THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY DURING TREATMENT AND RECOVERY
Congratulations! You have just made the decision to begin a life changing journey called recovery. Often, people believe that recovery only involves the individual with the addiction and it is solely their illness and recovery. The responsibility is certainly with the individual who is seeking help for their addiction however, addiction is also known as a “family disease.”
Substance abuse affects every member of the family as dealing with a loved one with an addiction, it creates a potentially unhealthy family dynamic. This dynamic may involve enabling the loved one with the addiction as well as creating a significant amount of stress with in the family.
Once the individual decides to get help for their addiction, they are not the only one who is now entering into recovery. During the time the person was actively using, relationships have been strained, trust has been damaged and anxiety and worry has increased, to name only a few of the wounds that loved ones experience. Each family member or loved one will be on their own road to recovery to begin to heal emotional wounds, rebuild relationships and begin to create a new, healthy family dynamic.
As an individual begins the recovery process, it is likely that their initial and most important goal is to reclaim what they lost to addiction. Very often, this includes the relationships that were significantly damaged as a result of their active substance abuse. Although this is an important goal and it is essential that the person in recovery understand that these relationships won’t be mended overnight, it will take much therapy both individual and family to begin the emotion healing process. Remember, your addiction did not develop overnight and neither will the healing of wounds and rebuilding a healthy relationship with your loved ones.
Too often, families don’t truly understand addiction. If this is the case, the family won’t know how to appropriately support their loved one with the addiction. Equally as important, it is imperative that the individual seeking help with their addiction also understand the impact that the addiction has had on their loved ones.
Individual and family therapy gives the family an opportunity to safely express concerns and frustrations that have resulted from the addiction. Although addiction has likely damaged relationships and the family’s unity, it is not too late to mend these relationships and recreate a healthy family unit. This process may even bring the family closer together than they were prior to the disruption created by the addiction.
Often, there is a “dual diagnosis” component to the addiction. This refers to an individual struggling not only with an addiction but also a mental health issue. This can be anxiety, depression (situational or chronic) or an underlying trauma. These issues often make recovery even more difficult and the family therapy becomes even more vital. It is not unusual for families to struggle with the idea that there is also another issue that needs to be addressed. Families may experience a new and uncomfortable set of emotions when learning that there is a mental health issue that needs to be addressed in addition to the addiction.
At Cape Cod Recovery Center we encourage family involvement with the individual that has come to us seeking help with their addiction. Everyone at Cape Cod Recovery Center understands the importance of rebuilding the family unit in a safe environment where the family is able to express their fears, frustrations and the damage that has been left in the wake of the substance abuse. While the individual seeking help will be actively involved in family therapy, he will also be working not only on his recovery from addiction but the rebuilding of a healthy self.