No one has to tell you that addiction is a family condition that is knitted into the fabric of generations of family relationships. Addiction adversely affects the development of family bonds – how we interact with each other and the way our children will grow up and live their lives.
That’s a powerful position to hold, right in the center of a family dynamic. So many people have the misconception that when a family member suffering from addiction begins therapy that they’re the only person that needs to change. The truth of the matter is that everyone involved has something they need to work on individually.
These things don’t have to be negative, but they are usually deeply ingrained emotional responses that must be addressed so that the recovering addict can return to a healthy family unit – one that has the ability and understanding necessary to support their life of sobriety and repair the relationships damaged by addiction. Our work with addicts at Enlightened Solutions includes not only detoxing their body and mind from substances, but helping them learn how to interact with others while exploring the reasons behind their feelings and behaviors.
Understanding the Disease of Addiction
Family programs are integrated into our treatment plans, and include:
- Understanding addiction and mental health conditions
- Defining healthy boundaries with family members
- Defining roles in a family
- How to work with someone in recovery
- How to respect and care for themselves
- Understanding individual needs and the needs of the family unit
- Identifying individual personalities and dealing with codependency
- Understanding enabling actions and how to avoid them
- How to stick to the rules of sobriety
Family members often forget themselves when their loved one struggles with addiction. They forget about what they need in life to be happy as an individual, and learn to close themselves off from joy. These family members are consumed by embarrassment, anger, fear, and worry without the ability to process these emotions in a healthy way. They learn to take on responsibilities that are not their own, and leave their feelings unexpressed or express them at inappropriate times.
We teach family members to recognize that they are people with needs and lives of their own, and that they need to remember to take care of themselves. Addiction takes over the individual experiencing it, and it’s a compulsive mental condition that has to be worked on as a holistic engagement of the mind, body, and spirit. Only the person in treatment can make the final decision to succeed in recovery or to continue abusing substances. Educating our client’s families on the specifics of their loved one’s addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions will help them understand what they go through each day, and what the future may look like. Once an addict has agreed to work on their addiction, we can educate family members about the phases of treatment for substance abuse, and what things the family can focus on at home to create a positive and supportive environment.