How Substance Abuse and Alcoholism Affects the Family – Reach Recovery
There is a common misconception that substance abusers believe. They often think “I am only hurting myself.” This is not a true belief. In fact, dependency upon chemicals causes one to behave in ways that hurt the people closest to them. It:
1- Dominates the user’s thoughts and priorities.
2- Occupies the user’s time, money, and attention.
3- Deteriorates the user’s values and behavior.

What impact does this behavior have on the family? It creates constant unpredictability. Family members struggle to adapt to the unstable ways of the user:
1- The non-user begins to develop emotional and physical problems.
2- Family member becomes filled with anger, guilt, shame, hurt, fear, and loneliness.
3- They can suffer from rejection, abandonment, and other forms of abuse.
What’s really at stake for the families of substance abuse or alcoholism?
Unfortunately, this is a lose/lose situation for everyone.
1- Lack of trust – brief periods of sobriety do little to lesser tension since the family has learned not to rely upon the addicts promise.
2- Inability to communicate effectively – families have learned by trial & error not to talk about problems.
3- Inappropriate coping skills – the family has lost the ability to deal with emotions in a healthy way.
Can families take back what was lost?
Certainly, families can win in these situations, but it will take work and time. In order to stop this cycle, the family must regain control of their lives.

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