The affects of “Users” can be difficult on the family members. Children of parents who abuse substances are more likely to experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse.  These children are at higher risk for substance abuse problems later in life.   These children can have emotional effects as well, having trouble developing a since of trust with others.  The spouse, of someone who uses, may feel a since of guilt because he/she cannot stop the substance abuse.  Additionally, they can also be victim to domestic violence or serious injury.

A frequently asked question is, “What are some of the experiences that the spouse or healthy family member feels?

* The spouse may feel the need to take on the role of care taker to the one who is abusing substances.
* May feel the need to control what the substance abuser does.
* Faces constant emotional strains and pressures.
* Feels lonely and frustrated.
* May feel that the situation is hopeless.
* May try to force solutions on the alcoholic or substance abuse user

A frequently asked question is “What are some ways that the Graduate Counseling Intern can help?

* Help spouse or family member realize that they are not responsible for their spouses substance abuse or recovery from it. 
*I can provide valuable knowledge about substance abuse and help spouse or family member accept the idea that alcoholism or substance abuse is an illness.
* I can help restore broken relationships and help improve attitudes and state of mind.
* Help the spouse or family member separate themselves from the adverse effects of spouse’s substance abuse and help them learn to take care of themselves. 

Basically, I am here to be a support in your life, as you support your loved one in their struggles or in their journey towards recovery.  The main point to remember is you are not alone.  There are many resources available to you.  Two of my favorite websites to share with families of those who struggle with addictions.  – The Center of Addiction and Family – Al-Non Family Groups


Please let me know what I can do to help!

– Patty

Patty Becker is a Graduate Counseling Student at Lindenwood University and a Graduate Counseling Intern in the Stepping Stones Program with Step By Step Counseling.