Chemical Dependency and the Family - October 2012


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"Chemical Dependency and the Family" was presented on October 30, 2012; by Dr. Lynn Kleiman Malinoff, Ed.D. Chemical dependency affects all members of the family, not just the person with the alcohol or other drug addiction. This program provides participants with a basic understanding of how addiction impacts each member of a family. The presenter describes the roles and behaviors that family members often acquire when living with addiction, ways in which each family member is affected by addiction in the family, and options for family members to obtain help to cope with addiction in the family. This program is part of the Dawn Farm Education Series, a FREE, annual workshop series developed to provide accurate, helpful, hopeful, practical, current information about chemical dependency, recovery, family and related issues. The Education Series is organized by Dawn Farm, a non-profit community of programs providing a continuum of chemical dependency services. For information, please see

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  • Qualify – safe and drug free schools, COA work, tx work, codependent…
  • 1. Nuclear Family 2. Extended Family 3. Step Family 4. Adopted Family 5. Single-parent Family 6. Couple 7. Gay or Lesbian Family 8. Unmarried with Children Parents
  • Unique: head of household, grandmother, father, daughter Shared: breadwinners, homemakers, children, friends Rules: pick up after yourself, don’t talk about family outside of family, be helpful to other family members Values and beliefs: ‘we’re all in this together’, ‘kindness is the goal’, ‘asking for help outside the family is wrong’ Shared history: family lore, stories, generational sagas, trips, events, holidays, etc.
  • Role shifts: parent goes to jail; child becomes ‘parent’; sibling becomes ‘parent’; friends become ‘parent’ or ‘caretaker’ See above New rules: try to keep it all together Upended values/beliefs: don’t ask for help? But the house is burning down… Loss of history: if family system ‘breaks’ part of what is lost
  • An addict’s primary relationship is with his or her substance…not with the other person or people in their family group—they have a love relationship with their substance
  • Things are never steady for any period of time. Shaky finances and lack of job security may be constantly present. Daily duties and responsibilities are not met . Each member of the family has the feeling the roof could fall in at any minute. Deep within, each member of the family knows that something is seriously wrong. The family knows that tragedy is just around the corner. The family lives with the dependent person’s sudden changes in mood , often with anger and violence erupting.
  • Family members blame themselves for the behavior of the dependent person. They believe they must be doing something which triggers the drinking or using. They begin to question themselves and find unreasonable fault in their own behavior.
  • Social events are cancelled . Friends are not invited into the home. Despite this dance of avoidance, the behavior of the chemically dependent person continues to bring embarrassment to family members.
  • Don’t talk – keeping secrets
  • Don’t trust – let down too many times
  • Don’t feel – too risky – eventually don’t know which feelings are which.
  • Patterns repeat
  • Chemical Dependency and the Family - October 2012

    1. 1. Chemical Dependency and the FamilyDawn Farm Education Series: 2012 Lynn Kleiman Malinoff, Ed.D.
    2. 2. Lynn Kleiman Malinoff, Ed.D. Specialist in education of at-risk youth and positive youth development for 30 years in public education Treatment Director for the Adolescent Recovery Center (1980’s) – a treatment program for addicted youth and their families Project Director – 21st Century Community Learning Centers Bright Futures – Eastern Michigan University – Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Communities – 2007 – present.
    3. 3. Special thanks to Claudia Black, PhD
    4. 4. Chemical Dependency and the Family Chemical dependency overview Definition of family Effects of chemical dependency on families What can you do? Resources
    5. 5. What is CD…addiction, according to NIDA? Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.
    6. 6. What is CD…addiction? Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, and craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with ones behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.
