Common Family Problems

Drug and alcohol abuse not only affects you, but also your family. Addictions often create interpersonal problems for all family members.

The Facts About Addiction

  1. Jealousy: You can grow jealous of your friends, your partner, other family members and other people in your life. Your partner may also be jealous and resentful of you.
  2. Conflict with Partner: You may have arguments, get/give the “silent treatment” or grow apart by putting your addiction first.
  3. Conflict with Children: You may argue with your children and they may disregard your authority or be afraid of you.
  4. Conflict over Money: You may struggle economically because of losing your job, taking time off from your job, making poor financial choices or simply pouring your money into your addiction.
  5. Emotional Trauma: You may create emotional hardships for your partner and/or your children by yelling, talking down, insulting or manipulating.
  6. Violence: You may become violent or your family members may become violent with you, including slapping, hitting or smashing or throwing objects.
  7. Cheating: You may become distant from your partner and seek satisfaction through pornography, Internet sex, prostitution or someone else in your life who you feel “understands” you.
  8. Separation: Your behavior due to addiction may cause separation, divorce, and/or isolation from other family members, particularly children, either because they’ve been taken from you or because they don’t want to be around you.
  9. Patterns: Your life example will influence your partner, your children and other family members. There is a high likelihood that your children will become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
  10. Health Risks: Drinking while pregnant can cause fetal alcohol syndrome — damage to the baby’s brain. Smoking in the household can cause health problems for family members from secondhand smoke, including lung cancer. Being under the influence of drugs and alcohol will overall impair your judgment and can lead to neglect or harm.

Family Structures

Drug and alcohol abuse affects different family structures in different ways. These family structures are adapted from The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services “Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy” guide:

You live alone or with a partner: Both of you need help. If one of you has an addiction and the other doesn’t, you’ll suffer from issues of co-dependence.

You live with a spouse or partner and young children: Parents’ problems effect children. Often, one parent has an addiction and the other protects the children or assumes more parental responsibilities. If both parents have addictions, the effect on children is worse. Your addiction is likely to pass down to your children.

You have a step-family: Substance abuse impedes your step-family’s integration and stability.

You are older and have grown children: Family resources are needed to treat an older adult’s substance abuse. Elder maltreatment may become an issue.

You are younger and live with your family: The needs and concerns of siblings or other family members may get ignored because of crises caused by substance abuse. If you also have a parent who has a substance abuse problem, you’re in danger of physical and/or emotional conflicts.

Here at First Step Community Recovery Center we work hard to help you and your family take the first step toward recovery. We are here to walk you through the process, starting with detoxification, individual counseling, and group counseling.

Communication is key, please give us a call at (414) 342-6200. Our treatment staff will walk you through the process step by step and answer any questions you or your loved ones might have.

Telephones are available throughout your treatment at our facility, and there will be time given to consult and speak with loved ones each day.

For more information and resources for family members of those with substance abuse issues, please visit

Matt Talbot Recovery Services