The Relationship Between Family and Addiction
Families form organizations that are more than the individuals that form them. Each one is organized, and members develop ways of acting and reacting within the organization and with others outside. Family dynamics can play an integral role in causing and preventing addiction. Parents or siblings can often inadvertently cause emotional or physical distress that can lead to addiction if ignored.
Some common family issues that can lead to addiction include:
- Physical and emotional abuse
- Family history of substance abuse
- Interpersonal family relationships
- Sexual assault
- How feelings are, or aren”t, expressed
- How family issues are communicated to the world outside the organization
These factors help form the personality and behaviors of each family member. Opening up about being responsible for a family member’s addiction is difficult at best. Often conversations about past trauma will result in angry outbursts and worsening family relationships.
What is Family Therapy?
Family counseling for addiction is a type of psychological counseling that helps family members develop their communication skills and resolve conflicts. Family therapists have the belief that problems exist between people, not within them. A family therapy program that is a part of addiction treatment can help open up communication between family members about complex subjects in a safe and non-confrontational place.
Family therapy for addiction looks at the relationships in the family and concentrates on understanding the experiences of all the members. Everyone will talk and listen to each other’s needs and begin to rebuild any fractured relationships. The goal is to bring clarity to all the relationships in the family and encourage closeness if the members choose.
What Can You Learn in a Family Therapy Program?
Your home life is important in maintaining your sobriety. By including your family in your addiction treatment, you and your family will quickly see all of the benefits that a family therapy program in New England provides, such as:
- Better communication skills
- How to create a safe and sober home environment
- Role-playing scenarios
- Create a stronger family bond
- Discuss interpersonal relationships and how they help or hinder addiction recovery
Benefits of Family Therapy for Addiction
After an individual leaves treatment, their loved ones may be all that they have to keep them accountable. They will also help the entire family resolve past issues related to the addiction and help form a strong support system that the patient can use outside of treatment. Without this support system, an individual is more likely to relapse.
Family therapy for addiction also opens the lines of communication among members that may have been closed due to addiction. The family therapist ensures that conversations among members stay productive and objective without stirring up fiery emotions. This ensures that everyone feels safe as they share their thoughts and feelings.
In addition, a therapist can identify unhealthy relationships in the family. This includes codependent relationships. Family therapy for addiction gives participants the opportunity to recognize unhealthy behaviors and work out methods to combat them.
Family therapy doesn’t neatly solve conflicts and make a difficult situation go away, but it can help improve the understanding between family members. It provides skills to help deal with demanding situations more effectively. And it also may help the family feel a closeness that had been missing.
7 Strategies for Supporting a Family Member in Recovery
When a loved one enters into addiction treatment, support and encouragement from family and friends will become the foundation of their recovery platform. It will strengthen their determination to continue their sober journey. Many times, the strongest forms of support come from the people who are the closest to the person in recovery. Here are some strategies to support a loved one’s recovery:
- Show non-judgmental support and love. People in recovery often feel like family and friends are judging them which can interfere with their recovery. Start by letting them know that you respect their efforts to stay abstinent. Even if they slip up, it’s important to show support and help them get back on track.
- Encourage them to maintain healthy habits. Mental, physical, and emotional health is important for a person in recovery. So, encourage your loved one to exercise regularly or practice active self-care routines. Become their workout partner or help them learn to cook healthy food.
- Encourage them by doing so yourself. Your loved one may need treatment for a long period of time. Get involved by holding them accountable in the goals they’ve set, as well as providing day-to-day support. However, remember that addiction is a family disease and there are things you can do individually to help your loved one such as:
- Visit them at the treatment facility
- Go to family counseling when they’re in treatment and when they come home
- Attend family support groups
- Attend your own individual therapy
- Promote recovery at home. The home environment should encourage sobriety. Learn to engage in fun activities sober so that they can take part without feeling the temptation to judge.
- Take care of yourselves as a family. When your loved one reenters the home situation it’s bound to be full of frustrations. Therefore, self-care is very important. It’s helpful to go to your own counseling and join support groups like Al-anon or Alateen and create your own self-care patterns.
- Educate yourself about addiction. It’s important to educate yourself about the illness of addiction. This helps you be able to spot signs and symptoms of relapse before it happens.
- Setting boundaries. Learning to set boundaries is a hard thing to do with loved ones but is always necessary. This is important for two reasons:
- Boundaries protect your well-being and the health of other family members
- They protect against enabling your loved one to death.
What Other Treatments Can You Access at Chapters?
After enrolling in an addiction treatment program, you will have access to a variety of therapy options, such as:
- Individual therapy
- Family addiction counseling
These programs will help you gain a better understanding of the underlying issue of your addiction. Once you understand what is fueling it, you can begin forming healthy coping skills and habits that prevent your triggers from causing a relapse.
Start Treatment at Chapters Recovery Center
Your family can be a part of your addiction recovery despite any past trauma or abuse. At Chapters Recovery, we can help you and your family become a strong support system for your addiction recovery and improve the lives of everyone in your family. We offer various addiction treatment programs that include family therapy programs such as:
Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
A partial hospitalization program is an outpatient program that is almost like a residential program. The individual goes to counseling, classes, and therapy sessions during the days, from 5 to 7 full days per week. But they go home in the evening and sometimes on weekends.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
In an intensive outpatient program, sessions at the treatment center are as intense as a PHP but with less commitment of time.
Outpatient Program (OP)
Outpatient programs are a step down in intensity and treatment hours at the facility. The lower levels of outpatient programs are most often used as step-downs, a way of continuing care, after completing a more intensive level.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
In some instances, medication-assisted treatment is needed to address the continuing problems of cravings and withdrawal symptoms. This helps the person focus on their recovery without the distractions.
For personal reasons, many people have a hard time being forthcoming in the presence of the opposite gender. To address this issue, Chapters Recovery Center has separate programs for men and women.
Creating a Lifelong Recovery
Addiction recovery is a complex process when dealing with it alone. Your family can be a big part of your long-lasting recovery by being a part of your addiction recovery. Together, you will work on your communication skills and build a safe and sober home life. Chapters Recovery Center, near North Shore, Mass, can help you and your entire family begin to rebuild their lives while working on your addiction recovery.
Our goal is to help everyone open up about how addiction has affected them and begin to forgive and move forward. If you or a family member needs help with their addiction recovery, give us a call today. We’ll discuss how family therapy for addiction can help break your addiction and maintain your sobriety.