In order to begin understanding addiction, one must also consider that addiction is a family disease because it affects everyone in the family. Once the addict seeks recovery, their chances for success are greatly enhanced if the family participates in a family recovery program. The family can learn coping behaviors whether or not their loved one remains in recovery. Moreover, they will find support knowing that they are not the only ones suffering from addiction in their family. The fact is that one out of four people under the age of 18 in the U.S. are exposed to alcoholism and drug dependence in their family. It is also a one day at a time design for the family and there are solutions for recovery.
There are two groups where affected family members can seek help. One is Al-Anon; the other is the National Association for Children of Alcoholics. Both use recovery support groups and suggest similar changes for surviving the family disease of addiction. One of the most profound realizations is you are not responsible for anyone but yourself. It’s neither your fault nor can you change the addict in recovery. You may be relieved to find out that addiction is not always caused by genetics. There are addicts with no other family members who have had the disease. Peers and environment also influence addiction. Families who are inflicted with addiction share similar struggles.
Most families with this disease have experienced money problems, issues with safety and security, trust, blame, and lack of affection. Sharing and listening in the safe and supportive format of recovery group meetings is very healing. Moving the focus from the addict to the spouse or children can remove the burden of responsibility and worry. Instead, the family can learn how to take care of themselves. Last but not the least finding healthy activities and friends is essential for recovery. Rediscover what you enjoy and bring back some fun into your precious new life.