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Are There Different Roles You Play in Addiction?

Addiction is a family disease that not only involves the addict, but also alters the family as well as with each member individually. Disruptions and divisions are constructed during addiction forming high tensions and unhealthy relationships.

The family gravitates toward specific roles, that have been identified by professionals in the addiction field, to cope with an addiction that may have devastated the household.

Roles You Play in Addiction


Parent Roles

The Addict


Struggling with an overindulgence of behaviors or substances makes it easier to cope with the issues that may have developed within the family, the job, or anything else that brings immense stress to the addict. They will rip through the household burning bridges and acting on selfish and self-centered behaviors to keep the addiction in existence.


The Enabler


The main goal of an enabler is to protect the family and keep the public at bay to masquerade the real problems that the addiction emanates. The addict’s behavior is excused and justified by the enabler since they are more than likely to be very close.

Children’s Roles

The Hero


A family can take on the image of having it all together with the accomplishments of this over-achieving perfectionist. The oldest child generally takes on this role to become the family member that can proudly be pointed out as being successful.


The Scapegoat


The second oldest kid usually takes on the role of the scapegoat by providing means of deflection. Instead of focusing on the addict’s bad behavior, the scapegoat is often blamed for all the misgivings that the family endures because of the addiction.


The Lost Child


Being silent and reserved, the middle child will take on the role to do whatever they can to dodge the fact that there is addiction in the household. They try to remain invisible so that they can avoid confrontation that deals with the issues that surround the family’s problems.


The Mascot


The best description of this role is that of a class clown using laughter to mask the likes of bigger emotional problems. Although this family member, who is typically the youngest, can bring immense joy, they also need approval of others to function.


You can change the role that you played during the addiction any time you are ready. Whether you were the addict or the other people that tiptoed around the addict, you should get help. If the addict gets help and no one else does then the same vicious cycle of addiction will continue to transpire. There will be cracks in the foundation of the addiction because everything may not have been repaired and most likely, the addiction will remain the same in some ways.

The addict is typically to be blamed for everything and while they probably had the biggest part of all, the other roles of an addicted family play their parts to enable the addiction to keep it going. Getting enmeshed in atypical behavior is common because of the semblance of addiction.


You deserve to be ADORNED in your recovery. Life skills, coping tools, education, holistic healing, and a sober support system will help you gain long term sobriety. Serenity Oaks Wellness Center offers a comprehensive treatment program for recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Call us today for information: 844-720-6847

Get Started at Serenity Oaks

At Serenity Oaks Wellness Center, we offer residential detox and addiction treatment with a wide range of modalities to address the needs of all our clients. Our high staff-to-client ratio ensures everyone that enters our facility gets the personal attention they need and deserve for a safe and successful detox process. To learn more about our program, contact Serenity Oaks Wellness Center today at 844-720-6847.
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