Addiction is known as a ‘family illness’ for a reason; it can wreak havoc on relationships and shatter the stability of even the closest families. In this blog, Port of Call explores the negative impacts addiction can have on a family and outlines the family addiction support services that we can offer.
Ex-minister Liam Byrne recently called for more help for families of addicts after speaking publicly about his father’s fight with alcohol addiction. The Labour MP argued that people need to “break the silence” around addiction to quash the taboos that currently act as a barrier to getting addiction help for families.
Byrne told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “My Dad was an amazing guy, a very charismatic guy, a great public servant who inspired me to go into politics. He struggled with alcohol addiction for 30 years. That struggle, that addiction hurt us as a family and before the election it killed him.
Children of alcoholics are three times more likely to become alcoholics themselves and that was the same for my Dad. He was the child of an alcoholic. So if we are to break the cycle, I think we have to break the silence about the damage that it is doing to children and to our country
Why addiction help for families is important
Addiction is a family illness that stresses relationships to breaking point. It impacts stability and unity at home, as well as mental and physical health, finances and family dynamics. Living with addiction can put relations under an abnormal amount of stress. Normal routines are disrupted by unexpected, and sometimes shocking, experiences that are part and parcel of living with alcohol and drug addiction.
“Living with an addict causes severe trauma to everyone within the home,” according to the official blog of the Changing Lives Foundation. “The stress brought about by addiction often manifests itself through physical ailments, including high blood pressure, headaches, frequent colds, chest pains, to name a few. […] The family begins to disintegrate and resentment festers. The entire family feels anger, sadness, depression, fear, loneliness, jealousy, shame, inadequacy and failure,” they add.
Lorelie Rozzano, guest blogging for Addiction Campuses, adds: “Addiction in the family is like living on a battleground. You’re never sure when the next bomb will explode, or who will get hurt in the explosion. In order to survive, you learn to live your life – on guard. When our soldiers come back from the war, we don’t treat just the injured, individual. We treat anyone who witnessed the injury. Why isn’t it like that with addiction?”
How to get addiction support for families
At Port of Call it’s exactly like that. Addiction support for families is a major priority for us. We understand your attempts to confront the problem may have fallen on deaf ears. You may be exhausted with the lies and manipulation that often accompany the behaviour of addicts and alcoholics. Perhaps you’re unsure of the scale of the problem? In all likelihood, you might not know where to turn or what the next step should be. This is where Port of Call can really make a difference for you and your family’s health and wellbeing. We can put you and your loved one in touch with alcohol and drug rehab facilities, where often you will find family support is part of their recovery programme.
“We urge you to reach out and ask for help, not only for your loved one, but for you too,” says Martin Preston, CEO of Port of Call. “Getting help for yourself may feel counterintuitive but it can help you to understand the illness of addiction further. It also sends a clear signal to the person that you are trying to help and may motivate them to address their problem. Help for the helper is widely available. You are not alone with this.”
Make us your first Port of Call. If you, or a loved one, are dealing with addiction we can help you to access the right addiction help at the right time. Talk to us about any concerns or questions you may have about rehab, detox or the cost of funding a family members recovery. Take the first step today by speaking to one of our advisers for free on 08000029010.