Do you cover up?

Almost instinctually, people have a tendency to cover up for their friends and relatives with substance abuse problems because of the heavy stigma associated with addiction. However, covering up can be really harmful for everyone involved. Here is a scenario:

Mary and Rob have been married for several years. Both are professionals with great careers and their kids are on the school’s honor roll. Rob was always a heavy drinker – he drank with his college buddies, he drinks with the guys after work, at sporting events and any occasion he can find. Mary has noticed changes in Rob’s behavior – he’s more sluggish in the morning, his temper is shorter when he’s drinking. Rather than discuss the issue with Rob, she covers up for him in front of friends and relatives – “oh, he’s had a rough week at work, he’s not been sleeping well,” and so on.

The longer Rob’s drinking and Mary’s cover ups continue, the risk increases that Rob will develop long-term health issues associated with alcohol, his career will suffer, or if he is one to drink and drive, he’ll be involved in an accident.

While Mary is busy covering up for Rob, their kids are now old enough to see what is happening. Is this normal? “Will mom cover up for me as she does for dad if I use drugs or alcohol.” They see this behavior as acceptable.

If you find you cover up for a loved one, you may be doing more harm than good. Read our related blogs, “Getting past the stigma of addiction” and “How to get help for someone with an addiction.”

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.