Family plays an important role throughout one’s recovery, and the lingering effects of addiction on one’s family can be felt long after one’s initial treatment program has concluded. Navigating the ramifications that addictive substances have had on one’s family is an incredibly difficult thing to process. Reconnecting with loved ones is still important, and approaching the delicate relationships, and complex emotions therein is equally necessary and uncomfortable. However, reconnecting with family during recovery can birth the most important support while standing as a testament to one’s dedication to change and transformation throughout the recovery journey.
Addressing the Effects of Addiction on the Family
While addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling, or anything else can be an incredibly isolating experience, the effects of addiction extend far beyond this isolated perspective. Families, friends, and loved ones are all greatly affected, and it is paramount to address these effects for a truly successful recovery.
Family members may be experiencing a mix of emotions throughout one’s recovery, and while the pride and joy they may feel as one graduates from their treatment program and maintains their sobriety, feelings of resentment, blame, and anger may also be present. No part of confronting these feelings and the mistakes one made is going to be easy. However, in order to create the most impactful base for healing, a degree of honesty and a shared starting point for healing must be established. This means preparing to have difficult conversations and allowing family members to speak about their feelings of anger and resentment to better understand how addiction has impacted the whole family.
Utilizing Family Therapy
Family therapy programs are an essential tool for navigating this tumultuous time. Going to a designated program together can be intimidating at first, but family therapy programs carry a number of unique benefits that help families navigate the undoubtedly difficult conversations ahead. Family therapy programs create a safe, neutral space for families to all begin on the same level, without outside distractions, stressors, or discomforts dictating the conversation.
These programs also ensure that each member of the family is given their chance to voice their thoughts in whatever way is fit. Confronting uncomfortable situations can be met with resistance and silence as a defense mechanism. However, this silence does little to usher along continued recovery and providing both a comfortable space and dedicated time for each family member to voice how addiction has impacted them, their feelings, and any other information that feels pertinent can create an honest base to begin reconnecting.
This conversation is completely essential to have as a part of recovery. However, it isn’t a conversation that needs to happen all at once and instead can be taken a day at a time. Whether an individual is navigating their 12-Step recovery, particularly in steps eight and nine as an individual dedicates themselves to identifying those affected by addiction and making their amends therein, or is taking a non-12-Step approach to their sobriety, finding the time to address this essential part of recovery is necessary for continued progress.
Taking Time to Dedicate to Family
Employing strategies outside of a treatment facility is also important for one’s continued efforts to reconnect with the family. Taking time out of one’s day to practice acts of service while maintaining their sobriety is crucial. While the strategies may differ from family to family, making a constant effort to acknowledge and explore the familial effects of addiction can create a healthy, unified approach to one’s continued sobriety.
Practice Giving Thanks
Making an effort to show appreciation to one’s family for the support provided, opportunities given, or care shown is a powerful act. Either making a conscious effort to say “thank you” for things that continue to aid one’s sobriety, writing cards, giving gifts, or providing any other services or motions of thanks can all be instrumental in creating an atmosphere of thanks, kindness, and support. Daily expressions of this gratitude can continue to reinforce the unity and camaraderie needed throughout the recovery process.
Create New Traditions
Creating new traditions, such as a game night, movie night, cooking for the family on weekends, or any other kind of tradition can all be incredibly beneficial. Birthing new traditions can be created with an entirely sober mindset, meaning that there is no connotation or previous experience with addictive substances that can influence one’s perception of the tradition while also working to create a more defined line between one’s regrettable, destructive past behaviors and one’s current hobbies, interests, and familial dynamic. Organizing these traditions can also reinforce a degree of responsibility and service that can continue to facilitate familial healing.
Allow Time and Space
Addiction is an all-encompassing disease that affects an individual at all hours of the day. However, sometimes the best way to reconnect with one’s family is to acknowledge the lengths of their support and allow them a break. Cooking dinner and allowing family members to relax with their own space and time can exhibit a level of understanding necessary for family members to rejuvenate their own mental and emotional resilience. While taking actions to reconnect the family is essential, seeing one’s family as people with their own needs and interests can be just as instrumental in creating a new, healthy family dynamic.
Reconnecting with the family is a major hurdle in recovery, and even as an individual graduates from a treatment program and navigates the world outside of a treatment center in their newfound sobriety, taking the necessary steps to reconnect with family members is still an incredibly difficult task. At Renassaince Ranch, we understand not just the difficulty in reconnecting with family after addiction but also the necessity, and we are prepared to help you build a new family dynamic in your sobriety as a unit. We offer an array of programs, including extensive family programming to provide you and your family the necessary space to navigate your new dynamics while also providing education and guidance to bolster these important connections. Coupled with a myriad of online resources, we can help you take the first step towards repairing your family unit today. For more information, call to speak to a caring, trained staff member at (801) 308-8898 today.