Addiction recovery requires a lot of help and support. For some of our addiction treatment clients at Crestview, the family can be the perfect support network. Involving family members in family therapy can be an effective way to maintain sobriety, limit relapse, and help the people closest to you understand how to help you.
Types of Family Therapy Available
Family therapy is a form of treatment where family members attend therapy together with the help of a substance abuse treatment center. However, there’s no specific type of family-based therapy. Multiple variations accommodate all types of patients and their loved ones.
Some married patients, for example, participate in addiction therapy sessions with their spouse. This helps strengthen the marital relationship and shows the sober spouse how to be a source of support. We know that addiction affects more than the individual in treatment; the entire family needs to heal.
Some young adults have their parents or their siblings attend family therapy. Involving the whole family is a way of bringing together a small community of support and accountability.
In some cases, family sessions don’t include the patient. Family members might gather with others who are in a similar situation. They can share their own fears and concerns without those in the throes of addiction overhearing or feeling judged. It’s important to remember that recovery can also be hard for loved ones, and they need access to quality mental health disorder treatment as well.
Using Therapy to Educate Family Members About Addiction
When family members are involved in addiction therapy services, it gives them a more accurate understanding of addiction. Sadly, many family members still think that addiction is a choice or a flaw. When they have all the information, they can be more helpful to their loved ones.
One of the goals of family-based therapy is to teach participants how addiction develops. It can also specify that addiction is a disease. When family members know this, they might see those struggling with addiction in a new light.
Preventing the Spread of Addiction Within a Family
A significant factor in the development of addiction is genetics. For that reason, close family members may all be susceptible to addiction. In therapy, families can learn to identify the signs of this disease.
This can be a big help in terms of recognizing others who might struggle with addiction. It can also show parents how to help children and teens avoid addictive tendencies in the future.
Drawing the Line Between Helping and Enabling
Arguably the biggest struggle for many family members whose loved ones struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol is knowing when to help and when to step back. Even when family members have the best intentions, they can ultimately hurt a client’s recovery if they respond inappropriately or enable their loved one in their addiction.
Because of this, therapy focuses on information about enabling behaviors. Enabling is any behavior that allows an addict to continue on the path of self-destruction. It’s easy to enable family members because we love them; however, enabling a loved one prevents them from getting the help they need. Examples might include picking up a family member from rehab before treatment is complete, lying about their behavior to others, or giving them money.
Through therapy, family members can see that patients have to go through a certain process to reach and maintain sobriety. Offering too much help, or enabling, can limit the success of patients in the long run.
How to Help a Family Member Struggling with Addiction
When people have unhealed trauma, it is easy for them to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms that can lead to addiction. Addiction is a complicated disease, and loving someone who struggles with it can be difficult. Supporting them and understanding what role you might play in their recovery process can be challenging but very rewarding in the long run. The following strategies can be helpful:
- Attend an Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meeting.
- Avoid protecting your loved one from natural consequences.
- Commit to not drinking or using drugs around your loved one.
Showing Clients They are Not Alone
One important goal of therapy for families is showing patients that they aren’t alone. Even in rehab, some patients feel very isolated. It’s easy to think that no one understands the process of addiction recovery.
In therapy, family members can show their support. This can go a long way in bringing loved ones together and helping patients see that they have a built-in support network that wants to help. Call Crestview Recovery at 866.262.0531 now to begin your journey to sobriety.