Family Care In Addiction – Should Your Family Receive Help, Too?
Drug and alcohol addiction is primarily a battle you have to win against yourself. It’s one of the most challenging personal experiences you’ll face. But through it all, one thing is important to remember – you’re not in it on your own.
Addiction and Relationships
You’ve likely experienced a variety of relationship problems over the years. Your family members, including your immediate family, may have taken the brunt of what you’ve experienced, from the deep depressions to the manic moments brought on by addiction. Because addiction affects everyone in a family, family therapy tends to be a must if you hope to restore balance and repair those relationships.
What Is Family Therapy?
In its traditional form, family therapy is a set of therapeutic methods that focus on assessing and treating addiction through the family unit. The premise is simple. When one person within the family structure is facing addiction or any type of negative or traumatic event, it will impact the entire unit. If the family does not receive treatment, the group as a whole, as well as the individual, will suffer, as noted by the National Institutes of Health.
During your individual therapy sessions with your counseling team, you will focus on your behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. In family-focused therapy, you will focus on the relationships you have. More so, you will work to understand what addiction has done to those relationships. It’s also important for every member of the family to be able to communicate their understanding of what you are going through and to validate their own feelings of what addiction has done to them.
Family therapy is not a time for people to point fingers and say, “Look what you did to me.” This is a time to discuss the impact of addiction, to acknowledge what it’s done to the relationships, and then make decisions about how to move beyond those changes, if possible.
Family Therapy Creates Exposure Opportunities
Individual therapy is challenging. Family therapy can be challenging, too. It’s a time when therapists work with you to discover what’s happening within the family dynamic that’s either enabling your addiction or denying it.
In some families, a spouse may allow their addicted partner to continue to use while living in the home, making empty threats about leaving while managing the financial burden of the addiction alone. This creates a deep sense of abandonment and resentment of the partner with the substance abuse problem. In other families, teens may be using drugs or drinking alcohol as a way to rebel against overly strict and suspicious parents. The parents’ lack of trust can be a key factor in the teen’s desire to use.
It’s Not All About the Negative
Family therapy will certainly be difficult and painful at times, but it can also be a time for rediscovering the positive and setting the family on the path for healing and hope. Your family therapist will work to create bridges for forgiveness, acceptance, and understanding. During this process, you’ll find opportunities to rekindle relationships.
To be clear, it takes a long time to work through the problems that occur in families due to addiction. But family therapy gives families a plan. It teaches families how to communicate and set boundaries about living arrangements, economic problems, work-related concerns, and other areas.
What You Can Expect at Victory Addiction Recovery Center
When you enroll in our alcohol and drug addiction treatment in Lafayette, LA, you will likely experience family therapy. We typically begin family therapy during the third or fourth week of your inpatient treatment program, and it typically lasts two or three days. During this time, our therapist will help you talk with your family about what’s happening and help them communicate their concerns and feelings to you.
It’s also a time for education. Your family will learn about addiction as a disease as well as what type of treatment you’re receiving. They will be able to read letters to you and discuss them. You’ll learn more about how addiction is a family disease, how to defend against it, and what type of support is available to your loved ones.
You and your loved ones will learn about acceptance, forgiveness, and boundaries, work through several activities together, and then determine what kind of ongoing support you each need. Family therapy week is an intense experience because it allows you to reconnect with your loved ones but also to begin creating the kind of relationships that will support your treatment and years of recovery.
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