Having a strong support system is crucial in addiction treatment, and family involvement is one of this. In fact, the family provides the most meaningful and impactful source of support for individuals recovering from addiction.
Addiction is a Family Disease
Addiction is a family disease. Even if it’s just one member of the family that has addiction, the whole family suffers. A person who has a substance use disorder, or is a gambling addict, may make decisions that causes turmoil within the family.
Furthermore, when there’s addiction in the family, the dynamic becomes dysfunctional. The whole family will find themselves under unusual or tremendous amount of stress. Normalcy goes out the window. For children, especially, this can be a frightening and even traumatizing experience.
Families then may find themselves trying to control the situation, and therefore their addicted family member. This will then cause unhealthy coping mechanisms and soon, co-dependency develops. Co-dependency is an emotional and behavioral condition. It is sometimes described as an addiction to another person or a relationship addiction. This causes a codependent to try to rescue, change, or enable the addict as a way to validate one’s self or the relationship.
On top of these, there’s also the issue of genetics. A family member who struggles with one form of addiction is a risk factor to other family members, as they also are at risk for developing addictions. This is especially true for children of addicts.
How Family Involvement Supports Recovery
Having family involvement is crucial in a robust recovery, if not a life-long recovery. The family’s active involvement in the treatment process, makes them educated about the disease, the treatment, recovery, and the expectations that go with these.
Family members may have mixed feelings about their addicted loved ones in recovery. There may also be healing in their own ways. However, having their involvement every step of the way may also be considered as a healing process not just for the addict but for the family, too.
Here’s how family involvement can help recovery:
- Fosters a space of honesty and openness. As families become involved in the recovery process, they also learn better ways of communicating. This makes them more open, expressive, and honest. This opens lines of communications, and the addict gets enough support and transparency in terms of any challenges that may occur.
- Roots for their recovering loved one. Family members are the primary source of encouragement for a loved one in recovery. They support, care for, and love the recovering addict. They allow them to maintain a positive attitude even in the face of problems or setbacks.
- Source of accountability. Ffamily members are around the recovering addict and have been with them over the years. They have a good idea of the recovering addict’s personality and behavior. It’s a given that recovery is volatile, so family members are there to hold their loved ones accountable. They’re there to gently nudge the recovering addict in the right direction when they spot signs of losing the way. This keeps the person in check to stay true to their commitment.
Family Members Should Take Care of Themselves Too
Through the times of active addiction and then treatment, things can be really stressful for the family. And even after the person comes out of rehab treatment, experiencing ongoing stress and anxiety is still common. Therefore, families should seek their own sources of strength and support.
Rehab facilities such as Bridges of Hope, for example, involve the family throughout the treatment process from Day One. They offer families support even after the resident completes the treatment.
Taking care of themselves doesn’t just stop there. They should also remain engaged socially, continue meeting and talking with their friends. They should also maintain good habits for themselves, eating right and sleeping adequately.
Family involvement is an important source of support for someone who is recovering from addiction. They can only provide this is they themselves are well, healthy, and in the right headspace to offer positive reinforcement and support.