Roles of Family Members and How It Affects Addiction

February 15, 2017

It could be difficult for a family to accept one of its members is an addict. The next step could be for a family to understand their role in this occurring as well as their role in the recovery of their loved one. How a family deals with addiction could be complex. The power of family support when it comes to beating addiction is essential.

Lifelong Journey

Recovering from an addiction is a lifelong journey, just like having a family. This long-term commitment could begin when an addict leaves a rehab facility and returns home. The next challenge to their sobriety will be dealing with it each day. An addict will need the help and support of their family. This is crucial for a successful recovery.


Consequences of Addiction

When a loved on returns from a rehab program, the consequences of their addiction will be waiting for them. This is the time when it’s important for a family to realize their loved one will be facing some serious ongoing issues. They may need to deal with debt or other types of financial difficulties. They could have ongoing health issues. A recovering addict will need to obtain steady employment as they work at rebuilding trust and mending relationships.



The National Institute of Health did a study on addiction recovery. It determined that stress is a major factor when it comes to substance abuse as well as an addict having a relapse. It’s important for family members to understand a recovering addict is more susceptible to stress during their recovery. There are specific stress factors that could lead to a relapse. One of the major hurdles for an addict is trying to avoid situations or environments where they can easily obtain drugs or alcohol. This could mean avoiding friends they’ve known for a long time or even other family members. They will experience stress as they deal with the many things in their life they need to correct.


Family Atmosphere

When families deal with a member who is an addict; they will be traumatized on different levels. The psychological and emotional pain involved with seeing someone they love and care about struggle with an addiction is difficult. Many members of the family probably experienced lies and manipulations from the addict. It’s important a family work to create a positive atmosphere. A tense atmosphere could do harm. This could result in an addict having an emotional disconnect with the family. It would make things worse for everyone. This is why it’s important for family members to realize they can either enable the addiction or help the addict feel empowered to recover from it. They must acknowledge their role in the family.

Lost Child

This is a person in the family who ignores the addict’s behavior and any problems it causes. When there are arguments with tension, screaming, and drama, the lost child will disappear. They may retreat to a bedroom or even leave the house. This is the person who is good at avoiding confrontation and stressful situations. They let other family members deal with problems.

The Enabler

A family member may not intentionally enable an addict. Many of their actions are based on good intentions but backfire. These are family members who protect the addict from experiencing the consequences associated with their behavior. They often make excuses for the addict and believe things will get better in the future. The messes created by the addict is something they clean up. These are individuals who minimize the consequences of addiction. They make it possible for the addict to not change their destructive behavior. An enabler means well, but does more harm for the addict than good.

The Scapegoat

This is the family member who tries to get attention away from the addict’s behavior. They may do poorly at work or school. These family members may get in trouble with the law and more. The scapegoat wants the addict’s issues ignored hoping they will become better on their own.

The Mascot

This is the family member who is able to use humor as a way to hide the harm caused by an addict. It is common for this to be the youngest in the family, but it can apply to anyone who attempts to use humor to avoid the seriousness of a situation. This is an attempt on the part of this family member to decrease tension in the family. Their desire is to create a distraction from the hurt caused by the actions of the addict. They often distract a family from seeing the problems caused by an addict.

The Hero

This is the person in the family who excels in different areas of their life to provide a distraction from the behavior of a family’s addict. A hero could be school student who gets very good grades and does well in sports. This person may work hard to excel at every aspect of their life. The goal is always to take the attention away from the disappointment and emotional pain resulting from the addict in the family.


Authors Bio:

Vikram Taguru is a passionate leader, CEO, and founder of Detox of South Florida, Florida’s Top Alcohol Detox and Drug Rehabilitation Center. He is also a proud advocate of drug-free living. In his spare time, he loves writing about tips on how to manage day-to-day tasks without depending on different addictive drugs.

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