Sound Stories. Sound Voices.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
You are on the KUOW archive site. Click here to go to our current site.

Help For Families Who Struggle With Addicts

The defendant charged in the recent  death of two pedestrians in Seattle’s Wedgewood neighborhood has faced DUIs in the past. Like thousands of other families, Mark Mullan's family has struggle with his addiction.

Kari Merk works with families at Residence XII, an addiction treatment facility for women in Kirkland. She says family members are often at a loss about how to deal with a loved one's substance abuse.

Merk says concerned family may find themselves enabling their family member to drink or use drugs. Or perhaps, keeping the addiction secret. “What everybody does in a chemically addicted family is we try to fix the problem and we try to rescue the person and it doesn’t work," she says.

If you find yourself in this situation with a loved one here are some things families can do.

  • Get educated.  JoinAl-Anon to connect with others who can support your efforts or empathize with your struggle. 
  • Don't blame yourself. You didn't cause the problem and you can't cure it. 
  • Make a plan. Decide as a family to only support healthy life choices. 
  • Be steadfast in your decision. Waffling only shows the addict that you're not serious.