Family roles in addiction are complex. Innocent members of the family are often the silent victims of addiction. They are the ones who suffer the most at the hands of addiction. For this reason, many addiction treatment programs have a form of family group therapy to help aid in healing the broken relationships within the family unit.
Each family member characteristically takes on their own individual role in the lives of addicts. Most do not realize the power that each family role in rehab can have. Sometimes this role may be a positive role, but there are times when the roles that family members play can be negative. This is what makes the relationship between family members and addiction so complicated. Those that often truly believe that they are doing what is best for their addicted loved one often find that their actions and attitude are actually having a negative effect.
Many family members do not want to believe or admit that the person that they love and care so much for has a problem with addiction. Denial is very common, not only for the addict, but for the family as well. It does not matter how much the people around them notice the problems that are stemming from the addiction itself, they will still manage to somehow ignore it. This can often lead to a broken family as the addiction continues to get worse.
Some family members may become enablers. Family members will enable the addiction by paying bills, dealing with an employer about why the addict has not been to work, or putting them to bed when they have passed out high or drunk. These actions will continue every day, every week, and on and on and on. Unfortunately, while the family truly believes that they are helping, the addict will continue to refuse to see the negative consequences of their addiction and eventually, the family will get tired of cleaning up behind them all of the time.
Another role that family members often play is the codependent. The codependent family member will feel guilty about their loved one’s addiction problem. They may feel that they have not done enough to help them recover or they may even believe that the addiction is their fault.
It is just as important for family members of addicts to get addiction help as it is for the addict. Addiction damages and destroys family relationships and healing within the family cannot begin until help is sought. Becoming proactive against the family roles in addiction and choosing to get help in finding your true selves again through family oriented addiction treatment is the first step towards healing the family. Our staff can help find an addiction treatment program that will benefit the entire family and begin the road to recovery.