Peter Hayton, Clinical Director at The Banyans: The impact of dependence and addiction
issues on family is just as huge, as vast, but it’s very significant. Families struggle to function in any normal way. Kids struggle with their development, loved ones struggle with pain and harm because of a dependency or addiction issue. So the impact on the family unit is just huge.
It’s why it’s so important then when there is some recognition of there being concerns, that actions are taken quite quickly.
Joey, Wellness Advocate and former alcoholic: The impact of addiction on family dynamics is horrendous. In my own situation, it was really bad. There were a couple of occasions where my husband took our kids and he left the home with them, and he stayed in a motel for a night or two with them to get them away from me because he didn’t want them exposed to my drunkenness and my behavior.
Our marriage was in tatters to say the least, our relationship had all but broken down. He couldn’t communicate with me because I was always drunk. He would say things to me, we would argue. We would try to communicate and then of course I wouldn’t remember any of it when I woke up the next morning because I was so drunk. Eventually it got to the stage where communication between us ceased altogether.
My relationship with my children completely broke down because I had no bond with them anymore. My children didn’t want to come anywhere near me because I was always angry. I was always tearful, I was always pushing them away I didn’t want them anywhere near me I didn’t want them near me because I was drunk.
But I also didn’t want them near me because my self-esteem was so low, and I felt that they deserved better. I felt that they deserved a better mother. Eventually it got to the stage where I used to actually pray that I would die. I wanted to drink myself to death because I felt that my husband deserved a better wife, my kids deserved a better mother, and I just wanted to die so that my husband could go find another woman: a lovely woman, a beautiful non-drinking, charming, nice woman and that he could marry her instead. And that she could be a mother to my kids and give them the life that they deserved. That’s how low my self-esteem was, and our family was a shambles.
It got to the stage where I was dying I was slowly drinking myself to death. Then by making the decision to get better, I not only chose to get better but it was an investment. It was an investment in my own health and in my longevity. It was an investment for my family to get better.
Because when I had the naltrexone implant I was 27, so that’s given me an extra 50 or 60 years of life hasn’t it? And if I have an extra 50 or 60 years of life that means my husband and I have an extra (hopefully) 50 or 60 years of marriage, and then my children have an extra 60 or 70 years to live that they have their mother with them.
But they have their sober, healthy, loving mother with them – the mother that they deserve. My husband has the wife that he deserves. And then I live the life that I deserve. So if you add all of that together you’re looking at about 300 odd years of life. So it’s not just a choice to be healthy – it’s an investment in me and in my family, you.