Addiction is a family disease that impacts more than just the addicted person. The close friends and family of an addict are affected emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially from the ravages of addiction. Since addiction can cause damage to family systems treatment and recovery should include some form of family therapy. In family programs, the loved ones of the addict can find their own healing from addiction and learn how to support a family member in recovery.
Exploring the Goals of Family Therapy
The goal of family therapy is first and foremost, to identify and eliminate enabling and negative behaviors. Often, friends and family of addicts try to intervene on their own and can end up exacerbating addictive tendencies rather than eliminating them. Perhaps a family member is trying to save the addict from the negative results of his or her actions under the influence and creates a buffer from the idea of hitting a “rock bottom”.
Another family member might be extremely combative out of anger regarding the addict’s destructive behavior, essentially giving the person a reason to go use the substance of choice even more. Sometimes a family member may actually be providing the means by which the addict gets his or her substance of choice with the false pretense that they are protecting their loved one the dangers of obtaining the drugs or alcohol independently.
Benefits of Family Therapy in Addiction Treatment
By participating in family therapy during addiction treatment, these situations can be identified and properly treated to ensure they do not continue throughout the recovery process.
Family therapy can also help families learn how to prevent substance abuse from spreading throughout the family. Younger generations look to their elders for social cues on how to act. Without properly addressing addiction with family members, the disease can continue to spread and cause harm. This is compounded if negative behaviors, like enabling, are not treated during recovery.
In family therapy, you will also gain a deeper understanding of what your addicted loved one has experienced. This helps your family better prepare to stop dysfunctional home life that could feed the addiction. Just as the addict in your life will continue to do the work of recovery beyond the confines of addiction treatment, your family must do the same to provide a safe and healthy environment for all.
Addiction is a family disease and if the family as a whole does not heal from the addiction, the addict can slip back into its grips upon completion of a substance abuse treatment program. Each family member needs to do the work to give their loved one the best chance of maintaining sobriety.
If you have a loved one struggling with addiction, The Recovery Village Ridgefield can help. Call to speak to a representative about how our treatment programs can help you and your family.