Drug and alcohol addiction can wreak havoc upon multiple different dynamics within a person’s realm of livingness. One of the aspects of a person’s life that it can do great harm upon is the relationships they have with loved ones, primarily the family dynamic. Families of addicts suffer greatly along with the individual who is struggling with an addiction. Addiction has, and can produce hellacious consequences within a family, and has even torn them apart. Whether it be a child, a parent, a sibling, or otherwise that is struggling with addiction, it can truly test the patience and bonds between family members. Although, in the same breath, family can be one of the most supportive, formidable, and strong bonds that a person can have within their life and recovery.
The benefits of the family dynamic are innumerable. Since generally, family is there to help support and guide their loved one through life and livingness, they can also be one of the most helpful and contributive factors of an individual becoming sober and continuing their recovery. Family can be the glue that keeps one upon a path that is conducive to long term sobriety.
Sometimes one only seeks help or realizes they need it after family bonds and ties have been damaged or broken quite severely. This can be due to a multitude of things, such as the addict stealing from the family, or the addict breaking ties due to the family attempting to force them into treatment. While these situations can cause rough damage to family relationships, treatment can actually help work with and repair both sides of the relationship.
Centers that realize the importance of the family dynamic and its involvement in recovery, often encourage family involvement in the individual’s treatment. Family involvement can be an extremely conducive factor to a person’s overall treatment and recovery. Depending upon the type of facility, this can be done in a few different ways. While family involvement can be used in outpatient treatment centers, the best chance at an individual's recovery tends to be for them to attend an inpatient treatment center. Inpatient treatment centers can involve family in a couple different ways, whether it be scheduled visits, or scheduled phone calls.
One large thing that some centers use that has been shown to have great success is family therapy, which is a group session done with a counselor or therapist as a mediator to help guide the therapy. In fact, according to a brochure put out by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), titled “Family Therapy Can Help: For People in Recovery From Mental Illness and Addiction,” “For people with addiction, family therapy can help them decide to enter or stay in treatment. It can reduce their risk of dropping out of treatment. It also can reduce their continued use of alcohol or drugs, discourage relapse, and promote long-term recovery.” It even mentions that treatment that includes family therapy has been shown by research to work better than treatment that does not. Family therapy can help to repair the bonds that have been broken, eliminate negative emotions, help both sides understand each other, and to overall begin to restore the harmony of the family unit.
A large factor that can be addressed with family involvement in treatment that may not get handled otherwise, is the family’s inadvertent contribution to their loved one’s addiction. This unintentional contribution to the addiction can come about in a couple different ways. One such way is when the family is too enabling or codependent. The reluctance to step in or intervene with the addict’s lifestyle can allow them to continue their aberrant behavior without consequence. This reticence on the part of the family, even though it may come from not wanting to push the addict away, is actually quite damaging to the addict, since they are only facilitating the addictive behavior.
Another such way that families can actually exacerbate their family member’s addiction is with “tough love.” Giving ultimatums, criticisms or punishment to the addict for their use can push the addict away, or cause them to rebel and use even more, or to cut ties with the family. While these methods may come from nothing but love and wanting to help, and the want for the addict to stop, the fact is that they can be damaging as well.
Family involvement and family therapy can both be extremely beneficial in addressing the tough love attitude, as well as the codependent lighthearted approach, so that these do not get in the way of the person’s long term recovery. There are more proper and better ways to approach a loved one who is struggling with addiction and getting them to seek help. While it does require sternness; carping criticism, insults, and condemnation realistically play no role in helping them, and can have an adverse effect. When approaching a loved one about an addiction, be sure to approach them with affinity, but do not be lackadaisical about their addiction. Be stern about them receiving the treatment necessary, but make it known that you are there to support and encourage their treatment and recovery the entire time, and are not condemning them for their addiction. For the purpose of having an ideal conversation that the struggling individual will understand and remember, ensure they are not under the influence when the conversation takes place.
Addiction is a progressive disease that tends to continue to get worse, and not better. This is why it is critical for an individual struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol to seek treatment right away, so that they do not pass the point of no return. Admitting you need help for yourself or a loved one is not a shameful situation. While society has turned admitting addiction into a bit of a stigma, the reality is that seeking treatment for yourself or a loved one is one of the most beneficial and courageous things you can do. Recovering from an addiction can sometimes seem insurmountable but the right treatment center can help. Give us a call today and we can help to find you or your loved one the right fit in an inpatient private treatment center.