Running head: ADDICTION AND FAMILIES 1
The Effect of Drug and Alcohol Addicts on the Family
Brandy M. Foster
Many families have one or more family members that are struggling with and/or overcame an addiction, whether it is drugs or alcohol. There are many programs that are established to help addicts, but there are very few programs that actually assess the effects that a family member’s addiction has on the family. The purpose of this paper is to identify how family members of drug and/or alcohol addicts are affected by the actions of those drug and/or alcohol addicted members. I’m interested in this topic, because I have family ...view middle of the document...
Although the addictions of my family members seem to be their own personal issues, they are not, because their actions affect the actions of me and my non-addict family members. My father use to steal from my mom, siblings and I all the time; my mom would sleep with all her cash and credit cards in her bra at night, because my father would search through her purse for money to buy drugs with. I remember I put my purse underneath my pillow while sleeping and when I woke up I found it on the floor by my bed with all the money I had in it missing. With all the stealing going on, it made home an uncomfortable place at bedtime and made it hard to trust my father. My father had his own construction business called “Foster Builders,” in which he made a good income when he was out of jail, but the fruits of his labor were never seen by my immediate family, because the money he made was quickly spent on drugs and occasionally alcohol. Of course, not being able to depend on my father’s income to help with the bills and all the other expenses that are present when running a home and rearing children was a financial burden that was involuntarily put on my mother, who was not making a lot of money, so most of the time we went without. Those periods were a complete financial strain on my mother, but she handled the situation as best as she could.
There was a lot of arguing between my mom and dad and most of the time my siblings and I were present to witness the arguments, which sort of made us take sides, in which we sided with my mom one-hundred percent of the time, because our father didn’t really play a role in our lives when he was out of jail. Through this whole journey of witnessing my father’s drug addiction, I begin to strongly dislike my father, because he wouldn’t do right by stopping his excessive use of drugs. My father didn’t know how to communicate with my siblings and I without coming off as if he was chastising us for something. I never expressed to my father how his actions were affecting me and I almost didn’t feel the need to, because I felt that he should know or should be able to recognize how he was making me feel by my mean actions towards him, but in all actuality he wasn’t paying me or my feelings any mind. Living or having a drug or alcohol addicted family member(s) made non-addictive family members struggle with trusting the drug and/or alcohol addicted family member(s); it brought about feeling of hatred, bitterness, constant worry and financial strains on non-addicted family members.
The issue of how drug and/or alcohol addict’s actions affect their families is very important to the field of family therapy, because the focus is on helping the family instead of the drug and/or alcohol abuser. The “family” is a very crucial part of society; providing communicating skills, expectations of living, self-worth, and links us to society (Csiernik, 2002). The issue is that there are not a lot of...