Watching someone you love suffer from addiction can be heart-wrenching. You likely felt pain, anger, frustration, and resentment as you took on more than you could handle. At some point, you and your family might have intervened and demanded that your loved one get help, and they did. However, sobriety doesn’t erase the trauma your family unit faced during this time of upheaval and chaos.
Addiction Is A Family Disease
When someone suffers from addiction, the people who love them are majorly affected. If the person with addiction lives with a partner or children, the functions of the family unit are usually destroyed. Addiction can disrupt routines and cause financial problems, legal problems, and even traumatic experiences.
Family dynamics are at the center of codependent relationships and enabling, which can exacerbate the cycle of addiction. Family members may be in denial about the problem at hand or try to protect their loved ones by assuming extra responsibilities and making excuses to keep them from facing consequences. As a result of these toxic dynamics, there’s underlying resentment, anger, guilt, and embarrassment that will need to be dealt with in order for healing to continue.
Family Healing Is Essential To Recovery
Relationships are typically just as damaged as a result of addiction as one’s physical health. Family members can also experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), unhealthy coping strategies, and destructive communication during this painful time. Healing these broken connections is crucial to recovery because humans thrive within a healthy and loving community and/or family.
Recovery has a higher chance of success with the help and involvement of family members. Most family members want to know how they can help their loved ones in the most effective way. By having honest dialogue and addressing toxicity in your family dynamic, you can successfully end generational trauma and substance use.
What Is Family Therapy?
Similar to talk therapy, family therapy focuses on the family unit as a whole, addressing the issues and obstacles blocking the potential for a harmonious dynamic. Families affected by addiction need to learn and heal in order to function successfully. There are many different elements of family therapy, such as addiction education, goal-setting, and learning new skills to help the family thrive. Every family is different and therapy is adjusted to fit your needs.
Learning about what your loved one is going through is one of the most important parts of recovery for families. Once you understand the realities of addiction and how you can help your loved one, the family can begin to heal. Education can teach you why addiction is a disease, how to adjust to your loved one’s recovery, and how treatment works. Learning about addiction can also help you understand the family’s role in codependency and enabling, and give you a safe space to ask questions and voice your concerns with a professional.
Learning New Skills
Sometimes dysfunctional family dynamics can cause addiction or make it worse. You might not have learned effective communication skills, how to express your feelings constructively, or how to enforce healthy boundaries. Not everyone is taught these skills by their parents as they grow up, especially if their families were unhealthy as well.
In family therapy, these skills are taught as a way to improve relationships and support your loved one’s long-term sobriety. You can learn how to empower instead of enabling and how to set boundaries and limits. You can also learn more about your family’s strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, the goal is for these skills to help the person with addiction and their family members handle conflict and hardships without turning to substance use.
It’s Time To Heal
A lot of damage has likely been done to the family’s relationships during your loved one’s substance use. In family therapy, feelings of anger, stress, resentment, and confusion can be addressed in a safe environment. Open discussion allows the experiences of all family members to be understood and validated.
By discussing complicated family dynamics, we can address underlying mental health issues like anxiety and depression, resolve conflicts, and help the family let go of the negative emotions and trauma associated with their loved one’s substance use. Family members can mend broken relationships and regain trust for one another through honest conversations and improved communication. Most importantly, family members can forgive past behaviors and move forward, something that is essential to recovery.
Using a Support System to Fight Addiction
One of the most dangerous ways that addiction is able to function is through alienation. By isolating the people who suffer from addiction from their support group, substance abuse is able to thrive and rewire a person’s brain to make them believe that their only road to happiness is through continued abuse. For this reason, one of the most important tools that can be utilized in all of addiction recovery is a support system; or the people around an addict who are striving to help them get better.
Recovery isn’t a journey to take alone
No matter how much a recovering addict might feel they have a handle on things, addiction recovery is a challenge that should not be taken alone. Dangerous thought processes that made an individual take the journey towards addiction in the first place can easily rear their ugly head and send a person spiraling towards substance abuse, once again. For this reason, friends and family are an important crutch that can help keep recovering addicts accountable for their actions and know that they aren’t alone in this fight.
Social anxiety can trigger addiction
It’s important to build a support system out of people who are able to help an addict overcome any social anxieties. Social anxiety is a major trigger for substance abuse and can leave an addict with intense cravings, in order to escape these crushing feelings. A support system should be made up of people who can help you overcome any such anxieties.
Togetherness builds a foundation of self-confidence
At the end of the day, overcoming addiction must be done through a renewed sense of self-confidence and self-worth that helps an addict regain control of their lives. While a support system can’t do all of this for a person, the sense of togetherness that comes with a group of people who love you enough to stand by you in a trying time, such as addiction recovery, helps lay a foundation from which personal growth can be accomplished.
The importance of family therapy can be forgotten in the fight to maintain lifelong sobriety. Families are essential to our emotional well-being because we need human connection and love. This is why helping the family as a whole is such an important part of recovery. Family therapy involves setting goals, establishing healthy boundaries, and resolving problems by providing open and honest communication where everyone can be heard. Families are given a forum to talk together, share their past struggles, and learn new skills in a safe and controlled environment. Here at Renaissance Ranch, family therapy provides visitors with an experience that is relaxed, comfortable, and educational. What you learn here can be carried forward to support your loved one’s sobriety now and in the future. Holding onto resentment, regret, and emotional pain can hinder recovery and lead to relapse. We help families rebuild the healthy support systems that we all need to thrive. Call Renaissance Ranch at (801) 308-8898 to talk with our caring staff today.