Families of addicts are addicts themselves. Through no fault of their own, they become addicted to enabling the people they love. There are many types of addiction a person can become involved with. This behavior can be defined as continuing even though the person knows that it is damaging.
Family members know that when they continue to provide support to a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol they really are feeding the addiction. They continue to do it because they are part of the addiction, too. Some people provide food, shelter and money because they feel guilty about what their loved one has gone through. They may feel as though they have a duty or an obligation to help.
The need to provide assistance may run deeper than that and may reflect the family member’s feelings of guilt. Addicts are very good at teaching the people around them that anything bad in their life and their present circumstances is someone else’s fault. Family members may hesitate to reach out for help from family intervention services because they feel ashamed to admit they are dealing with this type of problem.
Hiding Only Makes Addiction More Difficult
Keeping the issue of addiction hidden also helps to feed it. Instead of shining a light on the issue and dealing with it openly, the family thinks that by talking to the addict about his or her behavior, the situation will get better. They believe that “this time” or “when he gets on his feet” or “in a few more months” he or she will go for treatment voluntarily. If the decision is left up to the addict, it probably isn’t going to happen. The addict is too comfortable in the addiction, and there is no reason for him or her to stop the behavior.
In the meantime, the family unit has fallen into the cycle of becoming addicted to giving the addict exactly what he or she needs to avoid uncomfortable situations. The family may fear being physically or verbally abused if they don’t continue providing support. Another real fear is their loved one will disappear, wind up in jail, or end up dead. All of these are very real possibilities, unfortunately.
But, Taking the Risk of Treatment Outweighs Those Negative Consequences
An addict or alcoholic’s family also needs to understand that if the disease is left untreated, it can be fatal. The stakes are that high. A FF intervention gives the addicted person the chance to go to treatment and get his or her life back. The family learns how to break free from its addiction to enabling through supportive counseling services.
For treatment to be successful, the entire family needs to adopt a new way of relating to each other. An intervention can give everyone a fresh start. If your family is struggling with addiction, consider contacting a professional counselor for advice.