Who Suffers from Addiction?
Everyone who becomes addicted has different reasons for doing so, but when you look at hundreds of these situations, the common elements become more apparent. Each family that struggles with the addiction of a loved one may not realize that they have plenty of company. Millions of other families are finding themselves in the same situation.
So who suffers from addiction? It is the addicted person himself or herself, the family around him, the employer, the community. But in fact, the children of the addict may suffer the most from addiction.
A Child’s Experience with a Parent’s Addiction
When a parent becomes addicted, children are powerless. As addiction erodes a parent’s ability to care for his children, their worlds will begin to crumble around them. It doesn’t matter what drug is being abused—alcohol, prescription opiates, heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines like Xanax or Valium or one of several others—as addiction grows, the character and behavior of the addicted person begin to deteriorate.
The first symptom of addiction, in a child’s world, will probably be absence. The parent’s focus begins to swing toward obtaining and using the drugs that feel so necessary. He will not have time to play with the child and listen to the funny stories and songs offered by the child. The child’s events like recitals and meetings with teachers will be missed. Even when the parent is home, she will only be half-there.
As things worsen, there will probably be some abuse. Harsh words or the back of a hand may be the response to a child’s requests. The lucky child is one whose parent disappears from the home. The unlucky one may become the target of a parent’s frustration and anger.
It is common for an addicted person to wake up in the morning thinking about where they are going to get that day’s drugs, or worried about whether or not they have enough pills to get them through the day. Not how they are going to enjoy the day with their children.
Addicted parents confess how they betrayed their children over and over—promising to come to birthday parties, Little League games or Christmas—but they never show up. Or that they swore to themselves they would never use those pills or drink again—but the addiction proved stronger than their will and the next day, they hated themselves for getting drunk or high yet again. The money that should have gone for their children’s welfare went to drugs or alcohol.
If a parent goes to jail, the betrayal deepens. He (or she) is not even able to be present in the child’s life. The burden passes to the remaining sober parent, other family members or even the state to find a foster home for this child.
At the end of this long, desperate road of addiction, children can suffer such trauma that they themselves may reach for drugs or alcohol to numb the pain. Some children do not survive the ordeal.
Finding an Effective Solution
It is no surprise, then, those family members who see one of their family struggling with addiction are concerned for the children involved in this situation. This is a well-placed concern. Especially when children are small, every day counts. An effective rehabilitation service is essential. Not one that gives more drugs and keeps the parent dependent on another substance. And not one that makes a person feel helpless in getting control over that addiction. But one that puts a person stably and firmly on his own feet, with the life skills to walk a sober road from that point on.
Thousands of families who have found other rehab services to be unsatisfactory have chosen the Narconon drug rehab program to provide the lasting answer they sought. And in this rehab program, families saw that their loved ones learned how to overcome the cravings that drove them to find and use drugs every day. They would go on to brighten their perceptions, leaving behind that muddy, dim view of life that results from extensive drug abuse.
In just eight to ten weeks for most people, parents can recover the ability to care for their children—not just care for their housing and schooling, but care for them with their whole hearts. Parents who complete the Narconon program have stated that they were able to repair their relationships with their children and families, once they have rehabilitated their life skills. They not only learned how to stay sober, they got the tools they needed to re-establish their loving relationships with family and children.
One woman who had spent twenty years addicted to prescription drugs described her newfound relationship with the son who had long since stopped talking to her. After she recovered her sobriety through the Narconon drug recovery program, she said,
“Now I talk to my son every week. He called me a few months ago to ask me for financial and relationship advice. I asked him ‘Do you know who you’re talking to? You’re talking to your dad.’ He said, ‘I know, you’re the best person to go to for this kind of advice.’ That’s when I knew I had truly healed my relationship with my son.”
When you see a parent struggling with addiction and know that their children are suffering right along with them, contact Narconon to find out how you can replace the suffering with a productive, enjoyable life.
- Who Suffers From Addiction? Part 2: Children who become Addicted
- Who Suffers From Addiction? Part 3: Husbands and Wives
- Who Suffers From Addiction? Part 4: Employees and Employers