When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it affects the entire family. Just as the addict needs counseling and support to combat their disease, the family needs a place to turn as well. That’s where family education and therapy can be highly beneficial.
These programs help families address addiction and begin a process of healing and recovery. The idea behind family education is that by teaching individuals about addiction, they can form the type of support network that their loved one needs to succeed at recovery.
How Addiction Affects Families
There are many ways that addiction impacts the family unit. Some of the most common are:
- Financial troubles
- Relationship troubles
- Lying or stealing
- Physical violence
- Neglect or abandonment
- Legal troubles
Why Family Education Makes A Difference
Addiction strips away a person, which is why family members may no longer recognize their loved one. A mother may never think that her son would steal from her. A husband may never believe that his wife could neglect their children. But when someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it’s the addiction that takes over the mind.
Addiction is a disease, but it’s a treatable one. Through family education, individuals can learn how their behaviors and attitudes may have inadvertently influenced the addiction and how they can stop the cycle of abuse. Unfortunately, many families allow the addiction to progress because they think they are protecting their loved one.
Additionally, family therapy sessions give the family a chance to talk about things in a safe, neutral setting. A counselor can guide the family toward meaningful discussions that help them constructively work through different issues.
Topics Discussed In Family Therapy
Some of the topics discussed in family education and therapy are:
- Progression of addiction
- How families are impacted by the disease
- Introduction to the 12 steps
- How to build strong support systems
- Practicing healthy coping skills
- Enabling addiction vs supporting recovery
- Signs of relapse
- Healthy communication
- Setting and establishing boundaries
- Transitioning from treatment to early recovery
When choosing a treatment center for your loved one, make sure that they offer some type of family enrichment or family therapy program. While family participation is not mandated in most treatment programs, it is strongly encouraged to successfully deal with the stress and trauma caused by the addiction.
The River Source is a holistic treatment center that heals the mind, body and spirit. We offer a safe, supportive environment for those with substance abuse problems. Included in our treatment is family education and therapy that is designed to help families start over.