How Addiction Impacts the Individual and the Family

If someone close to you needs alcohol rehab, has been to rehab or is going to rehab, addiction has changed you – and probably not for the better. The thing about addiction is that it doesn’t just affect the person taking the drinks or using the drugs. Its insidious effects extend to everyone who enters the addict’s life, often even peripherally. That’s why addiction is often referred to as a family disease.

Addiction Makes You Try to Fix the Addict

When someone you love needs alcohol rehab, you’ll often have a false belief in your own ability to help them overcome their addiction. If you’re like many loved ones of alcoholics and addicts, you’ll strive to make your addicted loved one happy. You’ll do whatever it takes to make them not need to drink.

Unfortunately for you, nothing you can do can make your addicted loved one not need to drink or use drugs. Your loved one’s addiction is not about you. It’s not about the environment they’re in. It’s not about whether they have a demanding job or they’re coming home to a messy house (or a spotless house, or a hot meal on the table). It’s about their physical dependence on alcohol or drugs, and their willingness to sacrifice everything in order to continue feeding a physical need that, to them, feels like a matter of life and death.

Addiction Makes You Controlling

As the loved one of an addict, you’ll soon begin to feel overwhelmed and anxious. This will make you desperate to exert total control over your environment. If you have kids, for example, you might become overly strict and protective, butting into their relationships and hovering over them constantly at every moment of the day. If you have a position of authority at work, you might micro-manage your subordinates, making more and more rules and establishing more and more restrictions in order to express your need for control.

Addiction Creates Worry

When one family member needs alcohol rehab, you’ll naturally worry all the more about those who don’t. You’ll worry excessively about things going wrong for parents, children, siblings, spouses or others who aren’t the addict. You’ll worry about things going wrong for you, too. Your whole life will become more difficult as a result.

You Will Obsess About the Addict’s Behavior

You’ll spend most of your time fixated on the behavior of the person in need of alcohol rehab. Thoughts like “What if he/she drives drunk?” “Will he/she drink tonight?” and “How will I take care of him/her if he/she drinks too much?” will become almost the only thoughts you ever have. You will stop thinking about yourself and stop taking care of your own needs. When someone you love needs to go to alcohol rehab, your own needs become very much secondary. Over time, neglect of your own needs causes you to suffer more and more.

Denial Will Keep You From Seeing the Truth

Perhaps the most powerful, most normal and most damaging aspect of addiction is denial. If someone you love needs to go to alcohol rehab, you will pretend there isn’t a problem, or that the problem isn’t that bad, right up until something happens that forces you to acknowledge that your loved one is literally drying right before your eyes. Denial is what makes the family of a drunk driver who kills herself and several others swear that they had no idea she was a drunk. Denial is what makes loving parents turn a blind eye to a child who abuses drugs and alcohol constantly. Denial is what makes husbands and wives believe their alcoholic and addict spouses when they say that this time, they’re really going to quit, honest.

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance someone in your life needs to go to alcohol rehab – or maybe the person who needs rehab is you. The sooner you can put aside denial and ask for the help you need, the sooner you and your loved ones can get back to living a normal life. Both addicts and their families need help to heal the wounds left by addiction.

FHE Health can help. Call 844-299-0618.

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