This blog has chronicled in-depth the effects of addiction on families, including effects on the spouse and children of a recovering addict. Previous posts have offered up possible solutions to deal with addiction when it happens in the family unit, including family counselling and educating both children and spouse about what addiction is.
Effects of addiction on the family can last far beyond one addict’s addiction treatment programme and subsequent years of recovery. Addiction within the family has the potential to cause a cycle of drug and alcohol abuse, requiring addiction rehab throughout generations.
In an article on The Huffington Post, clinical psychologist Dr. Tian Dayton writes about the idea that once an addict returns from an addiction treatment programme the family begins to heal. Instead, she argues that it’s not so simple.
“It’s not true because addiction is not only about addiction, it’s about emotional and psychological trauma. People who use drugs and alcohol are often times attempting to numb disturbing emotional and psychological pain that they don’t want to feel.”
The Trauma of Living with an Addict
When addiction comes to the surface it can look monstrous. To see one’s father become irate at the slightest thing, or to witness a wife pass out after a night of alcohol abuse is traumatic for a child or spouse. Loved ones are unrecognizable while addicted to alcohol or drugs, and it is terrifying – suddenly the feelings of safety and security that a parent or spouse provide are gone, washed away with a bottle or a pill.
The Addiction of Living with Trauma
Living in a world with an addict challenges the notions of stability and normality. In the same way that an addiction treatment programme offers an addict a structured and goal-oriented lifestyle and therefore life after addiction rehab may be overwhelming in its unpredictability, life with an addict’s erratic behaviour can completely undermine one’s self-confidence and ability to trust others.
Addiction is a ripple effect; one it starts, the ill effects of it may be hard to stop. By seeking addiction rehab early, one can thwart the consequences that addiction may have on one’s family.