    7. 7. Biological/Physical Effects Chemical tolerance Withdrawal symptoms Chemically dependent people crave drugs and physically do not feel normal without them
    8. 8. Addiction is a disease.  It has defined signs and symptoms  It is chronic  It is progressive  It is fatal, if not treated
    9. 9. Signs and Symptoms Frequent intoxication Once user starts, can’t stop Blackouts Behavior changes while using Begins to miss work or other obligations, like family
    10. 10. Signs and Symptoms Legal troubles Drug taking in larger amounts than intended Inability to cut down on drug use A great deal of time spent in activities necessary to obtain the drug and Continued use despite negative consequences
    11. 11. Addiction is Chronic Symptoms arise and last over time Interrupts the developmental cycle Time not spent developing talents, skills, interests Time spent in detention, jail, prison May begin with an acute event (or more than one) Eventually just becomes ‘routine’
    12. 12. Addiction is Progressive Stages  Early  May be asymptomatic  Middle  Tends to be when use affects relationships, life, work, etc.  Late  Obvious symptoms
    13. 13. Addiction is Fatal If left untreated, addiction to drugs will eventually kill by disease, overdose, or accident or lead to incarceration or institutionalization. Drug related car and other accidents, Violent activities, dangerous behaviors, gangs, fights, burglaries, homicide Overdose Suicide, attempted suicide Diseases related to drug use
    14. 14. Psychological Effects Drugs control mind, thinking, attitude, beliefs Drugs control their moods Believe life is not possible without drugs Obsessive thoughts about drug Love relationship with drug
    15. 15. What is missing here?This disease is a FAMILY DISEASE!
    16. 16. The years of living with an alcoholic is almost sure to make any wife or child neurotic. The entire family is to some extent ill. Alcoholics Anonymous – p.122
    17. 17. family [ˈfæmɪlɪ ˈfæmlɪ]n pl -lies1. (Sociology)a.  a primarysocial group consisting of parents and their offspring, theprincipal function of which is provision for its members
    18. 18. A family is…
    19. 19. Common features of families Unique roles Shared roles Rules—spoken or unspoken Values and beliefs Shared history
    20. 20. Families are Systems
    21. 21. Until something changes…
    22. 22. And everything reflects the change Role shifts Changed responsibilities Rules are broken Upended values and beliefs Loss of history Denial sets in
    23. 23. Chemical Dependency Changes: How it feels to live in the family How people communicate How family members relate to each other and get along How family members deal with problems and conflicts
    24. 24. Chemical Dependency Changes: How family members meet each other’s needs How members assume roles and meet the demands of these roles How family members relate to the outside world: We often recreate our family relationships in other relationships!
    25. 25. The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil.Alcoholics Anonymous – p.82
    26. 26. Resulting Disappointmento The chemically dependent person is unable to live up to his or her commitments and promises.o Broken promises and unfulfilled expectations are common.o Members of the family are constantly having their high hopes turn into great disappointments.
    27. 27. Characteristics of the Alcoholicor Chemically Dependent Family  The Centricity of the Alcoholic  Denial and Shame  Inconsistency, Insecurity and Fear  Anger and Hatred  Guilt and Blame  Resentments develop
    28. 28. It brings misunderstanding, fierce resentments, financial insecurity, disgusted friends and employers, warped lives of blameless children, sad wives and parents. Anyone can increase the list.Alcoholics Anonymous – p. 18
    29. 29. Denial and Shame
    30. 30. Inconsistency, Insecurity, Fear
    31. 31. Anger and Hatred
    32. 32. Guilt and Blame
    33. 33. Embarrassment
    34. 34. Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.
