Family support is an important part of addiction recovery, especially for people who may need to distance themselves from their friends, locations, and other sources that influence addictive behavior.
In this article, you will discover the benefits of family support for addiction recovery.
Family Support for Addiction Recovery
When someone in the family is addicted to substances, the whole family can suffer. Family members may feel as though they have already sacrificed too much over the addiction, and the thought of giving even more time and energy to the problem may seem overwhelming. Staying focused on the end goal of having a family free from addiction is imperative when searching for the strength to go another mile. Through making adjustments in your perspectives and approaches, you can find ways to assist both yourself and a loved one, toward finding peace.
Here are just a few of the many benefits of family support for addiction recovery …
When a family member is in recovery, it may feel as though he or she is taking up even more of the precious energy resources than before. A recovering person is in a very fragile period of time, where learning to avoid and cope with triggers that tempt toward using substances is paramount. You may be suddenly expected to tread carefully around this person and may be called upon to adjust some of your own behaviors.
While it may seem unfair that others are expected to make changes when it is the addicted person who has the problem, it is helpful to remember that families function together as a unit. When one family member suffers, all tend to suffer. By making some changes of your own, you will be helping the addicted person to succeed in sobriety. Your loved one becoming sober will ultimately compensate for your extra effort by providing you with peace of mind.
A person in recovery is likely to learn a lot about the importance of self-care. Self-care refers to putting a priority on attending to your own emotional, physical, and mental health needs. When we give out more energy than we can spare, we aren’t able to operate as our best self. Recharging your psychological batteries as a family member of an addicted person is just as important as it is for the person in recovery.
Good self-care doesn’t have to be costly or take up a large amount of time. It is a healthy practice to incorporate at least a few minutes of it into each day, making it just as much of a priority as other, daily, tasks. Start by identifying some types of activities that you notice you feel better after doing. Then, prioritize these activities just as you would any other required activity. Some examples of self-care activities include taking a walk, enjoying a bath, or watching a favorite television show. As you learn to keep your own energy levels balanced, you will also be better equipped to help your loved one through the period of substance abuse recovery.
One thing that makes hardships even more difficult to bear is a lack of knowledge about what is going on. Just as your loved one in recovery is learning about what addiction is, and how it manifests, it is important for family members to be aware of the process. With proper
psychoeducation, all parties can arrive on the other side of the addiction problem with more insight, awareness, and tools for maintaining a healthy life.
There are underlying psychological difficulties present for both the person in addiction and for the other family members. Through psychoeducation, you and your loved ones can learn about the types of family dynamics which play a role in developing, sustaining, and recovering from addiction. Each family member can find ways to improve their approaches toward the situation, and toward life, in general.
It is also helpful for all family members to become knowledgeable about the process of addiction and recovery. The path toward addiction is rarely linear, and the path out of it is similarly winding. Becoming educated on the phases and characteristics of recovery will help you to avoid sabotaging your loved one’s recovery by holding unrealistic expectations or harsh judgments. You will be equipped to assist in the journey of recovery, and the empowerment that comes from knowledge of a situation will bring greater peace to all concerned.
Support Vs. Enabling
As your knowledge of the dynamics of addiction grows, you will be able to discern whether your actions are helping, or hindering, the process of recovery for your loved one. In our desperation to keep our addicted family members alive and safe, it is very easy to fall into the trap of supplying the conditions necessary for the addiction to continue. A person in addiction who has all practical obstacles removed from his or her path is unlikely to experience an internal need for change. When our attempts to help make the problem worse, we are actually enabling the undesired behaviors. Sometimes, allowing the person in addiction to face the consequences of the continued behavior is the most loving thing we can do.
Finding the right balance of support for a family member in addiction can be tricky. While presenting harsh ultimatums is rarely effective, setting firm, loving, boundaries can help your loved one to move in the direction of sobriety. Family members will want to look for ways that can communicate that the person in addiction is loved, but the addictive behavior will not be accommodated. One way to show this proper kind of support is to make it known that the family will be there to support any actions made toward recovery, and will withdraw from an engagement which feeds the addiction. An example of this type of boundary setting would be to refuse to provide an addicted person with financial support while agreeing to assist with transportation to treatment appointments.
Unconditional Positive Regard
While navigating the steps toward recovery with your addicted family member can be challenging, one thing that does not have to ever come into question is your love for this person. It is always helpful to keep in mind that it is the addictive behavior – and not the individual – that needs to go away. Keeping an open line of communication and remembering to focus on the positive aspects of your relationship with your loved one will be the glue that keeps the family together during these trying times.
Now that you understand the importance of family support for addiction recovery, you may want to consider speaking with a professional regarding how you can support a loved one.
For help, contact The Heights Treatment for more information.