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Getting Treatment When You Have a Family to Support

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Getting Treatment When You Have a Family to Support

Let’s face it . . . in today’s world, it basically takes two incomes and a miracle to grow and support a family comfortably. As the cost of living rises, so does the poverty level. Once you enter the full-time grind, there’s really no turning back. So what happens when addiction gets introduced into the mix? You obviously can’t provide for your family if you’re catering to your addiction. But how can you get treatment if you’re the provider for your family?


The thing is addiction takes away from your life while recovery betters it. Addiction takes away your ability to provide. Recovery can help create a space for you to be a better provider. However, that’s not to say that recovery is a walk in the park and will end up solving all of your problems. It takes work but it’s worth it. So, we broke it down and laid out exactly why treatment is a necessity for the betterment of your family.

Addiction Hurts Your Family


Drugs cost money. Alcohol costs money. Addiction costs money. Virtually everyone has gone out drinking with friends only to wake up in the morning to see that their bank account is way too low. When you’re an addict, that money dip happens every day. And the addict might not even care. Because the important thing to the addict is that he gets his fix, not that his bank account maintains a solid balance. You may earn a solid income but addiction will still wreak havoc on your paycheck. The money that you spend on beer, heroin, or meth in a month can hijack your car payment, your grocery budget, and your rent. For your family, that means that you won’t be able to drive to work, feed your kids, or pay for the roof over their heads.


Money isn’t the only currency that the provider figure gives to his family. He also provides support. But addiction takes over an addict’s life. Instead of being there for his fiancé’s birthday dinner or his son’s soccer game, an addict devotes his time to acquiring his drug of choice. Even if an addict notices his problem and tries to stop, more than likely he’ll be too sick with withdrawal symptoms to pay attention to his wife explaining her bad day at work.


Certain drugs change the way a person acts. For example, meth can cause paranoia. A meth user can start to distrust people and develop the feeling that his friends and family are out to get him. So he’ll lash out, start arguments, and respond aggressively. The family is at the receiving end of this behavior.

Examples of Substances that Change Behavior:

  • Paranoia
  • Distrust of others
  • Aggression
  • Violent behavior

  • Anxiety
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Violent behavior
  • Irritability

  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Neglect
  • Depression

Treatment Can Restore Your Abilities to Provide

Addiction treatment occurs in phases. The first phase is detox, during which the drugs are weaned out of the addict’s system. Think of it as making your body a clean slate for recovery. The withdrawal symptoms that would typically keep you from engaging with your family normally are managed by case managers and support staff so that you can detox comfortably.


After detox you will be ready to graduate to further treatment, such as residential or outpatient. You’ll be able to learn coping strategies, behavior management, and skills for moving forward clean and sober. These are the things that are crucial to being able to provide for your family once again. Not only will you be free from the insidious grasp of your addiction, but you’ll also now carry the tools necessary for maintaining sobriety.

Common Concerns When You’re the Provider:

I can’t be in treatment for too long!

Many people – especially those who are the primary or sole provider for their families – are afraid that treatment will take too long. The length of treatment needed varies depending on the individual and the type of drug. Detox usually lasts 7 to 9 days. That time is crucial because almost all drugs (including alcohol) carry some sort of withdrawal symptoms. So, in order to keep those symptoms at bay, time spent in detox is necessary. If you’re worried about your job, you can try to schedule detox around it. For example, let’s say you have weekends off. If you enter a detox facility on a Friday afternoon, you will then only need to take off a couple days at the beginning of the following week because you’ll have had three solid weekend days in treatment already.

Treatment after detox is a little more flexible. Residential treatment has its benefits but you can also find an outpatient program if you need to go back to work or if you have other family obligations that need tending to. The thing you need to remember is treatment may take a chunk of time out of your everyday life, but recovery is forever. The time it takes to go through treatment is such a small price to pay for a better life.

How do I go back to work after such a big change?

familyIt’s natural to have anxiety about returning to work after addiction treatment. If you’re returning to the job you held before treatment, you’ll likely worry about things like nosy coworkers, staying sober at work events, and managing your previous workload. Remember that your recovery is now your top priority. If your recovery suffers, the rest of your world suffers as well. Give yourself enough time and patience to get your bearings and you’ll be able to perform at work even better than you used to because you’re no longer hindered by your addiction. As for your coworkers . . . your recovery is YOUR recovery. How much of it you wish to share is completely up to you.

Looking for a new job after treatment is not the end of the world either. Many treatment programs offer job placement services. You’ll also find that certain jobs can help your recovery, such as a counselor or nurse.

How do I tell my family?

A true family sticks together through thick and thin. Your family – whether it’s your husband, wife, kids, or girlfriend – wants what’s best for you. If they count on you for emotional or financial support, then it’s important that you explain to them that treatment will only make you a better provider. Your kids especially depend on you to be the best parent and role model that you can be. We have some tips on explaining treatment to your kids so that they understand that you may be getting help but you’re still a point of strength and support for the family.

We get it. Addiction treatment can seem impossible when you have a family to provide for. But the reality is you can’t provide for your family when you’re a slave to your addiction. Recovery can help you better yourself and create a space for you to be an even better provider. You just need to take the first step.

If you are struggling to support yourself or your family because of addiction, New Start can help. Call us at 855-737-7363 for a free and confidential assessment or reach out to us through our live chat for more information.

Posted in Addiction, For Loved Ones, Recovery