How Addiction Affects Families

Why this resource is helpful:

Learn how addiction affects families. Be informed about how addiction may be affecting you from any close relationship you have/had with an addict.
Quoted From:

"I often ask clients if they think they have been negatively affected by someone else"s addiction problem. Many times they answer "No," or "I don"t think so." This response makes a lot of sense as many of the negative affects from being in relation to someone with an addiction problem are not well publicized.

However, many people are negatively affected by their current or previous association with someone who has/had a substance or behavioral abuse problem. This could be a romantic partner, parent, sibling, extended family member, friend, coworker, etc. It does not take long before dysfunctional thinking and behavior patterns start to appear due to the family disease of addiction. Years or decades of time can pass before you are able to see itand then hopefully address it and live more happily and fully.

Here is a partial list of some of what some people are experiencing as a result.

Becoming overly focused on the problems of others rather than their own development and growth

Poor respect for the boundaries of others and/or difficulty setting and enforcing their own boundaries without feeling guilty.

Choosing codependent relationships where you either over function for the other person (which produces eventual resentment and intimacy reduction) or being dependent on your partner too much for daily tasks one needs to learn for themselves.

Struggles with self-esteem

Impulsive needs to control other people or the outcomes of situations which harms relationships and erodes trust with those involved

Feeling overwhelmed due to the inability to say no to requests for help

Increased likelihood of developing addictions or low impulse control

Feeling a compulsive need to fix the problems of others or give unsolicited advice

Neglecting your own needs (sleep, eating, financial, time alone, recreation, etc)

Difficulty determining whether you are responsible for the problems of others

Being afraid to upset or disappoint others

Generally making many daily or life decisions based on fear rather than other motivations

Becoming intrusive in the lives of others without invitation or doing so despite being asked not to

Ignoring or minimizing your own emotions

Having the feeling that something is not quite right about your life, but not being able to understand it

If any of this is familiar for you, it may be painful to discover. While this is uncomfortable at first, this new insight creates personal power at overcoming these problems. Much like the addict needs recovery to correct their lives, so do those who have been affected by their involvement with them.

Special consideration needs to be made for adult children who grew up with an addict in close proximity. While there is some overlap with the symptoms listed above, there are additional effects which this population struggles to recognize since they begin so early. These issues may seem normal rather than dysfunctional problems. A later blog will be focused on the population of adult children of addicts."

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