The Impact of Addiction on Families

A Creative Way to Help Friends and Family Understand

Drunk_manMarriages and families are victims of addiction we often overlook. Mom, you got another phone call from the police or an EMT. Dad, the arrests and forced time in mental wards won’t stop. DUIs and car accidents. Binge drinking. The yelling and fighting. The lying and disrespect. You’re sick of it.

Chaos. Trauma. Loss of peace. Loss of finances trying to help. Loss of sleep. Too worried. Too stressed. It’s affecting your health and sanity. Too many unknowns. Too many possible, horrible outcomes. What can parents do? How do you face them together as a couple? And what about the impact on your other children? How can your friends and family understand what you’re going through?

“My husband and I disagree that our child has a drug or alcohol problem, much less on what to do if there really is one. He thinks they’re just being a typical teenager. I think he’s crazy! We fight about it all the time.”

“We can’t bail him out one more time! He calls and we can’t say no.”

“I can’t believe you gave her the money for _____. You know we’ll never get it back. Now we can’t pay for her sister’s ___________.”

“I don’t want to talk about this any more. It makes me so angry I can’t see straight. And his brother can’t stand to be around him anymore. No one can trust him, either. We had to put locks on our bedroom doors, for heaven’s sake!”

“You disagreed with me in front of her again. I can’t believe you did that! If you don’t stop undermining me, I’m leaving!”

Addiction. It has the power to destroy individual lives, marriages and families. And who’s safe for you to talk to? Who can really comprehend? Have you wondered how you could help your friends and loved ones fully grasp what it’s like? Unless they’ve walked in your shoes they can’t begin to relate.

I’d like to suggest a creative idea: ask them to read a suspenseful, well-written novel. 

An Acre of Fools by Aden James is a compelling story – it might resemble yours. It’s interwoven with truths about An Acre of Foolsaddiction and its impact on a family (much like his): enabling, marriage difficulties, sibling strife, raising a grandchild. This dad does an excellent job of pulling the reader into his journey on an emotional level.

“Aden James is one of the very few authors who truly understands and authentically captures the reality of addiction, the mind and motivations of the addict and the splintering effects …on the family”, Nancy Alcorn, Founder of Mercy Multiplied.

Back cover description:

After battling a long illness, Peter Stewart’s daughter, Austin, finds herself in a nightmarish addiction that thrusts her and her family into a world they never imagined.

As she buries herself deeper and deeper into the narcotics culture of shameless selfishness and deeply personal manipulation, Peter’s unwavering hope for her drives a wedge between him and the less forgiving family members.

But when Austin finally chooses to embrace all that the life of addiction offers, Peter is forced to choose between his faith and a family too broken to hope.

He chooses poorly.

To be honest, I found myself feeling depressed and heavyhearted, but I appreciated how Aden didn’t sugar coat things. He didn’t wrap it all up with a nice, neat bow. He hits hard with a huge dose of reality that many addicts (in or out of recovery) and their families face every day. Reading this novel would definitely help anyone enter into your world on a feeling level, not just intellectually.

I don’t recommend this book for a mom or dad who’s in the middle of a deeply painful journey with their addicted child. I think it’s too troubling and depressing, even though the author does offer a message of hope and redemption in the end. He takes you to ‘the darkest night of the soul’ so that ‘God can finally have His way,’ although  it’s not like you might expect. The book could also be helpful if you’re in the beginning of the journey. It can give you a more realistic perspective of what could happen.

However, I wholeheartedly recommend it for those who care about you, who don’t know much about addiction. They’ll empathize much better after reading An Acre of Fools. They’ll feel your pain as their own. They’ll trudge a few miles in your shoes and – who knows – they just might discover a surprise for their own hearts.


God of Compassion, 

Please help our family and friends find a way to better understand what we’re going through. Show them how this can happen to anyone. It’s not our fault. We did nothing wrong. Teach them to not judge or look down on us, rather, to offer kindness and compassion. If it can open their eyes, move on their hearts to be willing to even read a novel. Use it in a powerful way.



About the author, Aden James:

He lives in the Low Country of South Carolina where he enjoys the outdoors with his wife, daughters and grandson. He serves on the Board of three non-profit organizations and supports several charitable organizations dedicated to serving childhood illnesses, addiction and human trafficking.