Family Roles in Addiction

Anchored Recovery Community

Family Roles in Addiction

During recovery from substance abuse disorder, it’s best that the entire family is involved. Even if only one person in a family unit struggles with addiction, each and every member is affected. And, can either attribute to helping or even enabling addictive behaviors for the addicted family member(s). During treatment for addiction, families can learn how they can better prepare for supporting their addicted loved one(s). One of the ways they can do so is by learning about the various family roles in an addictive household. This way, each family member can identify their role so they may provide support, set boundaries, and adjust their mindset to allow for the best chance of recovery success for all.

The Types of Family Roles in Addiction

The Addicted Role in the Family

Obviously, to have family roles play a part in addiction, there needs to be an addiction. The addict of the family will portray dependent behaviors as they continue to attempt to sustain a life of active addiction. As the consequences of addiction begin to form, the addicted family member will often portray negative behaviors to others in the family including lying, manipulating, and pointing fingers of blame. Furthermore, they may become unable to manage moods so they can often portray anger and avoidance behaviors.

The Enabler of the Family

The enabler of the family is one who does not create necessary boundaries with the addict. They may even deny that the person is struggling with addiction altogether. So, they may make excuses for the addict’s behaviors, because they may not even see them as a big deal. While they think this reaction is protecting their family, they really just mask the bigger issue. And, in turn, making it more challenging to heal from the effects of addiction.

The Scapegoat of the Family

The scapegoat of the family is often the person who gets blamed for many of the family issues. He or she is most likely to be the middle child, or second oldest. In many cases, this person feels their purpose is to provide their family members with an outlet for blame. So, they can take on a parent’s and other sibling’s blame in order to protect them from feeling these emotions themselves. Commonly, the scapegoat of the family will eventually be unable to manage his or her anger and act out in avoidance behaviors, often leaving town and not returning.

The Hero of the Family

The hero of the family is the one who is most controlling and often a perfectionist. By keeping up with personal goals, they feel they can provide their family with the illusion that everything will be okay. Normally, the hero of the family is the first child, as they are the most likely to have a type A personality and feel as though they are a leader to their siblings. Because of the position they put themselves in as a leader, they may experience extreme amounts of stress. And, become unable to manage their anxiety.

The Mascot of the Family

The mascot of a family is the person who may utilize humor to try to resolve tension during family arguments or drama. This may be due to the fact that they require approval from those who surround him/her due to their fragility. Most commonly, the mascot of the family is the youngest sibling. Basically, they use humor as a defence mechanism in order to not have to experience the negative emotions which may be brought about by addiction in the family.

The Lost Child of the Family

The family role of the lost child is a sibling who may not be as involved in family relationships as the others. This is due to the fact that they may not have shared as much family attention as the other siblings. Typically, they’re the youngest or middle child. And, characteristically showcase behaviors like isolation and the inability to maintain lasting relationships as a result of addiction in the family.

More About Family Roles in Addiction

The family plays a crucial role in the addiction and recovery process. When a loved one struggles with addiction, it can have a profound impact on the entire family. It’s common for family members to experience a range of emotions, including sadness, anger, and fear.

In many cases, family members may try to help their loved one by enabling their behavior or making excuses for them. This can actually make the situation worse, as it allows the addicted individual to continue using drugs or alcohol without facing the consequences of their actions.

It’s important for family members to recognize their own role in the addiction and take steps to support their loved one in a healthy way. This may involve setting boundaries, seeking support for themselves, and encouraging their loved ones to seek professional treatment.

One effective way for families to support their loved ones in recovery is by participating in family therapy. This type of therapy can help family members understand the dynamics of addiction and learn healthy ways to communicate and support their loved one.

It’s also important for family members to take care of themselves during this time. Addiction can be emotionally taxing, and it’s essential for family members to practice self-care and seek support from friends, support groups, or a therapist.

Overall, the family plays a critical role in the addiction and recovery process. By supporting their loved one(s) in a healthy way and taking care of themselves, family members can help their loved one(s) on their journey to recovery.

At Anchored Recovery Community, we work closely with the client’s family in order to ensure that the family remains educated on the recovery process and how they can be of support to their loved ones. We also encourage our clients to take advantage of the family therapy offered by our clinical team here at Anchored Recovery Community.