Regardless of how someone is attempting to cope with their addictions, or however isolating it may feel, suffering from an addiction affects everyone who comes into contact with the sufferer. No matter how much distance someone tries to put between themselves and others, they will always affect those they love in some way.

Addiction has several obstacles that need to be addressed throughout the recovery process. Communication and trust break down, and emotions become fragile and tense. When someone is suffering from any kind of addiction, the whole family falls ill with them.

Secrecy Becomes the Norm

Communication is often the first thing to go when a person is suffering from addiction. This can be due to the addicted person trying to wall themselves off, or members of the family being unwilling to bring up the subject. Either way, the results are the same – silence and secrecy.

This gives way to a home atmosphere of constant danger as family members begin to watch their own language to avoid upsetting anyone else. The emotional cost of continually silencing oneself can take an enormous toll. The experience of a family member developing an addiction can be very stressful for all involved.

The addicted person experiences their own agitation, but the rest of the family also experiences aggravation and frustration. Communication breaks down as silence and secrecy become the norm. Family members begin to hide things from one another that aren’t even related to the addiction. The family unit dissolves into a collection of individuals forced to exist in the same space.

Emotional Exhaustion and Energy Cost

Even when families are doing everything to support a recovering person, the emotional toll can catch up with them. Things like compassion fatigue can begin to jade individual family members, while others are forced to play caretaker.

While love may still be there, it can become more difficult to empathize with others. This lack of connection and empathy begins to extend far beyond the addicted person, affecting everyone. Someone’s own children, brother, or sisters could be forced into caretaker-type roles where they feel responsible for the well-being of the addicted person.

Feelings of resentment and anger can begin to build as they have to find more time to care for another while also dealing with their own lives. Each member can grow ill with resentment towards the situation, and they can be left with very few outlets to express their emotions safely.

Distrust Runs Rampant

Trusting someone is a difficult thing to do. Trust can quickly fall apart when living in an environment that isn’t conducive to safe expression or conversation. Suspicion and doubt become the family watchwords. Nobody can trust what anybody else is telling them. The addiction is present, but its impact spreads far beyond the suffering person.

People begin to question how much each person knows and what should be done next. The family home feels fraught and tense, all while the addiction itself still needs to be addressed on a surface level. It is a cacophony of difficulties leaving every person in the family feeling isolated from each other.

There Is Always a Financial Cost

While the emotional and mental difficulties are substantial, an addiction also usually includes a hefty price tag. They may be misappropriating funds for alcohol instead of rent and groceries or spending the very last of their money on drugs.

Holding a job while suffering from an addiction can be a tough thing to do. In turn, the financial burden of supporting the essentials like room and board, food, water, electricity, and other essentials falls on the rest of the family. Even if someone is trying to wall themselves off to not hurt the members of their family, the effects will reach them.

Regardless of how isolating it may feel to be suffering from addiction, there will always be a cost to our loved ones. The closer they are to us, the more our addiction affects them. While dealing with addiction is a long process, it is crucial to listen to each family member to mitigate the feelings of a fragmented home. Approaching addiction as a unified front is one of the most effective ways to stay motivated towards a future of sobriety.

If you or a family member are suffering from an addiction, talking about it and addressing it early is the best way to prevent further fallout for the entire family. Emerge Resilient offers a modern take on group, equine, and many other personalized therapy programs catered to the specific goals of each person, all while instilling life skills that will be needed to mend the family front. Relationship and trust-building are core elements of the treatment offered. At the same time, each program is specially designed for the individual’s needs. For more information on their horses and programs, contact Emerge Resilient at (858) 280-1525 or by visiting for a no-cost, 30-minute blueprint on how your recovery may look with Emerge Resilient.