Families of Substance Abusers
Unfortunately, addiction is not merely an individual disease; it is one that affects the whole family. When a loved one is in trouble with his or her substance use, it can be devastating to everyone around them. For family members, navigating their way through a loved one’s addiction and recovery can be like wandering through a maze, never knowing if the correct turn is being made or the right path is being taken. Treatment is not only for addicts; it is also for their families. A good rehabilitation facility incorporates family work into the treatment plan and offers family substance abuse education and counseling as part of the program.
The benefits of family participation are:
- Validation. Addicts are masters of manipulation; addiction changes the perceptions of the addict in such a way that they may not even know that they are being manipulative, and they are often incapable of recognizing that they need as much help as they do. They can make family members feel like they are the ones with a problem, or that they are crazy for thinking that something is wrong and needs to be dealt with. Participating in the family component of treatment helps family members to see that they are just like the other families in treatment: people who love an addict or alcoholic and who have reacted to the addiction in a similar fashion as others.
- Understanding. It is difficult for a non-addict to comprehend the behaviors and irrational decisions made by addicts. Education and treatment helps families to understand the true motivation behind and addict’s behavior. It also teaches them how to recognize when addictive thinking may be creeping back into their family member’s recovery program.
- Support. Family participation helps bring a cohesiveness to the non-addicted family members, which provides support within the family unit. In addition, it also provides a larger support group of other families and counselors who understand exactly what the families are going through.
- Empowerment. Being part of the treatment process empowers the family to make good decisions regarding their loved one’s recovery. It teaches the family how to communicate, set healthy boundaries, recognize relapse thinking and behavior, and be supportive of the recovery process.
If addiction is like a long, dark maze for the family members, family education and treatment provides a map, lights, and a safe rest area. Contact Sober Houston today to see how we can help you help your family.