    35. 35. Ways Family Members Reduce Stress Ignoring the problem behaviors, conflict, and pain Using defense mechanisms (both the chemically dependent person and other family members – denial, minimization, approval seeking, victimization ) Taking on new roles to stabilize the family – children caring for children, protecting the family secret
    36. 36. Family RolesThe HeroThe ScapegoatThe Lost ChildThe MascotThe Chief Enabler
    37. 37. The Hero
    38. 38. The Hero  Behaviors:  High achiever, excels, leads, very busy, almost never says no, responds to adult, controlling  Feelings:  Anxiety, inadequacy, unworthiness, resentfulness, self-blame, loneliness  As an adult:  Unrealistic sense of control, needs to control, needs approval, feels overly responsible or may act irresponsibly when overwhelmedOffers the family a sense of being okay
    39. 39. The Scapegoat
    40. 40. The Scapegoat  Behaviors:  Tests limits, breaks rules, gets in trouble, acts aggressively, uses substances as an outlet/relief, inappropriate language, behavior, dress, usually has most realistic picture of the family.  Feelings:  Anger, confusion, resentment, inadequacy, self-blame for family problems, “out of control”  As an adult:  Typically has progressive substance abuse problems; problems throughout life; progressive involvement with the criminal justice systemOffers the family a sense of purpose by providing someone to blame
    41. 41. The Lost Child
    42. 42. The Lost Child  Behaviors:  Quiet, daydreamer, isolates, fantasizes, avoids conflict, passive  Feelings:  Loneliness, fear, unworthiness, inadequacy, lack of fulfillment  As an adult:  May have problems with depression, difficulty with interpersonal relationships, alcohol or drug problems usually due to inability to cope Offers the family a sense of relief andsuccess, and is not a trouble to the family
    43. 43. The Mascot
    44. 44. The Mascot Behaviors:  Class clown, seeks attention through humor and acting out, uses humor to keep people at a distance, seldom serious Feelings:  Anxiety – measures self-worth by how others see him or her; anger; hurt; loneliness As an adult:  Problems in school and at work, seldom forms intimate relationships, “clowns around” or “life of the party,” may develop SA problems Offers the family a sense of comic relief from the pain
    45. 45. The Chief Enabler
    46. 46. The Chief Enabler Behaviors:  Shelters and shields the using family members, makes excuses for and may lie to protect the user, minimizes negative consequences, blames others for the problems, sometimes sabotages progress towards recovery Feelings:  Anger, hurt, guilt, resentment, anxiety, fear, desperate to control everything, helpless, exhausted Offers the family a sense of stability and protection
    47. 47. One in four children livein a home wherealcoholism or alcoholabuse is present daily.
    48. 48. Children in CD homes are: 3 times more likely to be verbally, physically, or sexually abused 4 times more likely to be neglected 4 times more likely to develop chemical dependency problems of their own
    49. 49. Children in CD homes are at great risk for: Emotional problems Physical health problems Learning difficulties
    50. 50. Is there hope?
    51. 51. Recovery…The alcoholic may find it hard to establish friendly relationships with his children….They cannot seem to forgive and forget…In time they will see he is a new man and in their own way they will let him know it. From this point on, progress will be rapid.Alcoholics Anonymous – p. 134 (The Family Afterward)
    52. 52. Al-AnonWe who live or have lived with the problem of alcoholism understand as perhaps few others can. We, too, were lonely and frustrated, but in Al-Anon we discover that no situation is really hopeless, and that it is possible to find contentment, even happiness, whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.How Al-Anon Works – p. 8
    53. 53. It’s work!The battle against alcoholism has become the basis for many of our relationships. Putting an end to this battle requires completely redefining what we believe about ourselves, others and our relationships.How Alanon Works – p. 46
    54. 54. The family situation is bound to improve as we apply the Al- Anon ideas. Without such spiritual help, living with an alcoholic is too much for most of us. Our thinking becomes distorted by trying to force solutions, and we become irritable and unreasonable without knowing it.How Alanon Works – p. 8
    55. 55.  A systemic disease needs systemic treatment Chemically dependent families have choices and can break the unhealthy norms of the family. It doesn’t matter why these roles were developed, they do not have to be maintained!
    56. 56. What’s a family to do? Develop an understanding andacceptance that addiction is a disease.
    57. 57. Love theperson, hatethe disease
    58. 58. What’s a family to do? Attend AlAnon, AA, NA, or any 12-step support group. Get professional help from a therapist, medical doctor, clergy, etc. Confront denial -- accept responsibility for your behavior.
    59. 59. A word to the helping professional….Learn all you can aboutchemical dependency and co-dependency.If you live or have lived withchemical dependency, seekrecovery.
    60. 60. Just because the alcoholic gets drunk, acts out, fails to meet an obligation, declares the sky is orange, or makes or breaks a promise, does not mean that those who care about him or her must do what we have always done before. We are not trapped.We have choices.How Al-Anon Works – p. 30
    61. 61. Resources/references It Will Never Happen to Me – Claudia Black Codependent No More – Melody Beattie Broken Bottles, Broken Dreams – Charles Deutsch
    62. 62. Data were obtained from the following sources:U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. SAMHSAs Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. You Can Help: A Guide for Caring Adults Working with Young People Experiencing chemical dependency in the Family  (PHD878, (SMA) 01- 3544)Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.University of Pennsylvania Health System: