Guest Author - Sadiyya Patel
An addiction has the power to tear a marriage and family apart like nothing else I have ever encountered.
When it comes to drugs and alcohol....either one is bad enough,
but not always both are involved. Alcohol is the more accepted of the two in society and can be the main cause of problems in a marriage or any relationship.
While both can have the same consequences. Most of the time you only hear about how it's the male that has the drinking problem, however sometimes it is the female ,either way the effects it has on the families are still the same. With everyone's situation being different the effects of alcohol or drugs take it's toll over time with usually the same results.
One of the many ways the person involved has a huge effect on the family is the fact that they are very irresponsible, not only with the normal family functions but also with employment.
The majority of society has had some form of a alcohol or drug related experience with a person whether they be a spouse,friend,employee or even an employer.
Most families try to work things out, especially when children are involved which is not always the best route to take. The children are then exposed to the yelling and screaming and even further violent behaviour that usually comes with an alcohol and drug related incident.
Depending on which stage the relationship is at, one can be in a very irrational state of mind thus becoming unpredictable and creating unstable situations in the family environment.
Even with repeated arguments there can still remain love for one another. Once the love is lost from either of the spouses there is a slim chance of ever retaining the love that was once there.
From then on the relationship has the possibility of becoming very unstable. The drinker can stay in denial which is the common term for people with drug and alcohol addictions.
Again everyone's situation can differ, some still stay together while others separate which is not always easy but usually the better choice.
If a person with the problem decides to seek help through various services offered for drug and alcohol addictions, AA or NA, that is not always the cure for the relationship or the addiction. It might be a step in the right direction but a long road to recover especially if other family members have had the same problem throughout their lives, which is usually the way they have been brought up.
One of the problems with a person that has the drinking problem is the fact that only the person with the problem can help themself. There is nothing anyone can do until the person is willing to help themselves. When they are trying to get clean they are always vulnerable around others that drink and do drugs. Sometimes they fall back into the normal pattern they are so familiar with.
At that point deciding to separate or divorce may be best for all involved. It may be a good thing in the long run. The children can grow in a better environment and can see the difference between the one parent that is clean while the other continues to struggle through their everyday life. Hopefully when the children get older and have grown to see what happens with addictions it will have a strong influence when they become of age and begin to explore in the social world.
Once the children enter their teen years they are more likely to understand that drug and alcohol addictions are diseases not just bad behaviors. Children with parents who have drug and alcohol addictions are at a much higher risk of falling into the same lifestyle.
Support groups such as Al-Anon and Alateen are available for them to help understand the disease. Most schools even have a D.A.R.E program (Drug And Alcohol Resistance Education) which can also offer guidance if the cycle is ever to be broken.
As with any disease, drug and alcohol addictions will worsen if left untreated and the children sometimes might feel that they are betraying the parent if they seek any kind of support group.
They must realize that it is still possible to love their parents equally and not feel disloyal when seeking help.
Love and support are very important but they must also think of their own well being.