As a family member of someone who struggles with addiction, you know that this disease affects much more than the person who abuses drugs. It affects the entire family and friends.
Treatment typically focuses on just the person who is suffering from addiction. However, it is important that the whole family is able to heal along with the person in recovery. Your trust has probably been broken. You have likely been lied to. You have watched the heart-wrenching process of substance abuse. Recovering along with your loved one is important for your own well-being.
Family group therapy for addiction treatment can also be very beneficial to the person who is struggling with substance abuse. Studies have shown that recovery is more successful when it includes family members. Your support is important during this time of healing; it could even help prevent relapse in the future.
What to Expect During Family Therapy for Addiction
After your loved one has enrolled in a rehab program, you and your family members may meet with them and their counselor. This typically includes members of the immediate or extended family, but it can also include people who are close to the person being treated, such as friends.
Family addiction therapy is an important part of recovery and a good way for you to show support. Although you may have been hurt by the person who has been abusing drugs or alcohol, you may be able to find forgiveness as you see them progress through their recovery.
Clients and their family members will meet with a counselor to learn new skills, ways of communicating, and more about their family dynamic. You can apply this knowledge to facilitate a more positive environment in the home and healthier interactions. Communication skills will help group members express themselves effectively while supporting the client and their recovery.
The counselor may also help the group understand how they currently interact with each other. If one person tends to dominate the conversation or provide all of the rules, the therapist may provide strategies to even out the communication or power dynamic. If one person doesn’t respect the boundaries that others have, they may discuss ways that each person can be firmer with those boundaries.
It may be hard to hear, but the counselor may also teach the family about how they may have enabled or contributed to the client’s addiction. You should not take this to mean that the addiction was your fault or that you caused the substance abuse because this is not the case. Even people with the best of intentions can sometimes get in the way of recovery. This is very common and nothing to be ashamed of; after all, you are probably not a professional addiction counselor! The important part is that you are learning how to better help your loved one. The counselor can help you identify issues that may have arisen in the past and provide you with new ways to deal with similar situations in the future.
This type of therapy also focuses on behavioral changes. Along with family members, the client will set behavioral goals that help with staying off drugs. By changing certain actions and setting positive goals, a client can work to resolve any underlying issues that they are dealing with. They can also help repair relationships that may have been damaged as a result of substance abuse.
Benefits of Including Family Members
There are a number of benefits to including family members in the treatment process. It is a great way to keep your loved one motivated as they progress through rehab. Knowing that they have a supportive home environment can help them stay encouraged. Your support can also ease feelings of fear, stress, anger, and confusion that are often caused by drug addiction.
It is also important that the family members provide their support after treatment is complete. Giving your loved one additional encouragement after the rehab program is done can help prevent relapse. Continuing to work on improving the household dynamic will provide an increasingly positive home environment, which is very helpful in getting a person back to a normal, healthy life.
Benefits for Family Members
Family counseling benefits more than just the person working to overcome addiction. Members of the family that participate in the rehab process can also benefit from treatment. For instance, people can learn more about addiction and how it affects them. They can also learn about what treatment involves, what their loved one has been learning and working on during recovery, and what they can do for their loved one after the rehab program is complete.
Family members will also be given a chance to express their feelings and talk about their loved one’s addiction in a safe and comfortable environment. They can ask questions, voice concerns, and talk to their family members about their struggles. This is an excellent place to vocalize how you have been hurt and what expectations you may have for the future.
The family can also learn about and develop skills to help their loved one stick with their recovery plan. By offering their support during and after the rehab treatment process, they can help their loved one stay on the track to recovery.
It is important for the group to understand that, unfortunately, relapse can be an inevitable part of recovery. The counselor may teach you more about the recovery process and how setbacks do not equal failure. If relapse does happen, it will be undoubtedly difficult and disappointing for you and everyone else involved. However, providing your support through the hard times will be an important part of recovery for your loved one. It is important for each member of the group to be there through the good times and the bad.
Family Addiction Counseling Can Help You
When your loved one is being treated for addiction, being involved with the treatment is one of the best ways you can help. People in recovery who are lucky enough to have the support of family members are often more successful with their recoveries.
If you have a loved one that is struggling with substance abuse, you can help by attending family therapy for drug addiction. You can work together to repair the relationship and have the healthy, loving family that you deserve.