6 Family Roles in Addiction: What Part Do You Play?


One in seven people in America faces a substance addiction. And of those, only 10% will seek treatment.

Addiction is something that affects the entire family. Check out the six most common family roles in addiction.

1. The Enabler

When you’re looking at the roles of families coping with addiction, a common role is that of the enabler. The enabler is the person who steps in and protects the addict. An enabler doesn’t let the addict deal with the consequences of their behavior.

Whether it’s to protect the individual, avoid the embarrassment or both, this enabler will typically clean up the addict’s messes. They want to “protect” the family by making excuses for why the addict does what they do. They’ll often say “that’s just how they are”.

2. The Hero

Another role in families coping with addiction is the hero. The hero usually wants to do everything right. They tend to overcompensate for the behavior of the addict.

The hero will take it upon themselves to make sure that everything in the family looks good. They use optimism and perfectionism to cover up the isolation they feel.

3. The Lost One

The lost one is typically a child. Whether that be a child of the addict or a younger sibling, the lost one will tend to disappear to avoid the chaos. They want to avoid conflict at all costs.

The lost one typically isolates themselves, has trouble developing relationships, and often engages in fantasy play to distract themselves from the drama at home.

4. The Scapegoat

The scapegoat is rebellious. The scapegoat covers their shame and guilt by getting into trouble. The trouble that they get into, however, has easier solutions than the trouble caused by their addict family member.

They may skip school or be disrespectful. This behavior is easily addressed, unlike the behavior caused by their family member who is addicted to something like oxycodone. For family members who are addicted to oxycodone, treatment centers like Inspire Malibu oxycodone addiction treatment center can help your loved ones get healthy.

5. The Jokester

The jokester may sound like a fun role, but they still suffer like other members. This person will use comedy to cover up their real pain. They choose to protect themselves and their loved ones from feeling the real pain associated with having an addict in the family.

6. The Addict

And finally, the person at the center of them all: the addict. Everything revolves around this individual. They are at the center of the family and pulls everyone into their pain and chaos.

They become so enthralled in their addiction that they tend to ignore their loved ones.

Family Roles in Addiction

Do you recognize any of these family roles in addiction?

This disease affects the whole family—plain and simple. However, help is available to everyone, not just the addict. Everyone deserves to heal from the wounds that substance abuse causes.

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