We at Karma Welfare Society with our extensive research have come to a conclusion of how addiction affects families. When you find out that someone you love is addicted to prescription pills, heroin, alcohol, or any other drug, it can be absolutely overwhelming. In some ways, it can feel like the person you know has died, and the person who replaces him or her is a stranger.

Most people never think that they will one-day witness addiction firsthand. Many people dealing with addiction in their family don’t fully understand the disease of addiction and how it not only impacts the person suffering from substance abuse but everyone else in their life.

Karma Welfare Society shares with you the five stages of grief in addiction:

1. Denial and Isolation

Just like in grieving an actual death, we feel a similar loss when a loved one becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol. Often, the first reaction in either scenario is a natural defense mechanism: denial.  This reaction buffers out the facts and allows us to overlook and make excuses for behavior, actions, and words.

You’ve probably heard the expression, “Ignorance is bliss.” Sometimes living in denial can be the most comfortable stage for the family members because it’s easier than facing the problem of addiction head-on. For many families, denial means:

    • Rationalizing the behavior of a loved one (ie. “He has a stressful job”)
    • Making excuses (ie. “It isn’t that bad”)
    • Accepting excuses (ie. “Her phone was dead”)
    • Never allowing themselves to believe he or she has a serious problem


2. Anger and Guilt.

Why my son?
“Or my wife?”
“Why us?”
“Or me?

When family awaken to the reality of a loved one’s addiction and move past denial, the anger and feelings of guilt can become unmanageable. The intense emotions that family members face at this point are redirected from vulnerability – to anger.

Your anger may be aimed at other family members or even strangers (think the waiter, another driver on the road, or the person ringing up your groceries.) For many, anger may be directed at our drug-addicted loved ones.

In this stage, angry outbursts can often leave us feeling guilty – which, in turn, can make us angry all over again. Anger and guilt become a cycle.

3. Bargaining.

One of the most prominent reactions we see from family members of those addicted to drugs or alcohol is a need to regain control. Addiction causes absolute chaos  So, they resort to desperate attempts to maintain control and continue to live without any real changes taking place.

When it comes to loving someone in active addiction, instead of cooperating with the inevitable and admit that a loved one needs true, professional help – we bargain by looking for ways to avoid the problem:

“If only I had been a better husband.”
“If only I had given him a better childhood.”

Some people in the bargaining stage may try to make a “deal” with God to attempt to postpone the inevitable.

4. Depression.

Sadness and hopelessness are two prominent emotions of the family and close friends of a person addicted to drugs or alcohol. In sadness, we have neglected to care for our loved ones in the way that they need us – and we also worry that we may have spent less time with others who depend on us.

In hopelessness, we feel just that: That hope has expired for our loved one and that we need to prepare to bid him or her farewell.

While the stage of depression can be the most emotionally painful. No longer blaming ourselves, others, or even our addicted loved ones – we come to grips with the disease of addiction and what it means.



Acceptance is the ultimate, the desired stage when it comes to grief. Drug and alcohol addiction can be so blinding to a family impacted by it, that they may never be able to see beyond their anger or their denial.

Acceptance doesn’t mean that everything is okay and we feel happy. Rather, it means that we have the opportunity to make our peace and find our own personal calm. When it comes to loving a person in active addiction, for some family members, acceptance may even mean withdrawing from the relationship.

We at Karma welfare Society are available 24X7 to help people overcome this disease called Addiction.


Contact Us for a consultation session!!