Family Roles In Addiction
As a recovering addict, I have heard the terms’ family roles in addiction thrown around a lot. It’s one of those things that can make you feel ill at ease or embarrassed if you aren’t a straight Christian. However, in my experience as a recovering addict, family roles in addiction really do apply to the full spectrum of family structures and relationships. For a Christian family to understand the nature of these roles, they need to get into the mindset that they are all in this together. That doesn’t mean that one isn’t a victim or doesn’t hold a grudge, but it does mean that the Christian family really does need to get each individual accountable for their part in their recovery.
understanding Family Roles In Addiction
To truly understand how much trauma can impact a family, it’s helpful to first be cognizant of the various six roles in addiction that are often present. They are: The Addict, the Emotional Supperer, the Dependent, the Loved One, the Pier, and the Witness. It’s not enough to just know these titles, since many family members suffer from one or more of these disorders themselves, which can complicate recovery even further.
The addict is the first role, we’ll examine in terms of family roles in addiction may go hand-in-hand with the others. The addict has to realize that they have a responsibility to take care of themselves and fulfill their needs through any means available to them. This includes using drugs, using substances in excess, not eating, and performing all other activities necessary to stay healthy. An Addict may experience things like extreme mood swings, sleep deprivation, and even thoughts of suicide. It’s important for an Addict to recognize that they have a problem and that they need help.
Dependent on another person for survival can be a very dangerous position for an addict to assume. Especially if that other person is a parent, then the Addict may end up feeling responsible for doing all things possible to keep the family afloat while the addicted parent struggles with their own mental illness. It’s also not uncommon for the Dependent to become a sort of “sucky fan” for their own symptoms. The mascot is the last role we’ll discuss, but it’s certainly an important one. The mascot is typically the most heavily involved in a child’s life, so it’s important for the family to consider how the addict will handle being apart from their loved one and trying to adjust to their new role as a dependent.
I would note that the mascot is one of the least liked by addicts. This is because the addict doesn’t want to feel any sense of responsibility or obligation towards their loved ones. Unfortunately, this is just one of the ways that the addiction process manifests itself. When a family has learned that roles their family member should fill and are unable to shift their addict’s behaviour to reflect that kind of responsibility, they’re likely to find that the resulting enabling behaviours and patterns are just what’s known as “unfair”.
It’s important to remember that our mental health is precious. Just as physical health is equally important. Family members need to learn about the dynamics of healthy boundaries between dependence and enabling, healthy conflict and healthy resistance. This is an essential step for families who want to help their loved ones recover from addiction and achieve true wellness.
Related: Addiction And Family