Addiction is a Family Disease

Addiction is a destructive disease that can leave many things damaged along its path. Aside from health and behavioral issues, relationships are something that can become negatively affected by a person with substance use disorderion. Understanding that addiction is a family disease is an important first step in repairing the damage addiction has done, whether you are the person suffering from addiction or not.

Understanding the Damage Addiction Has Caused

If you are suffering from a person with substance use disorderion, it takes much more than sobriety on your part to repair relationships with loved ones. When seeking to repair these important relationships, it’s vital that you understand exactly what damages have been caused. This can be worked through during your treatment program, including family therapy and listening intently to what they have to say.


One of the biggest hallmarks of addiction is hiding your use from the important people in your life. You may have isolated yourself from your family, or have lied about where you’re going or who you’re with. You may have also lied about why you are acting a different, or whether or not you were high at a certain time. This constant secrecy can lead to your family suffering from issues with fear, anger and resentment.


When someone is suffering from a person with substance use disorderion, they tend to be dishonest in many ways. People may steal from friends and family in order to pay for their addiction, or borrow money that they do not intend on repaying. They may cheat on their partner, lie about their whereabouts or become extremely unreliable. They may also be high around their children, while driving or while at work. They may also bring dangerous new friends around their home or family members. These irresponsible acts will lead friends and family not to trust you, and in turn, may seek to cut you out of their lives for their own safety.


Unfortunately, when someone is suffering from a person with substance use disorderion, it makes them act out in ways they normally wouldn’t. Many substances can cause aggressive behavior and impaired judgement, which can be the perfect recipe for abuse. Abuse can come in many forms, including emotional abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse and more.

If you are suffering from a person with substance use disorderion, it is very possible that you have been abusive to a loved one during your addiction. Some people may be able to work through this abuse with you and eventually see past it. On the other hand, some people may have decided they do not want you in their lives anymore because the damage was too great. Addicts who face confrontation about their use can often act out violently, and may or many not even remember that the abuse occurred.

Tips for a New Start

When you enter treatment for addiction, you and your family can take advantage of our family program to help repair the damage addiction has caused. If nothing else, it can serve as a forum for you to express an apology for your misgivings and to ask for forgiveness. It can also serve as a forum for your loved ones to express what your addiction has put them through, and whether or not they want to work through it. Either way, it is important for you to at least try to make amends with the people you love.

Reach out

Taking the first step of reaching out is often the hardest. There can be a lot of feelings of shame, embarrassment and guilt on your shoulders. Even if the person you are reaching out to isn’t responsive, leave a message or send a letter to let them know you’d like to talk and mend things.

Be Honest

Once you’ve become sober, the days of being dishonest and secretive with the ones you love are now long gone. Do your best to be honest with them, apologize for what you may have done and humbly ask for forgiveness.

Be Patient

It may take time for your loved ones to forgive you, or to even be open to the idea of speaking with you. Depending on the severity of your addiction and your actions, it may take several years to make amends. It is important to realize that it also may never happen. Either way, you must be patient with your loved ones and allow them to go through their own process of how they want to approach a new relationship with you.

About Cliffside Malibu

Repairing the damage addiction has done to family and friends can be a difficult road. Loved ones have a lot of feelings of anger and resentment, and it is important for you to understand why in order to truly heal. Cliffside Malibu offers the perfect, safe forum for you and your loved ones to work through issues, to be transparent about the past and and to be put on a positive road together moving forward.

Each patient is then matched with one of these five stages of the Transtheoretical Model: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action and Maintenance. An individualized treatment plan is created based on their current stage of change. This process is in place to ensure that all our patients receive the best treatment path possible for their own specific need. Our goal is to move individuals through their treatment by assessing their readiness for change and formulating stage-matched interventions in order to move them through their respective stage.

It is the policy of Cliffside Malibu to ensure that all individuals who present with chemical dependency issues are assessed for the appropriate level of care. We strive to provide continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment and outpatient services. Services are provided to individuals with a primary diagnosis of substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction. Individuals seeking treatment are assessed by qualified staff to ensure program criteria are met and that each individual admitted is placed in the appropriate level of care for treatment. The program is designed and structured for individuals who are in need of a supportive environment in order to maintain Sobriety.

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