Imagine a stream of water flowing down an area of land…
The stream of water touches everything in its path. Everything in the water’s path is affected some way. Soil is eroded and rocks are weathered away. Once the stream passes, the area of land that the stream passes is never the same. Like a stream of water, addiction has a powerful effect not only on the person struggling from it… it also tragically affects everything is the addicted person’s life including the person’s loved ones. People who struggle from addiction often do not understand how their actions also impact the ones they love.
When addiction is full blown, an addicted person will prioritize their addictive habits over anything else, which includes separating themselves from their loved ones and the activities they used to enjoy. A wife may suddenly feel alone in her marriage or a best friend will feel they have lost a good friend. A sister may suddenly feel like she can no longer trust her brother after finding out he stole from her to buy drugs.
Friends and family may experience an array of negative emotions as a direct result of their loved one’s addiction. Addicted individuals can be very dishonest about their drug use and will even lie to cover up their usage. Friends and family end up losing trust, feeling disappointed and lied to, and the emotional toll of a seeing their loved one struggle with the addiction can be overwhelming.
As addiction continues, family roles can start to change too. Typically, someone falls into the enabler role – the person who unknowingly or knowingly contributes to the addicted person’s substance use. Other family members or friends may end up also becoming caregivers and focus on the addicted person’s needs, including the mental and emotional health. A husband may suddenly put his needs aside in order to get his wife to her counseling appointments and remind her to go to her AA meeting.
The list continues of the impacts of a person’s addiction on their family and friends, including financially instability (because money is spent towards supporting the addiction), exposing kids to negative influences and instability, health concerns, job loss, legal consequences, and even divorce.
If you or someone you love is struggling from addiction or related issues, please contact me for help! The road to recovery and a healthier future is possible!