Drug Abuse and Family Relationships

June 25, 2024

Far too often, addiction is viewed as an issue solely impacting the affected individual. Addiction has negative consequences not only on the person struggling with…

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Far too often, addiction is viewed as an issue solely impacting the affected individual. Addiction has negative consequences not only on the person struggling with addiction but others in their life, such as family members.

Learning about addiction can help family members cope, provide tools to discuss addiction with their struggling loved ones, and overcome obstacles as they arise. Luckily, there are many resources for families of a person with an addiction. Samba Recovery offers family therapy in Atlanta, and our team of dedicated specialists is here to help you heal. If your family has a loved one struggling with addiction, reach out to us today at 888.505.8279.

The Connection Between Drug Abuse and Family Relationships

People who are amid addiction often do not realize the negative consequences their illness has on their families. Addiction is a serious and blinding illness, leading people to engage in risky behavior without regard for others, even if it is their child or spouse. Some of the most impacted areas of family life include finances, social life, and emotional well-being.

Family finances can be affected by addiction in a multitude of ways, such as buying substances, gambling, or getting into legal trouble. Additionally, a family’s social life is often significantly affected by a family member struggling with addiction. Substance abuse can worsen with the shame associated with social isolation, which only worsens the cycle of substance abuse and, in turn, leads to more emotional damage to the family.

The Impact of Addiction on Family Members

Drug abuse and its repercussions on family relationships go hand in hand. Financial, social, and emotional well-being are all aspects of family life that feel the effects of addiction. But how are the lives of individual family members changed? No one member is impacted more than or in the same way as the other, but understanding the differences is important for supporting each other.


Unsurprisingly, the spouse of a person struggling with addiction most often has to take on the most responsibility in the matter. The spouse experiences significant mental and emotional pain as they may feel as though they are losing their life partner, all while juggling financial, household, and work duties. This can lead to divorce and reaffirms to the person struggling with addiction that they will never be able to recover.


Children of parents struggling with addiction are the most vulnerable family members. Children cannot fully comprehend addiction and the devastating result the illness has on the family. These consequences follow children into adulthood, often developing into poor mental and emotional health or addiction. Additionally, observing their parent with addiction and their parents’ relationship can skew their view of a healthy, loving relationship when they begin engaging in romantic relationships.


Parents who have a child with addiction frequently experience poor self-image and confidence in their parenting. It is difficult to separate the addiction from their child and recognize that it is an illness, not necessarily a result of their parenting. They have to face challenging decisions such as setting boundaries or if they should let their child live at home.

The best option for all types of family members is to educate themselves on addiction, treatment options, and family therapy.

How Family Therapy for Addiction Can Help

For families impacted by addiction, family therapy is a helpful treatment to become educated on addiction, learn how to communicate with your loved one, and improve overall well-being. In family therapy, all family members are encouraged to express thoughts and emotions in a controlled, safe space.

Healthy communication is the key to dealing with addiction in a family. Family members should be able to communicate their expectations and feelings to the member struggling with addiction, helping both parties involved emotionally and realistically. Setting boundaries with your loved one allows family members to both take some of the weight of the illness off their shoulders and also take responsibility for their own emotions.

When boundaries are communicated clearly, this holds the member with addiction accountable for their actions. However, attempting to force accountability onto a person with addiction can lead to resistance and avoidance from that person. People struggling with addiction need love and support, which does not mean there cannot be boundaries.

One of the goals of family therapy is to maintain and heal the family structure. Family members should congratulate their achievements while expressing their boundaries. Combining a healthy amount of accountability with love and support can do wonders for a person struggling with addiction.

Family Therapy in Atlanta at Samba Recovery

The connection between drug abuse and family relationships is more important than most people realize, even those with a family member dealing with addiction. Family therapy helps families dealing with the consequences of addiction learn more about the illness, communication and boundary-setting skills, and healthy coping mechanisms.

If your family is affected by addiction and is interested in learning more about therapy, reach out to Samba Recovery at 888.505.8279 or contact us online. We are here to help you and your family build a brighter future together.

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Substance abuse doesn’t have to be a life sentence! Sustainable recovery is possible and the best version of youself awaits at our Norcross addiction recovery center.

We’ll help you learn that the opposite of addiction is connection. We’ll give you skills to discover your self-worth and show you the tools for a life of hope and promise.

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