What role does the family play in addiction? Families can be a source of support for those who are working to overcome substance use issues, but they can also enable destructive behaviors. Some individuals are more likely to struggle with addiction as a result of a family history of substance use disorders. Conflict is common in any family, but when one member is struggling with addiction, arguments, disappointments, and betrayals of trust can occur.
If your loved one is in recovery from addiction or you’re looking to get them help, family therapy can be a useful tool. During family therapy sessions, you’ll work with a therapist to establish healthy boundaries, develop more effective communication skills, and build stronger family ties.
Understanding the Role Families Play
Family can play a variety of roles in addiction. In recovery, family members can provide support. Sustainable, long-term sobriety is possible, and having the support of loved ones can be invaluable.
However, during active addiction, there are a number of ways families can help or hurt those struggling with addiction:
- The enabler or caregiver may be providing excuses for a person struggling with addiction. Family members may try to shield their loved one from the negative consequences of their use, encouraging them indirectly to continue to use.
- Some people avoid the situation altogether. They may be in denial that their loved one is in need of help. Sometimes they may not have the emotional ability to deal with what is happening.
- Some family members use humor to try to take the pressure off of the situation. This deflects from the real problem and limits their loved one’s ability to get help.
- Others see no problem with their family member’s substance use issues and believe addiction is a choice.
- Many people are supportive, but not always fully. They may say they will help, but they are not there for the tough moments.
In many situations, each member of the family plays a role in active addition. As a direct result, each member needs to contribute to addiction recovery as well. That could include participating in addiction therapy.
How Does Family Therapy Help?
The role of family therapy in addiction treatment is complex. Every family has dealt with unique situations and conflicts. An experienced therapist can guide each session in order to help the whole family heal and grow. Some of the ways family therapy can help those who are struggling with addiction include:
- Dealing with past trauma – One core component of family therapy is recognizing and working through family trauma. Traumatic events unresolved within the family can contribute to the risk of relapse.
- Addressing disagreements – In some families, the pain of watching a loved one battle addiction leads to painful memories and instances of intense anger or frustration. Resolving these past tensions is a core component of addiction.
- Addressing blame – Some family members can blame others for substance use issues or other problems. Addressing and relieving blame is a critical component of recovery.
- Education – Many people misunderstand what addiction is. Many don’t recognize it as a true disease requiring ongoing support. In therapy, each member of the family learns about addiction, including how it occurs, why, and what recovery requires.
- Empowerment – Perhaps the best component of family therapy is gaining empowerment to know what to do when a loved one is at risk for using again. Family members learn to spot signs of stress or relapse.
Addiction treatment therapy strengthens family ties and helps those on the road to recovery. Each family member can learn how to support their loved ones in the most appropriate and effective way.
Find the Care You Need at Clearhaven Recovery
At Clearhaven Recovery, family therapy is just one of the therapies we offer as part of our treatment plans. Other services include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Group therapy programs
- Men’s rehab program
- Women’s rehab program
Family therapy is a key component of long-term drug and alcohol recovery. At Clearhaven Recovery, we offer an addiction treatment plan designed to support each individual’s needs and goals. Learn more about how we support families on the road to recovery by calling 833.970.2054 or contacting us online today.