Children of Addicts and Alcoholics More Likely to Abuse in Adolescence
Although it’s true that drug and alcohol addiction wreaks havoc on your body, the harm isn’t only physical. Drug and alcohol addiction affects the entire family and can have serious effects on your loved ones.
How Alcoholism and Abuse Affects Your Family
In “The Set Up: Living with Addiction,” Dr. Tian Dayton of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA) offers insight on how and why drug and alcohol addiction affects the family unit as a whole, especially the children of addicts.
She writes, “In their youth, children of alcoholics or drug dependent parents (COAs) may feel overwhelmed with powerful emotions that they lack the developmental sophistication and family support to process and understand. As a result, they may resort to intense defenses, such as shutting down their own feelings, denying there is a problem, rationalizing, intellectualizing, over-controlling, withdrawing, acting out or self medicating, as a way to control their inner experience of chaos.”
Bria, a Residential Manager at Hawaiian Island Recovery, is one example of what can happen when a child self medicates. About her own life experiences, she says, “I had a lot of childhood trauma and a lot of stuff underneath that that I was running from, that I was numbing—because that’s what I learned to do at an early age, is [to] just numb everything.”
Statistics confirm that addiction and alcoholism can increase the likelihood that one’s children will later face the same struggles.
The NACOA explains, “Children of alcoholics are four times more likely than non-COAs to develop alcoholism. … Almost one-third of any sample of alcoholics has at least one parent who also was or is an alcoholic.”
In some cases, when a parent’s alcoholism or addiction prohibits them from providing sufficient care for their children, government agencies intervene and remove children from the home. The children are then forced to stay with extended family or enter the foster care system.
Hope for Families of Alcoholics and Drug Addicts
If you are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction and worry about the effects on your family, know that there is hope. By entering a recovery program and seeking treatment, you can discover a healthier future for you and your family.
Addiction in Family reports, “Addressing parenting skills during treatment can make adults better parents, and lead to enhanced quality of the parent-child relationship and ultimately decrease the risk for adolescent substance use.”
Parents should still be prepared to overcome significant hurdles as they walk through recovery with their families. Addiction in Family goes on to list the parenting challenges recovering addicts and alcoholics commonly face, including discipline issues, overindulgence, preoccupation with maintaining recovery, parental absence, rebuilding trust, and overcoming stigma.
Hawaiian Island Recovery (HIR) can provide you with the tools you need to overcome your addiction and provide a healthy and stable environment for your family.
Roxsana (former “client” of Hawaii Island Recovery ) lost her children in the midst of her struggle with addiction. At HIR, she was able to find hope and learn how to be a better mother for her children.
She shared, “Hawaii Island Recovery changed the the lives of so many in my life by helping me find myself and by giving me the tools I needed to be a better woman and mother. Without them, I would not have been able to work through the loss of my children. I am now stronger and can be there for my other children. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity.”
Another participant, Sharon, agrees, “Hawaii Island Recovery is a life-changing program; It has saved my life and [helped] hold my family together. … Thank you for saving my life, HIR. My family and I will never forget how amazing this experience was.”
You can read more client testimonials here.
Contact Hawaii Island Recovery Today
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism or addiction, please contact Hawaii Island Recovery today. Our counselors are waiting and ready to extend hope to you and your family. With HIR’s help, you can discover that you do have what it takes to save your life and your family.