Just like other chronic diseases, addiction is a disease that affects the entire family. Addiction changes the addict and, as a result, impacts how they interact with their family. The entire household is changed by addiction. The effects of having an addicted parent can be felt long after childhood and long after the parent gets sober. Our parents set the tone for the relationships we form throughout the rest of our lives. Dysfunction in these relationships can create dysfunction in our later relationships.
Adult children of addicted parents may find that they struggle more in their relationships than those who grew up without addiction in their homes. At The Last House, we understand the devastating effects of addiction on the family and we know how those effects can linger. We know the value of working through these effects and are happy to help you explore the available resources.
What Does It Mean To Be Adult Children of Addicted Parents?
Whether your parent has found their way to recovery or not, you may still be feeling the effects of their addiction. Adult children of addicted parents grow up with at least some level of dysfunction and it affects how they interact with the rest of the world. Many who are adult children of addicted parents find themselves struggling with addiction and others will find themselves in relationships with addicts.
The children of addicts often engage in many unhealthy behaviors in relationships. They often are unable to set healthy boundaries with others, put the needs of others before their own, and engage in people-pleasing. Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families (ACA) is a twelve-step program that offers children of addicts a place to heal from growing up with an addict and the associated dysfunction. ACA describes itself as “a safe, nonjudgmental environment that allows us to grieve our childhoods and conduct an honest inventory of ourselves and our family—so we may (i) identify and heal core trauma, (ii) experience freedom from shame and abandonment, and (iii) become our own loving parents”. Through participation in peer support groups such as ACA and working with a therapist, many adult children of addicted parents can heal.
Examples of How Addiction Affects Family Members
As children, we learn about attachment, nurturing, and socialization from our families. If one or both of our parents struggle with addiction, the way that we interact with other individuals will be impacted. Growing up with an addicted parent can lead to unmet developmental needs. The chaos of an addicted parent often leads to the disruption of attachment, roles, routines, communication, finances, and socialization. Because addiction requires so many secrets and lies, it can be hard for a child to understand what is and is not real. Additionally, many adult children of addicted parents report having to grow up much faster to take on the responsibilities that their parent was not fulfilling or to deal with the abuse that occurred. The effects of being the child of an addicted parent are long-lasting and often require a great deal of therapeutic work to overcome.
Why You Should Live In a Sober Living House
Located throughout West Los Angeles, The Last House is a network of structured sober living homes. We believe in enabling our clients to have a meaningful life. The Last House will provide you with the tools to participate in your recovery. Activities such as service commitments, sober parties, conventions, dances, and house outings are all a part of helping you learn how to have fun in sobriety. As active members of the Los Angeles Sober Living community, our staff understands what it takes to stay sober and can support you in your journey. So, if you’re wondering how to create your sober life, The Last House is here to help.