As many of us discovered in class today through our genealogy projects, substance abuse is not uncommon to have in your family. It used to be a very taboo subject, but now, with the growing popularity of rehabilitation programs and the subject of alcohol and drug abuse all over the media, it has become a more common thing to talk about. TV shows such as Sober House with Dr. Drew and Intervention are showing the world that substance dependence can be dangerous to your own personal health and wellbeing as well as damaging to your whole family system.
If you think back to the 1920’s when alcohol was illegal, and if you wanted to drink at all you had to hide it, have it smuggled into the country, or make it yourself, you can see how much our culture has changed. Now it is the cool thing to do and a normal part of American culture. Being drunk in public is no longer something that is out of the ordinary. Our whole culture tells us through media and cultural norms that it is normal to want to drink and if you don’t drink you are missing out.
But the issue is that people rely on the fun and good feeling that alcohol, and also drugs, give you. And they self medicate with these lethal substances to get through the problems that life throws at them. Good fun turns into a habit and that turns into a serious substance abuse problem. This problem is affecting not only Americans but the whole world. Popular culture such as advertising, rock bands, and many TV shows, for example, are not doing anything to change that.
Even though addicts and alcoholics are hurting themselves and their lives greatly, they are also affecting their family’s lives. When someone with a substance abuse problem is in a family system, this can change everything
Some questions to think about when thinking about substance abuse and the affect it has on families:
- Does the abuser know that her/she is affecting everyone?
- How does substance abuse affect everyone else around the abuser?
- What are some family systems that could be affected by substance abuse?
- What kind of affect do you think the media has on this issue?
Posted by Casandra Colby