Addiction is a family disease

Alcoholism and drug addiction have obvious and well documented effects on chronic substance abusers. Prolonged abuse of drugs and/or alcohol will deteriorate a person’s physical health, impair his or her mental functioning and damage the spirit. But how will these adverse effects impact the addict’s immediate family, and how will the damage manifest itself? Recovery is possible (Behavioral Health Inc. 2018).


While it can be easy to blame the person who is an addict or alcoholic, the entire family usually contributes to the continuation of the disease. A person in active addiction can be quite manipulative and convincing, and family members often have a difficult time saying no. The relationship then develops into a codependent relationship (Simple Recovery, 2018).


Codependent relationships happen very frequently with addicts and their families. Codependency can be defined as a condition that affects people in a way that they enable a person close to them to commit abuse by aiding and protecting that person (Recovery Direct, 2018). Families will hide the problem and help the addict or alcoholic in various ways. They sacrifice themselves and so not seek help (Recovery Direct, 2018).


Codependents usually react negatively when it is suggested that they seek treatment. They may feel that they did not cause the problem and they are not addicts themselves (Recovery Direct, 2018). However, there are organisations that offer help to families struggling with codependency.


Alanon; Naranon and Codependents Anonymous are programs of recovery from codependency and are a fellowship of men and women whose common purpose is to develop healthy relationships. These organisations are a  place where people can share their experiences, strengths and hopes in the effort to find freedom in their relationships with others and themselves. These programs follow a Twelve Step Program which is a central part of their suggested recovery program.