You’re not the only one who’s affected by your drug abuse. It’s true that substance abuse disorder is hard to live with as the person affected by it—but it’s also hard to stand by and watch as a loved one.
If you have children, parents, siblings, or a spouse standing by, your addiction affects them emotionally, financially, and physically.
Problems with relationships are commonly the final straw when it comes to seeking help. In many cases, losing a relationship with your spouse or children is the catalyst. But it doesn’t have to be—there’s no reason to wait to get treatment until you lose a loved one.
It can be hard to get help, but your loved ones can be the push that you need to make the right decision and get into recovery.
1) Addiction Affects Family and Friends Emotionally
People with substance abuse disorders report having trouble with maintaining close relationships, and it’s no wonder. Problematic drug use causes all kinds of emotional issues in your relationships, and that erodes trust.
- It causes trust issues. It’s common for people who abuse drugs to engage in deceitful behavior to hide that use. This can include stealing from family or lying about where you’ve been. Rightfully so, your loved ones might have a hard time trusting you after that.
- It leads to conversations where emotions run high. It’s hard to talk about important things (like drug abuse) when you’re overly emotional. But the combination of your drug use and your family member’s concern can lead conversations to burn out of control.
- It causes attachment issues. Your spouse or children may feel neglected and like they’re not as important as drugs to you. This can lead to lifelong problems with relationships—not only their relationship with you, but with any other human beings.
You can help by acknowledging how you make your loved ones feel with your behavior, but that’s not enough. Actually changing your behavior is necessary if you want to show your loved ones that you’re serious.
2) Addiction Affects Family and Friends Financially
If you’ve ever spent bill money on a hit, then you know the shame that comes with letting down your loved ones financially. Your finances are affected by your drug use, but worse, you can damage people who rely on you.
Here’s how addiction can affect your loved ones financially:
- It can cause trouble holding down a job. When your behavior centers around getting your next fix, it’s hard to show up at work rested and ready to perform. That can lead to trouble staying employed, which in turn impacts anyone who relies on you financially.
- It can cause issues with responsibility. It’s possible that as your addiction worsens, buying drugs may become a first priority—over paying for heat, food, electricity, or rent. If you have dependents who rely on you, you could literally be pulling the rug from under their feet.
- It can lead to stealing and other financial crimes. Getting money for drugs at any cost becomes the name of the game when you’re addicted badly enough. That can mean committing crimes against people who love you.
That’s not all—other problems can include legal bailouts or repeatedly hitting up your friends for cash. The bottom line is that if you let your drug use affect your financial life, it’s not just your own life that you’re affecting.
3) Addiction Affects Family and Friends Physically
Your addiction can have real physical effects on your loved ones—even if you think it’s just “your problem.”
- It can cause violent behavior. Some drugs can cause you to act out and be physically aggressive toward the ones you love. This is true for alcohol use and some stimulants too. You might not even be aware of hurting a loved one, but it can still happen.
- It can cause chronic stress. Living in a stressful environment causes chronic stress, especially for vulnerable children. Your drug abuse creates a stressful environment, and so does your negative behavior. Chronic stress leads to health issues such as heart disease and stroke.
- It can cause depression. Depression can have very real physical consequences on your loved one, ranging from weight gain to trouble sleeping. People who have depression or other mood disorders are more likely to develop a substance abuse disorder, too.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be a long-term consequence of growing up with an addicted parent or living with an addicted spouse. It’s the result of repeated and long-term trauma that the brain re-lives instead of processing and storing it away.
Get Treatment for Drug Abuse
If your addiction is weighing heavy on your mind and you want to do better—not only for your friends and family, but for yourself—then the first step is to get treatment.
Figuring out how to quit isn’t as hard as you think. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can be living a life in recovery and rebuilding relationships with your loved ones.
When you’re seeking treatment and have loved ones who are close and care about you, consider involving them in your care.
This can include talking to them about your treatment and involving them in your appointments—or it can mean attending group therapy with them so they can learn to support you (and you can learn how the situation feels from their side).
Call Recovering Champions today to learn more about your treatment options for substance abuse!
- Just Think Twice: How drugs hurt your family <https://www.justthinktwice.gov/how-drugs-hurt-your-family>
- Everyday Health: How your loved one’s addiction affects you <https://www.everydayhealth.com/addiction/how-loved-ones-addiction-affects-you.aspx>
- Harvard Medical School: When a loved one has an addiction <https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/when-a-loved-one-has-an-addiction>