Given enough time, a person's addiction will eventually start causing collateral damage. Unfortunately, that collateral damage usually involves the addict's family, friends and co-workers.
When looking at the immediate people surrounding a addict's life, we find four groups of people. These groups include:
- People who are totally oblivious to what's taking place
- Blind supporters and enablers
- The supporters who are trying to encourage the addict to get help
- The people who get victimized in some way, leading to hurts feeling, anger and estrangement
The first group of people are usually oblivious because they are either naive or they simply don't want to know what's going on. These are the folks who rationalize the strange things they see and assign addiction traits to things like unrelated health issues or temporary difficulties.
The second group of people, the enablers, present the biggest problem for the addict. These are the folks who are acutely aware their loved one has an addiction, yet try to show support by acquiescing to requests for money, space, understanding and even bail money if associated crimes occur. Anyone who would behave in such a manner is simply guilty of giving the addict a license to continue their addictive behavior.
The supporters form an interesting group. These are the people who show concern and actually make efforts to convince the addict to get. They seem to have an acute awareness that they can't enable the addict to maintain their addictive behavior and instead, make efforts to clear the way for the addict to get help. This is the group of people that would most likely put together an intervention.
For the addict, the final group is the most difficult group with which they have to deal. These are typically people that have been embarrassed and/or victimized by the addict's action. The resulting feelings of estrangement and anger set the stage for more issues in the future. This would be particularly true with loved ones who have important relationships (spouse, parents, siblings) with the addict and could be important supporters during recovery. It's this group that might cause the addict to seek treatment in the hopes it will help them mend broken relationships.
Can Rehab Help Mend Relationships?
If you find yourself isolated and alone because of your addiction, that's certainly a good reason to seek addiction treatment. With that said, it would be better if you wanted help regardless of your relationships. The reality is your overall well-being should be your number one focus. Why should anyone care about you if you can't show some level of concern for yourself?
If you are willing to admit defeat and submit yourself for addiction treatment at a top rehab facility, it's reasonable to assume there's a possibility you'll get a chance to mend fences and fix relationships. Here's a few ways that might happen:
- Your loved ones will come around when they see your efforts
- As you learn about your addiction, you can use that information to educate your loved one
- Many top rehabs offer family counseling
Let's look at these in more depth.
Loved Ones Come Around
After a successful stint in rehab, you behavioral issues should show improvement. If your bad behavior prompted the relationship problems, there's a good chance better behavior will prompt them to forgive your transgressions. You might get an opportunity to help this process if you take time to try to make amends, perhaps through a 12-Step program.
Educating Your Loved Ones
Sometimes, the estrangement occurs because loved ones don't understand what the addict is going through. Instead of investigating, they simply decide to distance themselves from the addict. As you learn the truth about your illness, you might be able to salvage damaged relationships by passing that educating on and hoping for a new level of understanding.
If your loved ones are willing to participate in the healing process, there's some really good family counseling programs available through rehab. Working with a qualified addiction counselor, loved ones can come together to learn more about addiction, enabling, the importance of open communication and the importance of family support to help the recovering addict stay clean.
If you are hurting due to loss and damaged relationships, you can start the healing process by seeking help for yourself. For more information about addiction treatment and family counseling, please give us a call at 800-737-0933.