Addictions never exist in a vacuum. The choice of one individual to abuse a drug always produces devastating consequences. It doesn’t take long for the ramifications of one’s addiction to pry into the innocent, unassuming lives of friends and loved ones.
As families of meth addicts quickly become aware of, their loved one’s twisted reality becomes the driving force behind dismantling their family unit.
If your loved one is addicted to meth, it can be incredibly hard to make sense of all you and your family are going through. While meth addiction affects every individual and family differently, the following situations are common, ruinous ways it can severely damage your family’s dynamic:
How Meth Addiction Affects Families When a Teenage or Adult Child is Using
For any parent, realizing addiction has entered their child’s life is nothing short of terrifying. To witness them suffer, to watch them struggle, to seemingly have a front-row seat to the deterioration of their life produces a paralyzing feeling unlike any other. And, it gets worse.
When a child is addicted to meth, the entire family endures pain and hardships because of:
- Isolated behavior
Meth fundamentally alters how an addict thinks and acts. Some meth addicts may have sobering moments where they feel embarrassed for their addiction or specific behaviors they displayed and, thus, will withdraw from relationships or distance themselves in hopes that their addiction won’t hurt their family anymore.
Isolation, however, only causes more despair to loved ones, as family members are left frantically trying to reconnect and support the addict in the hopes they get clean.
- Enabling treatment
Understandably, parents will do anything for their children. Because of this, parents are especially apt to enable a child who is contending with a meth addiction. While the intentions of enabling family members are only to help guide their loved one toward quitting and getting healthy, enabling behaviors – bribing, incentivizing and bargaining – actually do just the opposite.
Enabling only helps a meth addict continue to abuse the toxic substance. Enabling family members are unknowingly protecting addicts from the real consequences of abusing meth and allowing them to continue their calamitous behavior.
When family members realize their efforts are ineffective, it can cause additional stress, arguments, and serious dysfunction within the family.
- School issues & Employment problems
Depending on an addict’s age, meth can destroy their academic or professional performance.
When a child begins to fall behind in school, receive failing grades or display inappropriate behavior toward other students because of their meth addiction, the entire family can feel the immense pressure that these actions cause. Parents become upset, tensions rise and siblings can be left to wonder what’s going to happen next in such a turbulent home.
When an adult child begins to display poor work ethic, inappropriate behavior and a subpar performance at their job responsibilities because of their meth addiction, termination is very likely. When an adult child becomes unemployed, parents, siblings and even extended family members are often left to put a roof over their head and provide for their needs until they get back on their feet. Meth addiction, however, rarely allows anyone to get back on their feet by themselves, forcing an adult child to overstay their welcome and become a source of worry, stress and resentment for other family members.
- Criminal charges
Meth addiction can cause an individual to go to great lengths to support their habit. In turn, they can run into problems with the legal system by:
- Stealing money or items to sell in order to get more meth
- Assaulting people while trying to rob them
- Potentially robbing a known dealer to steal more meth
- Other situations
When a child incurs criminal charges, it places the parents in a position where they could be forced to attend court dates or sacrifice their own hard-earned money to pay for their child’s legal defense, bail or other miscellaneous legal expense.
Regardless of the above situation(s) a family finds themselves in, a child’s meth addiction can take a significant emotional toll on every family member. Addiction can make parents feel fundamentally inadequate in regard to parenting techniques, and every family member can develop depressive disorders or feelings of excessive anxiety.
How Meth Addiction Affects Families When a Parent is Using
When a parent is addicted to meth, children of all ages are often the recipients of selfish, neglectful, dangerous parenting. When a parent is absent or makes incredibly harmful decisions, children suffer the most without any warning or means to make their situation better. A child can endure trauma and/or develop life-long mental and emotional issues because of:
- A parent’s financially instability
Meth addiction is not cheap. Unfortunately, it is very common for parents to spend entire paychecks on their addiction or dip into the family’s savings or a child’s college fund to get their next fix. It doesn’t take long for a meth addiction to drain a family’s bank account and cause deep financial stress that children can sense and experience first-hand.
- A parent’s failure to meet responsibilities
Because addictions rule an individual’s life, parental responsibilities come second to meth. When a parent is addicted to meth, they are no longer focused on their child’s needs. Failing to remember to feed their children or provide them with a healthy, nutritious meal; neglecting to bathe their children; forgetting to take them to practices or other activities; disregarding the importance of helping children with schoolwork or talking about their day can place an incredible amount of hurt and burden on a child. Many times, a child of a meth addict is left to care for themselves and/or their siblings on their own. This can create dangerous situations and feelings of abandonment.
- A parent’s unstable emotional state
Meth addiction can cause an individual to experience paranoia, excessive anxiety, feelings of hopelessness when coming off the drug, and bouts of heavy depression. Children are the unfortunate innocent bystanders of these unstable emotional states. These emotions create an unstable home environment lacking attentiveness, comfort and guidance. Worst of all, children can start to feel responsible for their parent’s actions, as if something they did caused their parents to stop showing them love and affection.
- A parent’s disintegrating career
Addictions leave no facets of life untouched. When a meth addiction begins to seep into an addict’s work life, the risk of demotion or termination becomes incredibly high. Employment issues can result in more financial issues causing a person to question, “what’s going to happen next?” From an early age, children understand the necessity and importance of a job. When they sense a parent’s job is rocky or no longer existent, it can cause them to stress about the future of the family and how things will unfold.
- A parent’s criminal activity
When a parent gets caught up in the legal system because of their meth addiction, it results in a lack of structure and behavioral expectation due to the parent’s inability to monitor their own actions, let alone their children’s.
A parent’s criminal activity sets into motion systemic levels of criminogenic behavior. A child growing up in this type of environment – where their parent is constantly fighting drug addiction and the legal system – could normalize this type of home life, leading the child down a criminogenic path as well.
Holistic Meth Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery
Meth addiction can easily burden a family with intense pain or tear a family apart. Having a meth addict in your life can make every day feel like the wheels are coming off a little more and you don’t know what to do or who to turn to.
At Ranch Creek Recovery, we understand exactly where you are and what you’re going through. You are arguably living the hardest, most distressing days of your life. But there is hope and life-changing support.
Through our holistic methamphetamine addiction treatment program, we go beyond the normal twelve steps and focus on tailor-fitting treatment to address each patient’s unique needs. It’s about individualized treatment at Ranch Creek, and your loved one can discover a new beginning here and help your entire family start anew.
Learn more about Ranch Creek Recovery, including our meth addiction recovery program.