Betrayal, mistrust, hurt and fear are all characteristics of families who have a loved one who suffers from addiction. Sleepless nights, waiting by the phone and anticipating the unknown can cause stress, sickness and mental anguish for non-addicts.
The addicted family member is not purposefully creating chaos Chaos is part of the disease of addiction. For family members, the addict’s behavior can sometime feel personal. As a result, unhealthy family patterns develop that attempt to either avoid or control the addiction. Keeping secrets becomes part of the family dynamic and the secrecy teaches other family members to internalize painful feelings.
Lakeview Health Systems’ Family Program will begin to address unhealthy patterns, introduce a healthier way of family interaction and help the family start healing.
|Unhealthy Family Patterns||Healthy Family Patterns|
The most common unhealthy family pattern that Lakeview Health Systems’ therapists see is codependency. When non-addicts put the addict’s feelings, needs and wants before their own, it is called codependency. This unhealthy pattern of behavior will allow the addict to continue his or her addiction by using false guilt with the codependent individual.
False guilt is a feeling that develops because the codependent feels responsible for the addict’s behaviors. People suffering from codependency may try to control the addiction's money or substance supply in an attempt to control and decrease the addict’s use. This false sense of control actually enables the addict to continue substance abuse because the codependent isn’t doing anything to stop him or her. The family member must be careful of literally loving the addict to death.
It is possible to break unhealthy family patterns and it is best to have professionals and experts in the field assist you. At Lakeview Health Systems, specialized attention to addiction and knowledge that it is a family disease helps both addicts and family members get help.