Overcoming the Pain of Addiction as a Family

Oct 25, 2022

When you skip a stone in a lake, how far out do the ripples go? Each skip sets tiny waves in motion, spreading out far further than you could hope one stone to touch. By the time the stone drops through the water, some of these waves are already reaching the shore, scores of feet away from the epicenter.

Addiction is like the stone skipping on the water. The effects of addiction spread out on everything it skips on. Friends, family, work, and home are all affected by substance use, and the pain it causes will be felt for a long time after.

Part of the recovery process is making amends for some of the pain caused by your substance use. In many cases, you will need to address this with individuals so you can remove this burden from your family and repair the fractured relationships that you will need to make strong again as you strive for lifelong sobriety.

Our families have always been there for us, even when we cannot see it. Let’s explore the ways we can face the pain caused by addiction together and reforge the family ties we need.

Addiction as a Family Illness

You may have thought until this point that substance use disorder (SUD) is an individual disease. That could not be farther from the truth.

Instead, think of SUD as a disease that causes a variety of symptoms both in the substance user and the people around them. It is a social disease because it has effects on whole communities of people, rather than on just one individual.

Your family may have been a part of why you are in treatment. They might have even encouraged you to admit you had a problem and helped you find a treatment center. You might see your family as a pillar of strength, and in many ways they are.

Even the strongest of us feel pain, though. Your family hurt when they saw you struggling, and they need treatment, too. At Renaissance Ranch, you will find relationship and family-focused therapy. We know that for you to recover, your family has to recover, too. For this reason, we offer treatment options for everyone touched by SUD.

Renaissance Ranch programs include family education, group therapy for families, webinars, podcasts, and individual therapy designed to help your family recover alongside you. Together we can overcome substance use and live a healthy, sober existence. 

The Damage of Seeing Your Loved One in Pain

When you fell and scraped your knee as a child, your caregivers were there to pick you up and brush you off. People around you look out for you and want what is best for you. Substance use can make family members feel powerless to help their loved one. Helping a family member realize they have a problem is hard, and there is no out-of-the-box solution that works every time.

A good policy for family members of people in recovery is to begin practicing openness. Openness is the idea that we should be willing to explore options that we had not previously known about.

Families must be open to ideas such as engaging in therapy sessions individually and together. Because substance use and mental health disorders can often occur due to genetic predisposition, family members may be forced to confront their own SUD.

There is no monopoly on pain. We all feel it in many ways and for a variety of reasons – but there are remedies for it, balms to soothe the hurt and bring us to lasting peace. 

SUDs and Holistic Family Treatment 

You cannot heal unless you have addressed the pain your SUD has caused. In some cases, you will be able to heal the rifts caused by substance use. In other cases, you will not. You cannot make someone forgive, but by offering your apology, you can heal your own pain.

Your family has to choose to end their pain, as well. Just like you had to realize that you needed help, they have to realize they also need help. For some families, this is not easy. Other families already know and are ready.

Research shows the disease of addiction affects both the substance user and the environment around them. Each person we touch is affected by substance use when we are in the throes of the disease.

Fortunately, there are resources available to help your family. National organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Alateen offer family and child resources designed to face the pain caused by the disease of addiction and bring healing to families.

The bottom line is this: the family is an interconnected system, like the body. The disease doesn’t affect just one part of the body; it poisons the whole. The only way to heal the disease in the body is to heal the whole body. When it comes to SUD, the earlier family can engage in therapy to face the pain caused by substance use, the better the outcome. 

Resources for Everyone

At Renaissance Ranch, we believe healing from SUDs is for you for your family. That is why we offer resources for your family to cope and heal while you are in treatment and recovery. Your family can:

  • Attend family education classes online. Family education classes are private and only for the families of men who are in treatment and recovery at Renaissance Ranch.
  • Access tips and resources for family members available through our website.
  • Get connected with local 12-Step and Al-Anon/Narc-Anon services.
  • Find and connect with other families who have gone through this.  

Nothing happens in a vacuum. Substance use disorder is a devastating disease that affects everyone around you. The pain family members feel when watching their loved ones struggle with substance use, treatment, detox, and recovery can leave them with lasting pain and turmoil. As you strive for recovery, you can be a part of the healing of your family as well as your own by addressing with them the pain substance use disorder has caused. At Renaissance Ranch, we understand that healing the family is important, too. That is why we offer unique resources geared to help families of individuals struggling with the disease of addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder, do not hesitate to call us. Speak to one of our representatives at (801) 308-8898 today and find out what you can do to start healing from addiction.