Get Help Now!  


  Available 24/7   

The road to recovery starts here! Trusted, confidential help available 24/7. Speak with an addiction treatment specialist anytime. Please call us now at 800-815-3910!

Addiction a family disease

by Ned Wicker

The family was worried about “John” after discovering that he has been using drugs. They didn’t know what drugs he was using at first, and they didn’t know how often he was using, but they knew something was going on.

Naturally, his parents were concerned and they wanted it to come to an end, but they never confronted him about it, preferring to give him his space, thinking maybe it would go away. Kids go through phases and maybe this was just one of them.

John began to change

John is a good student and well-liked by his peers, or at least that has been true of him over the years, but lately it has been different. He has been a little edgy at home, not wanting to be a part of family activities. A while back he and his father had a “little run in” over the use of the car, but isn’t that the case for most teenagers? Still, his parents are concerned because they do not understand “what has gotten into him.”

At the urging of a friend, they decided to go to a family therapist. John’s involvement with drugs had become a center stage issue, as his young brother and two sisters knew something was up. “John has become a bit of a problem for us,” was the rationale for seeking the help.

Entire family NEEDED therapy

They went to a therapist in their town, who wanted to meet with the entire family. The therapist quickly assessed John’s cocaine use and also understood from the first few moments that the family component was huge.

Interestingly, she saw the solution as a family project. Her technique was using a form of “Supportive-Expressive Psychotherapy,” that has been modified for cocaine addicts. It has also been used for heroin addicts. She knew from the start that John’s parents were concerned about their son, but rather uptight about dealing with the subject of drug use.

She wanted them to feel comfortable sharing their experiences and feelings. That, of course, included John, whose communication patterns had not included any serious dialogs with his parents.

Secondly, she wanted to help John and his parents work through their interpersonal relationship issues. This would help all of them understand the nature of John’s drug use, which as it turned out was a self-medicating effort. The therapist identified key components to John’s drug use, and opened up communication avenues to help both John and his parents make meaningful connections.

Entire family got treatment

Looking at the family, as a whole, it was discovered that mom and dad had issues over finances and had often been at odds over how to handle the money. John’s uncle, an alcoholic, was also a regular at the house, a sort of beloved figure, who referred to alcohol as his “liquid courage.” The grandparents, on his father’s side, lived in the neighborhood and “Gramma” was always over, making sure mom did things properly.

The therapist worked with all of the family, not just John and his parents. By improving communication among the members of the family, and especially with John and his parents, John’s drug use ended and he began to return to his regular activities. John, through working individually with the therapist, began to see the nature of his drug use, and more importantly to seek alternatives to using.

The eyes of his parents were opened, as they began to realize how family influences can play a part in a 17 year-old’s drug use. The family therapist recognized the signs, put the pieces together, and helped the family return to a healthy unit.

Click here to post comments

Do you have a question or story? It's easy to ask your question or submit your story. How? Simply click here to return to Drug Addiction Parents.

and Finally Remember:

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
- Matthew 7:7-8

Recent Articles

  1. Illegal Addiction

    Sep 22, 17 09:19 AM

    Illegal Addiction; Health care works who have Easy Access can become addicted before they know what's happened.

    Read More

  2. Subutex

    Sep 21, 17 09:46 AM

    Subutex and Suboxone are treatments for the withdrawal symptoms of opiate addiction but other treatment is still needed.

    Read More

  3. Crystal Meth

    Sep 21, 17 08:32 AM

    Hey, my name is Victoria I'm a teenage drug addict. Am I proud? No, it destroyed me! My life felt over, but it wasn't, it's never to late to call for

    Read More

Follow on Twitter or Google+

Search this Site:


**  We're also launching four new classes which will help you learn how to use motivation, affirmation and encouragement to end addiction in yourself or a loved one. Each class will focus on an evidence-based concept, explaining how to illicit positive change in yourself or in someone you love.

We will teach you practical techniques that research has shown to be effective for achieving change and successfully ending addiction. We'll begin offering these classes this September through Learn-It-Live (Learn-It-Live is easy to use teaching tool and you don't need to download anything to use it). Click Register Now! below to join one of our classes. The registration process includes setting up an account, but you determine your screen name to protect your confidentiality.

Four new addiction classes:

- Addiction 101, a FREE 60 minute course introducing key substance addiction recovery concepts. This seminar examines many aspects of drug addiction, including symptoms and treatment. It also introduces the Stages-of-Change as a building for recovery.  It will be held on October 3 at 6:00pm central-time.

Addiction 101 Register Now!

- Intervention, introduces you to Change-Talk as an alternative to "tough-love". Change-Talk is a method, which you can learn, to get an addict (including yourself) to move away from addiction and toward recovery.  This is a 2-hour class that meets October 5, at 10:00 am central-time at a cost of $10.

Register Now!

- Change-Talk, is a building-block for addiction recovery. This course teaches you to recognize, listen to, and encourage Change-Talk in yourself and others.  Research has shown it helps lead to positive change. This is a 2-hour class on Thursday, October 13 at 10:00 am central-time, for a cost of $10.

Change-Talk Register Now!

- Effective Conversations, explains how to use conversation to connect for recovery. Reflective listening and change-focused conversations often facilitate positive change and addiction recovery. This is a 2-hour class that will meet on Thursday, October 19 at 10:00 am central-time, at a cost of $10.

Effective Conversations Register Now!