Individual struggles with addiction are not solitary fights. Addiction impacts the whole family and can distort the family dynamic, creating long-standing dysfunction. It truly is a family disease. For this reason, the process of recovery requires more than just the commitment of the addicted, but the support and dedication of parents and siblings. Family members need to know the dos and don’ts to make recovery successful.
Ending Enabling Behavior
Behaviors within the family may be contributing to and perpetuating an addiction. Enabling usually comes from those who support an addicted family member. They may not openly express concern about drug or alcohol use for fear of upsetting or angering the addict and may come to accept the substance abuse as a norm within the family. They may minimize the situation, telling others that the addict is just “experimenting” or “going through a stage.” Such avoidance only allows the addiction to worsen and increases the risk of overdose. Most commonly enabling occurs because of family pride. The shame of addiction becomes an issue that family members work to conceal, which only allows the addiction to escalate. The true path to recovery demands that family members overcome their feelings of shame and confront their own denial.
Whether it is a parent, child or sibling who is suffering from addiction, family members must embrace the hope of the recovery process. They must challenge the addict with the promise of sobriety and a better life.
Staging an Intervention
An intervention creates a dramatic turning point in the addict’s life. With the help of an intervention specialist, family members face the addict with the truth about their substance abuse. Expressing their emotions openly, family members seek to convince the addict to get help. Before the intervention date, an intervention specialist will help prepare a family for what to expect, what to say, what not to say, and how to move forward. An available recovery facility must be designated to ensure the addict can begin treatment immediately. Depending on the severity of the addiction, an intensive outpatient program may also be selected. A family physician and an interventionist can both be helpful in recommending Orange County IOP programs.
Working Through Recovery
As the addict receives treatment, the work is not over for the family. Though the hope of recovery is on the horizon, the consequence of addiction may have already caused damage to the family. Unresolved anger, resentment, and grief may still exist among family members. The trauma of managing an addict in the home may have turned some family members to their own self-medication. For this reason, Orange County IOP programs will also offer family therapy services. While helping the addict, they can also help the family that supports them.
The Value of Family Therapy
Understanding and compassion are the goals of family therapy sessions. Every meeting serves both to help a family who are themselves recovering from the experience of an addicted person in their lives and cultivates a positive home life for the addict to prevent relapse. Family therapists may use several methods to help reach these goals successfully.
Finding Forgiveness Through Therapy
Family therapy creates a secure environment where family members can work through their issues to help restore health and happiness to the household. During these sessions, family members can openly express their emotions, which may include anger towards the addicted family member’s behavior and personal guilt for allowing the addiction to occur. Finding forgiveness for the addict and themselves allows family members to move forward in their own lives and accept their recovering loved one.
An Education in Addiction
Family members have only experienced the drama and pain of addiction, which means they may not truly understand it. Family therapy becomes an opportunity to learn more about the causes of addiction. Discussions may focus on existing drug and alcohol use by other family members or explore the past history of substance abuse in the family. The family will also learn about triggers and how they can illicitly relapse for a recovering individual. Gaining insight into what can tip a recovering addict back into substance abuse allows family members to take better care of their loved one in sobriety.
Family Therapy and 12 Step Recovery in Newport Beach
The cornerstone of addiction treatment has always been the twelve-step program. Yet, this ground-breaking approach can also be successfully applied to family members of the addict. Just as the twelve steps assert that an individual cannot stop substance abuse by will-power alone, it also affirms for family members that the addict’s substance abuse is beyond their control and not their fault. Using 12 Step Recovery in Newport Beach, both family and the recovering family member can walk away from the throes of addiction and find peace in sobriety.
If you or a loved one needs help, call us at 949-625-4019.