect that an individual’s alcoholism or drug addiction has on his or her loved ones. Due to the desperation that addicts experience while in the throes of addiction—desperate to obtain the money necessary to sustain a drug habit, desperate to keep withdrawal at bay—they often break their loved ones’ trust, becoming unreliable and dishonest and even stealing from loved ones if that’s what is required to get the next fix. Over time, distrust and resentment are added to concern and worry, making it difficult for family members to communicate and empathize with one another. In fact, this is why family therapy is often included an addict’s addiction treatment programming, allowing his or her family to heal from the effects they experienced as part of the individual’s addiction.
Fortunately, there is another important resource for the families and loved ones of alcoholics and addicts. The following will explain how an addict’s disease affects his or her family and how Al-Anon can be instrumental in helping a family to recover from the effects of a loved one’s substance abuse.
Why Families Need Support When a Loved One Suffers from Addiction
For the individuals who have been directly or even indirectly affected by a loved one’s addiction, there are many different layers to the situation that can cause profound damage to the family unit. While in the throes of active addiction, addicts are frequently inconsiderate of others and even themselves. They are impulsive and reckless, considering their choices and decisions based only on whether their behavior will result in another fix. This often means that individuals will readily betray their loved ones if that’s what they need to do to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. As such, the family members of addicts often take these betrayals personally although addicts don’t often mean them in a personal manner. Unfortunately, family members of addicts frequently have only minimal, superficial knowledge about the disease of addiction. With the passage of time and more frequent disappointments, it becomes increasingly difficult for families to understand, empathize, or sympathize with their addicted loved one, harboring feelings of resentment and betrayal that make it difficult to communicate, both with the addict as well as with one another. Moreover, the stress and hardship that a family experiences due to a loved one’s addiction can even affect each family member’s physical and mental health.
The families is always encouraged to seek support when they are dealing with the unfortunate experience of having a loved one who is addicted to alcohol or drugs. The benefits of familial support for addiction are numerous, but one of the main reasons why having support is important for the family of an addict is because that support network becomes a vital resource. In particular, family addiction support is a source of information, helping families to better understand the disease of addiction and their addicted loved one while also being a means of gaining perspective on the situation.
What is Al-Anon?
Similar to supportive fellowships for addicts such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon is a program that’s intended specifically for the family members, friends, and other loved ones of addicts. Much like twelve-step recovery groups, Al-Anon is a self-run group, meaning that it’s run by fellow members rather than professionals. Although this means that no one in Al-Anon is actually qualified to be giving advice or directing family members on how to deal with an addicted loved one, the value of Al-Anon comes from it being a mutual support group in which members voluntarily share their experiences with others.
More specifically, the value of Al-Anon comes from families learning that they are not alone in their struggles with a loved one’s addiction; additionally, families can benefit from considering others’ perspectives of similar or shared experiences. Oftentimes families who are facing addiction feel alone in their struggles, but Al-Anon provides encouragement and support from others who are also being affected by a loved one’s addiction, which is what makes Al-Anon such a unique coping tool for the families of addicts.
Find Help for Yourself or Your Loved One with Recovery Hub
While there are many tools available for individuals to cope with their own addictions, Al-Anon is a valuable tool for those who a being affected by a loved one’s addiction. If you or your loved one is suffering from chemical dependency and is in need of treatment, call Recovery Hub at 1-888-220-4352. Return to a life of health and happiness with a phone call and free consultation today.