There is a direct link between family relationships and the potential for the development of adolescent substance abuse. It has been shown that teens who were more likely to become addicts generally demonstrated a less close relationship with their parents than other young people. One explanation may be that parents of drug users seem to have had fewer tendencies to establish rules and standards for their children, particularly if they use or abuse substances themselves.
Even parents who do not drink or use drugs run the risk of passing along unhealed wounds to their children if they themselves were raised in a household with alcoholism, addiction, or abuse and never addressed these issues. Despite the absence of addiction in an immediate family environment, it is not uncommon to see addictive and compulsive behaviors manifest in the children of parents who themselves were raised in households where alcoholism or addiction was present. No child truly escapes the psychological impact of growing up in an addiction or abuse laden family system and parents who do not seek help themselves will invariably pass along the burden of their un-lived lives for their children to sort out.
The potential addict, prone to developing alcoholism and substance abuse problems through a combination of genetic predisposition, a dysfunctional family systems structure, or both, is several times more likely to progress into addiction though if they have a parent or immediate family member who also abuses substances. These individuals are at risk to develop substance abuse and dependency issues as a coping strategy resulting from the environment in which they were raised. This is particularly true in homes where there is addiction, alcoholism, abuse, and neglect.
Peers are also another factor in the socialization process of the developing addict. Often it is in peer groups sought out by individuals experiencing difficulties that the formation and ritualization of substance abuse becomes normalized. While peers can give emotional support and assistance, they may also provide the milieu for a form of deviated socialization that integrates substance abuse into daily life. It has been suggested that adolescents with poor parental or familial bonds tend to seek out other perhaps similarly troubled individuals.
Genetic factors withstanding, this is in part why alcoholism, addiction, and other forms of dependency have also been referred to as a family disease. In order to increase the odds of survival and recovery from both potential and active addiction, the entire family system must be addressed. Sober Partners not only takes a holistic approach to treating the individual but also tailors a specific, outcome-driven treatment program designed to address the entire family system as well.