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How Siblings Are Impacted by Addiction

Addiction is not just about one person, it is about a bunch of people struggling through a challenging season. The ripple effects are enormous for people in recovery, but they are more difficult if the person is in denial. When a person with addiction refuses to seek help, they often take other family members along for the ride. Siblings are some of the closest bonds a person can form unhealthy behaviors that often impact the family dynamic in a way that breaks those important bonds. Repairing them takes time and intention. Learn more about how siblings are impacted by addiction and how to help a loved one seek help.

Why Addiction Spreads

The impact of addiction is felt across generations in some cases. Great grandparents may have struggled with alcoholism or addiction of some kind, which can get passed down for different reasons. Every person may struggle with worry and fear for a loved one’s future. There may be confusion about how to help and offer support. Addiction spreads because loved ones don’t know how to support someone with myriad issues which may include undiagnosed trauma or mental health concerns. Even in their desperation to help, they may not be sure how to be of the most support. 

Impact of Addiction

Sibling battles make people feel helpless. No matter what age a person is, or how they struggled, the impact can be isolating. Some common feelings people with addiction have can include:

  • Confusion about how to offer support
  • Bitterness or feelings of rejection
  • Fears about whether it runs in the family
  • Shame or guilt at cutting the person with addiction from their lives
  • Pressure to perform

Acknowledgment of these feelings is important to understanding how a person feels. Every person is impacted by the family, but siblings may be missing their brother or sister and wanting them back in their lives. They find they are not the same person they once knew and feel powerless to change circumstances to get them back again.

Helping a Sibling

The first step to building support for a sibling is to acknowledge they have an addiction. This is nothing they can control right now, but seeking help should start with overcoming denial. Everyone has a role in addiction and maybe the sibling has been enabling without realizing it. There is no shame in realizing the family structure of addiction but once a person knows it is going on, they can seek to make it right. They don’t have to carry the burden for success or failure on their own and control the relationship any longer. They are able to find an interventionist, other family members, and a place that will take their sibling in to get help. They can be a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and positive support. Until the person overcomes their own denial, they are not likely to get help. With the right support and resources, they may come around and finally get the help they desperately need.

The Guest House Ocala welcomes people who are struggling with addiction. Our goal is to support your individual recovery. We offer help to siblings and loved ones who are struggling with addiction. We provide space for the family to come alongside their loved ones and find hope for the days ahead. Call us to find out how to get started: 1-855-483-7800