Alcoholism and drug addiction have obvious and well-documented effects on individuals suffering from long-term substance abuse. Prolonged abuse of drugs and alcohol carries the potential to severely impact a person’s physical health and mental health, and it can be damaging to the overall spirit. Moreover, the adverse effects of substance abuse also affect close family, friends, and loved ones. The impact of drug and alcohol abuse on family members is more impactful than you may suspect. What available resources are there for family members of addicts or alcoholics?
Impacts of Drug Abuse for Family Members
Statistics are indicating a growing trend. According to the U.S. Census, the number of children raised by their grandparents skyrocketed from 2.4 million in 2000 to 4.9 million in 2010. The numbers continue to climb well into 2018 with nearly 6.8 million children raised by grandparents and almost 20% living in poverty. Two of the primary causes of these increases are addiction and mental health disorders.
In 2014, SAMHSA reported that 8.7 million children, or 12.3%, aged 17 or younger lived in a U.S. household where at least one parent was suffering from substance use disorder.
Substance use disorders can profoundly influence the lives of people and their families, particularly their children. Most children living in these circumstances are at an increased risk for child maltreatment, child welfare, neglect, and abuse. Also, children are at an increased risk of engaging in substance use themselves. It’s crucial, therefore, that there are resources for family members of addicts or alcoholics. Ongoing support is critical for all involved with substance abuse.
Substance Abuse: Lasting Impact
When family members or loved ones abuse drugs, it affects everyone around them. Their addiction can have emotional, psychological, financial, and environmental impacts on the people who care about them the most.
Tragically, there is a cycle that carries forth to family members who have a loved one facing drug addiction and alcohol use disorders. Several studies have found that a large percentage of child abuse and domestic abuse cases involve drug or alcohol use.
Family & addiction statistics include:
- As many as 80% of child abuse cases involve alcohol or drug use
- More than half of the defendants accused of murdering their spouses had been drinking alcohol at the time of the incident.
- Nine out of 10 Americans who meet the criteria for addiction began smoking, drinking, or using other drugs before 18.
- 75% of high school students across the nation have used an addictive substance. About one in five of those meet the criteria for substance addiction.
- 35% of parental child abuse in the U.S. involved alcohol or drugs.
Finding Help for Family Member Struggling With Addiction
Supporting an individual through the recovery process is extremely challenging and has a major impact on a person’s family and friends. Knowing what can be done to take care of yourself is an often neglected and forgotten concept.
Proper treatment for family members is critical to helping those struggling with addiction. Unfortunately, most of the resources available to family and friends or not discussed by medical providers, and many are unaware of what is available to them. Many resources exist and have proven to be extremely powerful for overall mental and physical health.
Resources for Family Members of Addicts or Alcoholics
Many resources available are provided through several different methods. Some resources are offered through virtual formats and some via in-person group or individual support methods. Finding the right resources for each family member is important. It is important to discuss possible support programs with an addiction counselor, primary care physician, or other trained professionals to discuss the needs a family member may have. AspenRidge is able to discuss such support groups in depth.
AspenRidge has many available options of care for family members who struggle with alcohol or other drugs. Much can be done as part of the client’s treatment, however, there are more specific care options tailored to family members.
Other free resources are available throughout most communities in the United States and provide continuous access no matter the challenges and location of the family. Local options are discussed below. Family members seeking to receive treatment from AspenRidge are highly encouraged to contact the admissions team for further information about support group schedules, availability, rules, and regulations.
Al-Anon or Alateen Meetings
Al-Anon or Alateen meetings are a national organization that provides significant support for family members of an alcoholic. It is built off of similar concepts as Alcoholics Anonymous but tailored for family members. Al-Anon was created with adults in mind, while Alateen caters to teenagers who may experience alcoholism in a parent or a caretaker.
It is important to partake in support groups that are age-appropriate as the group members work together to discuss a shared experience around their struggles with an alcoholic family member. These groups are often centered around a common experience as it helps to build social supports for family members.
According to Al-Anon.org, “we can find understanding and support when we share our common experience with each other. Some of us are here because a spouse or partner has struggled with alcoholism. For others, the problem drinker is a parent, child, or grandchild”.
Alcohol has similar impacts on everybody, even if the relationship to the person struggling with alcohol use is different. Al-Anon Family Groups is available in all cities and those interested can become members of the organization. Once a member of the organization, there are several resources available through their website. These resources include books, audio recordings, podcasts, and workbooks. Please visit Al-Anon Family Groups at al-anon.org for further information about times and meetings in your area.
Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
Another among the list of important resources for family members of addicts or alcoholics is the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. This long-standing foundation provides many resources that are similar to Al-Anon and Alateen. However, this foundation devotes itself to helping family members better understand addiction through the use of workshops, training, and other hands-on support services.
HBFF is dedicated to helping create clarity into a family member’s role as well as to train the individual in safe and helpful techniques to develop change and support for an alcoholic family member. Hazelden Betty Ford is a national program and offers several training options to clinicians and family members alike. This foundation does have free options for support. Unlike Al-Anon, some workshops and training may include fees.
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation encourages people to reach out about programs or to visit their website at hazeldenbettyford.org for further information on available resources.
Why is Family Member and Friend Support So Important?
Recovery is a team-oriented process, and it is highly encouraged for those seeking treatment to examine and explore their social relationships for support. Support can come in many forms. For example, many positive support factors include:
- Positive reinforcement
- Genuine desire to help.
However, not everyone has easy access to supportive family or friends, which can become a barrier to treatment and recovery. This is a lot of responsibility for family members and can take a significant toll on family members and friends. Because of the importance of family member’s roles, it is critical to have proper resources to support family members through the recovery process.
A common term used to describe fatigue from caring for an alcoholic family member is “burnout.” These support groups help to lean on shared experiences and to provide safe opportunities for discussion and training that can aid in avoiding caretaker burnout symptoms. If you or a loved one experiences irritability, sleeplessness, anxiety, depression, or other symptoms that impact you a family member’s alcohol use may be a contributing factor.
Please contact AspenRidge to discuss what is available resources or contact Al-Anon or for alternative options. Due to current COVID-19 regulations, many options have gone virtual and access to support groups may be highly accessible on mobile devices. Please contact these resources for further information on safety guidelines at this time.
What can AspenRidge Do to Help?
AspenRidge has developed a phase-oriented process for those struggling with alcohol or other drug use. Our program is designed to help obtain and maintain sobriety through a 90-day in-house program and a year-long relapse prevention plan over. AspenRidge operates from a holistic perspective and is dedicated to tailoring treatment as much as possible to each client’s lifestyle. This includes family members as well.
Supportive family members are critical to maintaining sobriety. AspenRidge understands the burden this places on family members and has designed their program to tailor their treatment methods to family members. It is a collaborative effort and AspenRidge will provide care for all. The challenges that a family during the recovery process are an on-going battle. AspenRidge provides a safe environment for all family members and friends to maintain their own safety.
Prospective clients may contact AspenRidge Recovery Centers at 855-678-3144 to speak to staff about various programs, or to discuss current family resources available.