Schäfer, Gabriele
June 2011
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand;Jun2011, Issue 37, p135
Academic Journal
Alcohol and other drug addiction, a societal problem that is steadily growing, contributes to the destruction of families and communities. Research has identified a strong connection between disrupted family relationships and alcohol and other drug addiction. Individual in-depth interviews were undertaken with 12 participants who were residents and ex-residents in the Higher Ground Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Trust, Auckland, New Zealand. These interviews were analysed using a qualitative framework. The findings are discussed in the context of a broad range of academic research on addiction and its effects on families. The results show that the majority of participants had experienced painful and traumatic childhoods in their families of origin, which contributed to their subsequent addictive behaviour and which they felt had affected their current familial relationships. All participants and their families had suffered from various forms of family disruption, such as loss of custody of their children, loss of employment, marital breakdown, physical and psychological abuse, depression and ill health. Some participants had also committed drug-related crimes and experienced accidents as a result of their addictions, which also affected their relationships with their families.


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