SIGNS THAT A FAMILY NEEDS A FAMILY SUPPORT SYSTEM
- Tense Family Atmosphere – Anger and arguments may become common between the members. Stress levels increase, exponentially, as each member tries to handle the addicted individual differently. “Walking on eggshells” starts to feel like normal behavior for family members who try to keep the fear and drama at bay.
- Loss of Control or the feeling of being “held hostage” – Since members avoid sharing subjects that might lead to more pain, they often wind up avoiding the subject altogether. When painful feelings build up, they may rise to the surface in emotional eruptions or get acted out through impulsive behaviors. Addiction may begin to dictate the lives of every family member as well. Total loss of control of family life, to addiction, becomes a system for manufacturing and perpetuating the tense emotional strife felt within the family on a consistent basis.
- Emotional Disconnection – The alarm bells within the family are constantly on a low hum, causing everyone to feel hyper vigilant, ready to run for emotional or physical shelter at the first sign of trouble. One or more members of the family may disconnect themselves emotionally from the addict and the rest of the family. It’s not that they don’t care about the situation, it’s rather that he or she simply cannot handle the stress in relation to the constant upsets created by addiction. Some family members disconnect as a coping mechanism and they see it as self-preservation.
- Financial Problems – As the drugs and alcohol continually take control over the addict, he or she will typically spend more and more time and money on the addiction. Along with increased spending on the addiction, many addicts begin to call in sick and miss more workdays, sometimes leading to a loss of employment altogether. This can lead to depletion of retirement or college funds, as well as missed payments on such things as mortgages and/or car payments, utilities and other necessary items for survival of the family. The negative effects on the entire family can perpetuate into the total loss of financial stability and complete wreckage of the family system.