Addiction’s Ripple Effect on Family Members

Yes, Mercy for Our Families main mission is supporting family members affected by addiction in the family. I come from such a family, so I’ve been there. My Dad was an alcoholic in recovery. My family suffered as yours may suffer, in all the ways we can suffer. And the addiction that you suffer from can be anything.

Addiction is defined as “any related, compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones and one’s work environment.”

You can be addicted to a drug, a liquid or an activity, like video games or other games. Or it could be social media, your cell phone, spending, gambling, sex and romance or something else. The board is open.

Yes, the board is open. Here I’m talking about intense games, such as chess. You can be addicted to that “royal game,” which I “played” for over thirty years. Before I quit it had become an obsession, which centered, like all addictions, in the brain.

You can easily spot someone who is addiction if you know what to look for. Look for the following:

Loss of control
Continued use despite serious negative consequences
Obsessed thinking about the substance or activity

Addictions reveal themselves when the victims of them try to hide what are impossible to hide, which are obsessive-compulsive behaviors, such as:

Staying up all night occupied with the addiction
Doing it multiple times during the day or night
It’s the main thing they enjoy doing, far beyond others
Person is unable to limit how much time they give to it

If you are a family member of a person with an addiction, you may have once thought there was nothing wrong, then suddenly or gradually you realize there is something very wrong with your loved one. You then became stressed and obsessed with their behavior. That is what we call “the family disease of addiction.”

If you see signs of this in yourself, don’t hesitate to get help. Once you get that help, you will be in a better position to help your addicted loved one.

Mercy is God’s Gift to all who are in trouble. Seek out someone who can help you. Pray about it, even if you’re new at praying. That person sent to help you will appear. He or she might be your pastor, a therapist or someone you meet in the grocery line. Grace and Mercy will find you.

Please note: quoted passages from this blogpost are by Chris Tuell, Ed.D., Clinical Director of Addiction Services, Linder Center of Hope, Dept. of Psychiatry of the University of Cincinnati.

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