Friday, March 19, 2010

Sue Scheff: Addiction Affects the Entire Family

If you have a family member or friend that has an addiction, you know first hand the stress and toll this takes on the entire family as well as close friends that care about them.

Addiction is an obsession in that the addict's entire life becomes focused on getting more of the drug. In the same way, family members of the addict become obsessed with the addict: Will he come home tonight? Will he get violent? Will he go into work? Will he lose his job? Will we lose the house?

Family members tend to adapt their personas in an attempt to handle the dysfunction that the addict has created. The caretaker or enabler, for example, makes it possible for the addict to keep functioning in addiction. He may give the addict money, provide a home and food, bail the addict out of jail and in general provide a safety that the addict can depend on no matter how violent, irresponsible or hurtful the behavior.

The caretaker role is just one example. Others include the hero, who makes sure that everything appears to be fine to outsiders, the jester who tries to make light of the situation, the ghost who never comments or makes his needs known. Family members of addicts become so focused on the addict's problems that they often lose themselves along the way. Source:

As the reality world of television expands, the latest addition is "Addicted" on TLC. Tune in to Addicted, a one-hour docu-series produced by Asylum Entertainment, that follows the lives of individuals struggling with addiction as they work with interventionist Kristina Wandzilak. Each episode will take viewers on the unpredictable journey of recovery and the harrowing struggle to become sober.

Take a few minutes to watch the powerful video to understand how serious addiction is and how it affects the entire family.

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