I’ve been incredibly luck to have never had an addiction (except maybe to exercise, which, if you have to be addicted to something, is pretty tolerable). But I’ve seen how it can tear families apart. In this powerful guest post, Jillian Thompson offers some solid insights and sage advice. Whether there is addiction in your family or you know someone who’s an addict, read this.

Addicts’ relationships with their family can be either their salvation or their damnation when it comes to dealing with their condition. Many addicts consider deep-seeded family issues to be the cause of their affliction in the first place, whether it be from neglect at a young age or chronic abuse while growing up. Others shut themselves off from their family while in the throes of their addiction, possibly either seeking to shelter loved ones from the reality of their situation or keeping those who would get in their way of securing a high from finding out about it at all. Whatever the case may be, a healthy relationship with one’s family could provide a strong foundation in seeking treatment for addiction. However, for those seeking help with their condition, a healthy relationship with the family may not be easy to come by for either side involved, due to the family’s past exposure to the addict’s condition.

As in any case when dealing with an addict, certain needs of the family may come second to them when compared to obtaining a high. Whether it be taking money meant to pay bills, putting children in dangerous situations, or some form of stealing from anyone who’s close to them, chances are an addict has done harm to a family member before, and will repeat the same actions and behaviors until they themselves want to change their condition. Certain families will turn a blind eye to such actions for a time, possibly wanting to evade the truth of the situation, but when presented with damning evidence, they may shut the addict out. This would be understandable in most cases; it’s necessary for one to protect themselves when dealing with an addict, but if that person later tries to seek help for their affliction, the process would go more smoothly if they had familial support. However, only the family itself will be able to determine if the person in question is worthy of trusting again.

In cases where the addict considers the family to be a cause for their affliction, it could be next to impossible for anyone outside the relationship to determine whether or not there is validity in such claims. It would also be difficult for such a person to know whether the healthy relationship with the family should be based on reconciliation or further isolation for the addict’s recovery. Either way, an addict must realize that they are responsible for their condition themselves because they were the ones who had turned to substance abuse in the first place. After they themselves have sought out help for their addiction and have established a healthy routine, they can then make the decision as to whether or not they will face their family. Whether such a meeting is founded on seeking an apology or giving one, the addict must remember that the meeting may not go as they wish it to and that above all they should seek to avoid their old habits and maintain the sobriety they have achieved.

A healthy family relationship can be great for the recovery of an addict in that it gives them a sense of stability, better enabling them to build a healthy routine to avoid the temptation of getting high. However, not every addict’s situation calls for a close connection with their family. But even if they’re not close, there does need to be some semblance of understanding between the recovering addict and the family. They need to be made aware of the reality of their situation, whether that means the family letting them know to not come around or that they can always be counted on to help. But as stated before, the choice to seek help for addiction is entirely up to the addict themselves, and the choice can’t be made for them by anyone, even a caring family member.


This article was written by Jillian Thompson. Jillian writes for http://www.alcoholrehab-center.org/ , and has over five years of experience working with those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse and is passionate about helping people to lead fulfilling, sober lives.