The family is just as much affected by addiction as is the individual addict or alcoholic. The family is usually torn apart and in turmoil by the time someone seeks out treatment. Living with addiction can put family members under unusual stress. Normal routines are constantly being interrupted by unexpected or even frightening kinds of experiences that are part of living with alcohol and drug use.
Addiction Recovery support groups such as those made available by Canadian Addiction Recovery Network are available for the friends and family of people suffering from addiction (alcohol and drugs, respectively). While these types of support services are important for making connections with others who may be trying to navigate day-to-day life with addiction in the family, so is seeking professional therapy. Individual therapy for each family member, not just the addict, is important for the mental health of both the addict’s spouse or partner and children, and meeting with a therapist as a family can help improve communication among family members, re-balance the family dynamic and give family members a safe environment to express their anger, fear and other concerns. Family therapy may also be helpful in preventing the children of addicts from succumbing to the disease themselves.
The family that doesn’t want to recovery or just sends a loved one to treatment may also be a cause for relapse when the treated individual returns home. The family that has not recovered can often verbally and emotionally attack the individual out of unresolved issues and resentments.
Families must recover too.