How Addiction Hurts Families
During PHP, individuals work toward being honest with themselves about the extent of their addiction and the damage it has done to their lives and those they love, and in admitting their wrongs to God. Patients work toward honesty, integrity and accountability in all interactions with clinical staff, their peers in treatment and their family members.
Families, including spouses, partners, parents and children, bear the brunt of the destructive power of drug and alcohol addiction. Spouses, partners, parents and the children of addicts grieve the person they have lost to drugs and alcohol. They live with constant stress and fear, wondering about their loved one’s whereabouts or if they will survive another day. They may feel compelled to cover or make excuses for the addicted individual, to prevent their loved one from losing their job, to protect their children or to shield themselves from embarrassment of having to admit that their loved one has seemingly chosen substance use over their family.
There may be legal and financial repercussions of addiction. Family finances may suffer, because their loved one is spending money to buy drugs or because of frequent absences from work. There are legal costs if a loved one has been caught driving under the influence, or has been sent to jail for drug possession or other drug and alcohol-fueled behavior.
Family members may understand rationally that their loved one’s unpredictable, defensive, illegal and selfish behavior is a product of the substance use – yet it doesn’t make the broken vows and the dishonesty hurt any less.