Dr. David Sack explains how drug addiction and alcoholism affects not only the addict but also their friends and family. Dr. Sack describes how the addict will often act in different ways that can negatively impact the family. Often times addicts have a lack of reliability and traits of irresponsibility.
Dr. Sack recognizes the abusiveness often found in family systems with an addicted member. When someone is addiction to drugs, behaviors such as Lying, stealing and endangering others are not uncommon. Dr. Sack describes the differences between enabling and helping. He defines enabling as doing anything that can make the addiction worse and progress further. This often happens when family members, for example, buy alcohol for the alcoholic so they are safe at home. Short term safety is often a primary concern for families unsure on how to help effectively.
Helping an addict comes in a few steps; first step is for the family to learn about addiction, secondly the family can have a conversation with the addict setting boundaries. Lastly family therapy sessions are often available at treatment centers and involve both Psychoeducation and family therapy process groups. Both of these combined are helpful for a family system to recover.