Addiction And The Role Family Plays

Addiction And The Role Family Plays

Perhaps one of the most difficult situations a person can experience is seeing a loved one go through an addiction, no matter what the substance is. Human nature leads this person to do whatever they can to help the addict, which sometimes leads to enabling them to continue abusing their addiction and returning to this family member in any time of need because they know they will help them. This not only creates codependency in the addict which hinders recovery, but this can actually create codependency throughout the family itself.

This person who always helps the addict is the stereotypical caretaker, or as previously implied, the enabler. He or she writes off all actions with a reason, making excuses and never truly allowing responsibility. Because of this, addiction and recovery issues are never spoken of and is perhaps the main reason when addiction is not cured.

Unbeknown to the members, family roles such as this are created largely because of the situation with addiction. Such roles usually define family members as the addict, the hero, the mascot, the lost child, the scapegoat and the enabler.

Each family role comes with a stereotypical way of acting in a given situation. The addict, of course, suffers the addiction and is perhaps the main cause of bringing out these roles, but is by no means the ultimate cure for family recovery. The hero ignores the problem and tries to be optimistic about the situation at hand. This role is also a main hindrance to addiction recovery.

The so-called mascot brings humor to the situation, making off-hand or otherwise inappropriate jokes that generally cause harm to the situation. The lost child refuses to mention anything about the addiction or how to help the addict recover. He or she is more comfortable keeping out of the way to ensure to avoid causing problems.

Lastly, the scapegoat acts out and ultimately diverts the family’s attention away from the addict, who is the one who truly needs it.

As previously mentioned, these family roles lead to codependency. Members become familiar with their roles and, in essence, become them, which for all intents and purposes hinders any sort of recovery that the addict needs. In order to help recovery along, these family members each need to become whole again, their own individual self. Keep in mind that overcoming these roles is truly key to helping the addict recover.

Family members must learn to be themselves, to be independent and only then will they be capable of helping the addict. Instead of acting out roles, they become a group of independent family members and this contributes to the recovery of addiction phenomenally. In order to
recover from these family roles, members must keep in mind that everyone has some sort of weakness. Nobody is perfect. Each member must know their own strengths and weaknesses; honesty is vital as well.

Family members need refrain themselves from either forcing or allowing themselves to join certain activities due to the role and the codependency; this will ultimately lead them to recovering from the role. It is a tough role, but members need keep in mind that there is one vital reason why the roles cannot help the addict: family members themselves are addicted to these roles they play. Only when this is understood can the role be broken.

With the roles broken, it is possible for the family to join forces together as individual, independent people to help the addict recover from his or her own addiction.

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