One in five Americans has lived with an alcoholic relative at some point during their childhoods, and considering there currently are over 325 million people in this country, that statistic is especially staggering. It is no secret that addiction to drugs and alcohol is a tremendous problem in every possible way for the person abusing the substance, but what often gets overlooked is the effects of addiction on family members. They suffer in their own way, as well.
Children Suffer… Even Adult Children
Children are especially prone to the turbulent lifestyle of a home ravaged by addiction. When drugs and alcohol are a parent’s primary personal and financial concern, it means the kids are going to be left at times without proper parental supervision. If nobody is cooking meals, bathing the children, and getting them to bed on time, those kids are almost certain to suffer in every other aspect of their lives. They shouldn’t have to care for themselves, but the effects of drug addiction on a family can force children to grow up much faster than they should ever have to.
Of course, even grown-up children can struggle with a parent battling addiction. Rather than living their own adult lives, these children are transformed into caretakers for the older generation. It’s one thing when that happens as a result of disease or old age, but it’s something else entirely when the parent has the ability to exercise the control to make positive changes in their lives and simply chooses not to.
Another way that addiction can absolutely destroy a family is through the financial instability that often comes as a result of purchasing these expensive substances. Getting drunk and high on a daily basis is not an inexpensive habit, and burning that money affects the rest of the family in that it siphons away cash that could have been spent on groceries or utilities or even vacations. Spending money on drugs and alcohol takes these things out of the equation, not only for the individual but everyone else in their family.
Worse Personal Relationships
Perhaps the scariest consequence for addiction, especially as it pertains to the family, is the isolation that can occur as a result of prolonged issues. Many people ultimately shun the person causing so much hurt and pain in their family, especially if they don’t show any interest in getting the help they clearly need. On the one hand, this leaves the addict entirely alone, completely devoid of the support group they need to heal, while the rest of the family finds themselves without an integral part of their family. Family is the most important part of almost anybody’s world, and in terms of alcohol addiction effects on the family, losing that family seems as though it would be among the most brutal.
Here at Stairway to Freedom Sober Living, we can help people in recovery by providing a safe and structured environment to help addicts and alcoholics rebuild their lives and start mending those injured ties with family members. Our network of halfway housing in Chicago provides the support these people need to do right by the people who love them and want to see them live happier, healthier lives.