The Effects of Alcohol & Drugs on the Family

How does alcohol and drug addiction affect families?

Lee Taylor, our Family Therapy Coordinator, talks about the effects of alcohol and drug addiction on the family:

“Castle Craig is not only about working with the patients, it’s about working with the families as well. This is a family illness.

She describes addiction as “a very secretive illness”, one which families try to hide behind closed doors, to appear ‘normal’. Lee talks about denial within whole families, they go to extraordinary lengths to cover up for the alcoholic; friends and employers are also guilty of this. 

The impact on identity

Family members also experience guilt, anger, anxiety, helplessness – they have lied, covered up for the addict, they have pleaded with them and made threats. They often say ‘I just don’t know who I am anymore’.

“Many families don’t want to come on the family programme. They’re fearful, they’re anxious and they are under an illusion and a delusion that ‘I’m all right if you just fix them’ – then things will be okay.”

Drawn into the web of addiction

“One of the props I use in the Family Programme is a huge plastic spider and a web, and that’s an analogy I use: the fact is you have been drawn into the web. You might not know it but you have.”

More information on Castle Craig’s residential family programme and Family therapy.