Benefits of Family in Recovery
Families are often the hardest hit individuals in an addict’s throws of addiction. According to the Institute of Medicine (US),”Drug abuse leads to reallocation of economic support away from the family; lack of participation in family activities, including care-giving; lack of emotional commitment and support for parents and children; and the inability to provide a reliable and adequate role model for other family members, especially children.”
As a closely bonded group, families tend to go through needless suffering for years in a co-dependent or isolated status that takes on a life of its own depending on the actions of the addict. The benefits of family in recovery far exceed the benefits to the addict or any one individual and adjustments in family dynamics can heal just the same as the addiction can hurt. It may take a while, but, when one member is addicted, involving the family in recovery is important if any family member expects to be whole.
According to the NIDA, addiction “is a complex brain disease characterized by compulsive, at times uncontrollable drug craving, seeking, and use despite devastating consequences.” Relying on an addict to do the right thing at the right time tends to lead to more disappointments than encouragements and not knowing how to handle these situations when they occur can be devastating to the family dynamics, especially with minor children in the home.
Educating families about addiction in recovery provides the grounding they need to be able to survive the multitude of ups and downs of their loved one’s addiction before, during, and after treatment. Families can play a major role in treatment motivations when they learn how addiction has affected both the family as a whole and the individual members of the family.
Support and Open Communications
Addiction in a family member is one of the primary causes for broken relationships where confusion, broken communications, and too often, misplaced shame and guilt results in divorce, separations, domestic violence, and unfortunately, a lack of self esteem and substance abuse in children. Family in recovery can open the channels of communication that have been lost in the midst of deceit, neglect, confusion, or abuse.
Most addiction treatment centers will include family counseling as an integral part of treatment because reconnecting families fosters sobriety and long term abstinence. Families that are able to support each other in the long run gain the most benefits of family in recovery.
Identifying Problematic Behaviors
Addiction is known as a “family disease”, but, for some families, this may still be hard to swallow. All they can bring to mind is that their loved one’s behaviors have become volatile, manipulative, or deceitful in ways that makes their own lives stressful, depressing, or anxious.
Some of the most harmful characteristic patterns of interaction are the:
- Negativity that brings down the morals of family members and others where positive behaviors are ignored
- Creating a crisis to get attention that reinforces the substance abuse
- Parental inconsistencies that result in confusion and behavioral disruptions in the children
- Misplaced anger, guilt, or shame
- Family members who might become distant or resentful
Many family members think that if the family could just be or do what the addict desires, all will be ok, but, this isn’t how it works. The more you give, the more the addict will take. Being able to identify problematic behaviors to deal with them appropriately is one of the greatest benefits of family in recovery.
The longer an addict remains engaged in treatment, the greater their chances to improve their overall quality of life and consequentially, the more successful the treatment outcomes can be for the family. Most addicts remain vulnerable to relapse for months after they detox from substances and little can be done in 30 – 90 days to heal the effects and consequences of addiction. It can take multiple sessions with a counselor individually or in a family group to get to the bottom of underlying issues and devise a plan that works to enhance the recovery of all family members, but, active participations are highly beneficial to recovery motivations and goal determinations.
Addressing Other Issues
Substance addiction plays a prominent role in violent deaths from suicides, homicides, injuries, and traffic accidents while slowly destroying addicts and their families with physical impairments and psychological disorders. Substance abuse and mental health go hand in hand. Children and spouses who are exposed to addiction in the home are more likely to develop a substance abuse or mental illness as a result and the stakes remain high unless the issues connected to the substance abuse are addressed.
A major benefit of family in recovery is the ability to take advantage of the assistance from knowledgeable and caring professionals with links to critical psychosocial support services. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment,” In any form of family therapy for substance abuse treatment, consideration should be given to the range of social problems connected to substance abuse. Problems such as criminal activity, joblessness, domestic violence, and child abuse or neglect may also be present in families experiencing substance abuse.”