Why Having Family Support is Important to Recovery
Drug and alcohol addiction affects so much more than just the person experiencing the actual addiction. The people closest to the person suffering from substance use disorder are also affected, and overcoming this takes more than just getting their loved one to go to treatment. Recovery from addiction takes major adjustments in a person’s lifestyle and the family should be part of the entire process, which is why having family support is important to recovery.
Addiction is a Family Disease
According to Psychology Today, every family has its own “organization,” and family members develop particular ways of acting and reacting with each other and with the outside world. Change in any part of the family system leads to changes in all parts of the system. Becoming sober and living a new, healthy lifestyle takes support from the entire family.
One of the most important reasons for having family support during recovery is simply because addiction recovery is hard. Individuals in recovery need someone to vent their innermost feelings to, someone to talk to if they’re having a particularly difficult day, and someone to lean on. There is no better place to find that than in family members.
The Whole Family Needs Support
Addiction makes individuals act out in ways they never usually would if they were sober. This can make family members feel abused, taken advantage of, and extremely hurt. When an individual suffering from addiction causes a lot of negative consequences to come about, family members are often left alone to pick up the pieces while their loved one goes to treatment. That is why everyone in the family should be involved in the recovery process, so that all concerns and emotions are addressed in a healthy way.
In addition, family members go through a lot while their loved one is experiencing active addiction. This includes sleepless nights, anxiety about their well-being, financial consequences, things being stolen from them, and putting themselves in dangerous neighborhoods or situations to locate their loved one. This can bring about its own trauma that needs to be addressed in therapy.
Repairing and Strengthening Family Bonds
One of the hallmarks of addiction is isolation from close friends and family members. This means that the individual suffering from addiction has likely pushed their family away in favor of using. Whether that means skipping soccer practices or dance recitals because of a terrible hangover, not going to Thanksgiving because they were too high, or forgetting a birthday or anniversary because they were too intoxicated — all of these things are hurtful to the family bond and the individual relationships. By having family support in recovery, the family is able to work on fixing these issues and moving past them together.
Fixing Enabling or Toxic Behaviors
More often than not, there tends to be a member of the family who is enabling the person suffering from addiction, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Some examples of enabling include:
- Providing financial support to the person suffering from addiction
- Offering a place to live or allowing use to take place in the home
- Turning a blind eye to their loved one’s use
- Defending the loved one to others who express concern
- Bailing their loved one out of negative situations, such as jail
- Allowing drug deals to take place at the home or providing their loved one with substances
By taking part in family therapy, loved ones are able to recognize these behaviors within themselves and learn how to change this dynamic.
Establishing Boundaries and Expectations in Aftercare
Before an individual goes home after completing treatment, the aftercare plan needs to be set in place. Since relapse is most common within the first 90 days of treatment, it is important for all family members to be on board and understand the signs of relapse, as well as boundaries to put in place to hopefully prevent one. These can include:
- No drugs or alcohol allowed in the home. This might seem obvious, but it should extend to everyone in the home, not just the one suffering from addiction. If someone in the home still chooses to drink, he or she should not bring it home in support of their loved one.
- No more contact with party friends. When people are suffering from addiction, they tend to have a shift in their social circle to favor people who party or use drugs. By cutting off contact with these people, it adds an extra layer of security that a relapse won’t happen.
- No more financial help. While this can be difficult at first, it will force your loved one to get a job and handle their own money. As time goes on, and if it is needed, they can slowly have access to financial help.
About Cliffside Malibu
Family support is an important part of recovery. The first part of establishing this support is fixing the bonds and relationships within the family that have been damaged by addiction. While recovery might be a long bumpy road, it results in much better, loving relationships with the family.
Since no two addictions are the same, Cliffside Malibu offers an individualized treatment plan for every client. We are committed to providing evidence-based treatment through a continuum of care model including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment, and outpatient services. Our program also includes family therapy and holistic therapy, as well. Whether an individual is suffering from substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction, our programs are structured to create a supportive environment where healing can begin.
In addition to world-class treatment, Cliffside Malibu offers luxury accommodations, a serene environment, five-star dining, and plentiful amenities. We understand that addiction treatment is a rigorous process. Therefore, we provide for your comfort and relaxation at every turn, allowing you to rejuvenate, and meet the demands of treatment with your greatest energy and attention.
For more information on Cliffside Malibu, visit cliffsidemalibu.com