I was left with an impression of just how devastating addiction can be on a family after I had a significant experience sitting with one particular family during a session. For the sake of confidentiality, we will call the couple Mike and Sarah. To give you a little background, this particular family was no different from many of the others I had worked with in the past. On the outside there were no signs that anything was seriously wrong. Both Mike and Sarah had solid jobs and made decent money. Both of their children went to good schools and made respectable grades. They were a social family with a lot of friends and support and a nice home. On the surface they had the ideal life. Unfortunately, on the inside, the family was struggling with a secret.
It started with a Xanax Prescription
When Mike advanced to a new position about a year ago he took on a lot of new responsibilities and a lot of new stress. In order to help him through sleepless nights and increasing anxiety, Mike was prescribed Xanax to help him get through this season. He began taking it as he should, but over the span of the next few months, Mike found himself developing a dependency on these medications. In the evenings, he would come home and have a drink or two in the evening to help him “relax”. Over time Mike’s mood began to change and he became somewhat unpredictable with his anger and patience with his family.
Ultimately, it was a near scare with law enforcement that put the spotlight on what was otherwise an unspoken problem. Sitting across from Mike and his wife, I listened to a metaphor that seemed to ring true when describing what had occurred. Sarah talked about the nights of her husband withdrawing from what used to be family time. Although he would be physically present, the family could tell he wasn’t really engaged. Conversations would occur between Sarah and their children who would ask why their dad gotten so angry sometimes and their fear that developed around the evenings when their father would come home– the unpredictability of which man would be in their home. Sarah closed by saying this addiction to pills and booze had not caused the family the kind of loss that most people might think. They hadn’t lost their house or their marriage, Mike’s job wasn’t in jeopardy, but emotionally, they suffered greatly. It had been like an emotional grenade going off in their house. Sarah said: “ I feel like Mike put all of us in a room and handed us this live grenade and just walked out. When it went off everyone in our house felt its impact and no one will be the same again after this experience and we are left to pick up the pieces that are left of our family.”
Addiction Affects the Family
That analogy always stuck with me. So often people become fixated on what happens to an individual when they get trapped in addiction that they forget about the families that are walking alongside them. If someone hasn’t lost their employment, gotten a DUI or had something physical happen to them, then it is as if there is not a problem. More often than not, it’s the people that are closest to those who have addiction issues that wind up with lasting pain and damage from the disease. Thankfully, just as someone can find recovery from addiction, so too can families find healing in their own journey. Once a family finds their voice, that is when healing beings.
Do You Need Help with a Xanax Addiction?
If you or a loved one is suffering from a Xanax addiction help and hope are always available. You can contact our team by calling 1-888-986-7848 and speak to one of trained admissions coordinators. They will be able to review your benefits and find the best course of action for treating a xanax addiction.
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David has spent the last decade working with people and families who have been impacted by addiction. His career dedicated to helping people has led him to working both in treatment centers, private practice and designing a pro bono counseling program for a local outreach center in Nashville designed to work with low income families that would otherwise not have access to services.All stories by: David Hofstetter, MA, LADAC II