Here at KAYA, we frequently receive calls and e-mails from concerned family members saying, “my son has addiction”, “my daughter has been using…”, “my father seems to be addicted to…”, and so on. And through our phone or e-mail diagnoses, it appears that in most cases, there is a dysfunctional relationship within the family. Even before the addiction, there has already instances, like negative experiences, that triggered the substance use.

As we go along the way, it becomes clearer the different family roles they usually play. These roles a family member assume always lead to co-dependency.

The Usual Roles Family Members Play that Leads to Co-dependency

  • The Addict – The person at the center of attention. This is the person who sees that getting into recovery is not necessary as they believe they can get out of the dangerous habit by themselves.
  • The Hero – The hero is the provider and the one who usually makes the family look good. They pretend that there is no problem within the family and avoids the family members from talking about their problem with others.
  • The Caretaker – Also called as the Enabler, by the name itself, this person allows or enables all other roles to take place. Similar to being people-pleaser, they try to keep the family happy and in balance but ignoring the real situation taking place. They also avoid mentioning getting treatment or asking help.
  • The Mascot – This is the person who observes but makes humorous comments to the involved family member. The act of making fun with family members may hinder the addict getting into treatment or seeking help.
  • The Scapegoat – This is the person who acts out in front of others in an effort to divert attention to themselves to cover up the real problem.
  • The Lost Child – They are the family members who avoid conflicts, arguments or problems. They simply prefer to be away from anyone or anything. Although sometimes they manifest the “I don’t want to have anything to do with it” attitude, they actually ignore their self needs.

KAYA’s Solutions to Addiction and Co-dependency

At KAYA, we don’t only include the person suffering from substance use but we also include the family members in treatment. We conduct family sessions, which basically provides a channel for everyone involved to voice out their needs, feelings, concerns, and proposed solutions without the feeling of prejudice, shame, or guilt.

We always encourage and lead the family members to the improvement of their self worth, honest and clear family communication, formulate their collective and individual plans, as well as preparing them to become open to the society.

While it’s not bad to aim for perfection, let it only be a guide. Remember that everyone has weaknesses and we can only achieve self-improvement.