Addiction is a Family Disease

Addiction is a family disease. Addiction is a family disease. It’s invisible. Invisible, it makes its way into the deepest recesses of human consciousness, invisible, its black shadow taking up more and more space until the balance tips and human consciousness equates substance with survival. It’s a family disease, its invisible, it is deeply embedded in your consciousness, and the balance has tipped. Once Addiction has grown beyond the tipping point- invisibly, deeply, diseased- it is more in charge than you are.

The family points to the loved one with Addiction inside their body—you must change! And its undeniable, they must change. With enough love and patience, honorable mentorship, allies, and the courage it takes to embark on a journey toward a new way of being, a person can look inside themselves and see that Addiction was always just a shadow, susceptible and afraid. Through addiction they can discover the beautiful purity of living an authentic life following their bliss. Through this forced journey an Addict can become far more than they would have been otherwise. In the end, through the eyes of those who have recovered, Addiction is also a gift.

But Addiction isn’t just alive in the Addict. Addiction is a family disease. Invisible, it lives between the words we say to each other, the looks we give each other, and the meaning we give to the events in the world around us. Long before the deep shadow arrived Addiction lived and grew through unmet obligations, deceit, families living in fear of each other’s words and actions, futile attempts to control the uncontrollable, and the inescapable human Truth that, without intervention, we are bound to interpret the present moment through the eyes of our past experience. Through our consciousness. Where Addiction lives, invisibly, growing.

Recovery is as vital for the family of the addict as it is for the addict themselves. Without adjusting family systems to the reality of the space Addiction takes up in the consciousness of everyone who loves the Addicted, to the degree they love the Addicted, the past is unlikely to stop repeating itself and Addiction will continue to grow in power, taking up more and more space—it’s a family disease.

Together We Can views addiction as a disease that negatively impacts not only individuals, but their families and loved ones too. Many people who are impacted by a loved one’s addiction feel utterly confused and helpless. They wonder where they went wrong or what they could have done differently. The TWC Family Education Group offers answers to these questions and more. Having the support of family is critical for recovery. When a family is properly educated about the illness of addiction, they are better able to set clear and firm boundaries. If you are interested in learning more about our free group, please visit us at or call us at 604.451.9854.

Caleb Shearer

Caleb has been successfully working with trauma and addiction for two decades. Caleb has a masters degree in social work and specializes in providing trauma informed non-12 step solutions to individuals and groups experiencing ptsd/c-ptsd and substance use disorders.

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