Renaissance Ranch

Educating the Family

Jul 20, 2022

What is more important than family? Many would agree that family is the most important thing in life. When a family member is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it can be difficult to accept. Should you approach the issue and attempt to confront them? Should you seek help on their behalf? Maybe trying to connect them with resources is the best approach.

The truth is, navigating these circumstances can be a challenge from the very beginning. When you first begin to notice that there might be a problem, it can be scary. What can be even more difficult is accepting the problem is in fact addiction and learning to support your loved one through the treatment and recovery process.

Luckily, there are many services and resources designed for family members in this position, catered to address their needs. Plugging into these support groups and utilizing these resources is important for you and your loved one.

During Addiction

Have you noticed something different about your spouse lately? Is your sibling acting exceptionally irritable or distant? Do you find yourself feeling as though your best friend isn’t being quite honest with you these days?

Realizing that your loved one is struggling with substance abuse can be a difficult reality to face. Approaching the topic with them may feel very uncomfortable or even unreasonable. Depending on your relationship, you may not even feel certain about the severity of the situation.

It is important to address the reality that your family member may be in trouble. Start with a simple conversation. They may deny there is a problem, causing you to doubt your intuition a bit. Don’t let this discourage you from trusting your gut.

It can be common for your loved one to make excuses and make more of an attempt to cover up their addiction following a confrontation. If they are not ready to seek treatment, understand that you can’t force them to seek help.

What you can do, however, is consider your own behavior and be sure you are not enabling the continued substance use in any way. This can present in many different ways. A few examples could include paying bills for your loved one, allowing them to live in your home and use substances, or making excuses and defending their behavior.

It is important to set boundaries during this time. These boundaries can benefit you and your loved one in the long term, as they can help preserve the relationships, allowing for a smoother transition and repair following treatment. Sticking to these boundaries can be difficult, especially when you love the person. However, remembering the reason you created the boundary in the first place can help.

During Treatment

Once your family member has agreed to enter treatment, you may feel a new wave of emotion. You may even feel a little guilty if you were the one to suggest and encourage treatment. The fact is, detox and early treatment can be difficult and bring some discomfort. 

This process brings vast changes both physically and mentally and can be very tough. Remember the end goal, and believe that treatment was the right decision. As your loved one progresses through treatment, things can get better and they should begin to acclimate to their new, healthier lifestyle.

Treatment can offer a lot for family members, too. For instance, classes on the Twelve Steps can help family members fully understand the experience and what their loved one is going through. Family therapy can be an excellent tool for working through any tension, resentment, or mistrust that the disease may have caused.

Family education groups are an excellent way to get involved and get informed. These classes are offered to spouses, siblings, and parents to provide knowledge that can be beneficial in their specific position. With everyone in the group experiencing things from the same perspective, it can serve as a safe space for offering advice and feedback, as well.

During Recovery

Throughout recovery, while things may seem a bit more settled, they still may not feel the same as they used to. The person coming out of treatment may appear slightly different, and interactions may feel odd at first. Depending on the length of time spent battling addiction, you may not even really know that person without it.

Offering support and encouragement to your loved one throughout their recovery is important. Being aware and considerate of environments they may prefer to avoid or topics that could be uncomfortable is critical. 

It is also important to continue to care for yourself and prioritize your healing throughout your loved one’s recovery. Addiction can take a huge toll on them, and continuing to seek help from therapy and participate in family groups can help everyone heal and move forward. 

Watching a family member struggle with drug or alcohol addiction can be very difficult. You may not know how to help, or how to even approach the issue. It is important to understand what is within your control and what is not, and recognize how to support them throughout the treatment and recovery process while still taking care of yourself. At Renaissance Ranch, we offer a variety of family programs to address the challenges family members face when their loved one is struggling with addiction or going through treatment. We provide groups to educate and support you throughout the process and help facilitate healing and promote the rebuilding of relationships. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, let us help you and your family get the support and resources you need during this difficult time. Call Renaissance Ranch today at (801) 308-8898.