How to Help Your Loved Ones Understand Addiction

Sep 24, 2022

Addiction can be difficult to understand for those who have not experienced it firsthand. For example, a mother may really struggle to relate to her son who developed an addiction to opioids. A sister may have a hard time understanding how her brother, who grew up in the same household and environment, has developed an addiction to alcohol. Even friends who you may have been close with in the past can struggle to relate to you and your addiction.

Family support during treatment and recovery is key. Having people who love and care about you in your corner is important on the good days and the bad days. Since addiction can be difficult for family members to understand at times, it is important to involve them in the treatment process and help them learn more. 

Family Education Groups

Getting family members involved in the treatment process can sometimes be easier said than done. Relationships may be strained, leaving loved ones hesitant to get involved. It is important to make every effort to encourage those who love and care for you to participate in groups or therapy that can help them heal, as well. 

Family education groups can be extremely beneficial for loved ones of those battling substance abuse. There is often a lot of mistrust, miscommunication, and misunderstanding that comes with the situation. Family groups are often very specific in terms of who they group together. For instance, Renaissance Ranch offers a specific group for parents, a specific group for spouses, and a specific group for siblings and other relatives or close friends.

All of these roles vary when it comes to supporting and understanding someone with an addiction. A parent or spouse is going to respond and be affected very differently by a loved one’s addiction compared to a sibling or friend. 

It is important to understand and acknowledge these differences. Adapting curriculum, topics, and information to the different roles is key. It is just as important that family members and loved ones heal along with those going through treatment and recovering from their addiction. If the family and loved ones don’t heal and are left without tools to help the individual in recovery to succeed, there is more risk of relapse and opportunities for triggering harmful behaviors.

Importance of Family

Family is so important. Many would even say family is everything. When it comes to recovering from addiction, family plays an important role in your recovery. Often, family members and loved ones will be there for you and remain consistent throughout your addiction, treatment, and in recovery. It is common for other friends or social circles to change following treatment. This is often for the best, as you are likely to have spent time with other substance users prior to treatment. 

Being that family is usually a constant, their support and encouragement can mean everything. The unconditional love that parents, spouses, or other family members often have for you does not alter, even with your addiction. This being the case, there can be a fair share of damaged relationships and distance as a result of your substance use.

Repairing Relationships

Mending broken relationships is a part of the treatment and recovery process for good reason. It is often those who we care for most who end up being hurt and affected the most by our actions. We often shut them out and create distance during addiction. This is because we care about how they feel and know that our behaviors and choices could hurt or disappoint them.

 It is important to make the effort to mend these ties and strengthen the bond with the people who love you and are going to support you and your efforts to get sober. Helping them understand what you’re experiencing can largely benefit this process and promote healing for everyone involved.

So, how do you start? The first step to rebuilding those important relationships is to communicate. It is critical to honestly express your thoughts and feelings, as well as your desire for them to be part of the treatment process. Most of the time, loved ones such as parents, spouses, or siblings will welcome the invitation. Other times, it may take a little bit of time for them to come around to the idea as they may be hurt or feel a little uncomfortable with the idea at first.

tel:+18013088898Getting your loved ones involved in programs that can not only give them more information about your situation but about addiction as a whole can be very helpful in repairing your relationships. They will be surrounded by others who can relate as they are in the same role. It can be very encouraging for your loved ones to feel like they are not alone and can lean on others who are able to truly empathize. 

Getting family members or others you care about involved in the treatment process with you is very beneficial. They need to understand what you are going through and learn how best to support you in treatment and beyond. Many family members have little to no experience with substance abuse and need to first understand what addiction is and how it affects people. At Renaissance Ranch, we offer family education groups for spouses, parents, siblings, and close friends. We understand the difference in each of these roles, and try to create separate groups for them. We understand the difficult position these individuals are in and adapt topics and curriculum to help them understand your situation. They can learn to support you while healing themselves, as well. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, call Renaissance Ranch today at (801) 308-8898.