How Family Fits Into the Holistic Rehabilitation Approach

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Battling addiction of any kind is inarguably one of the most difficult circumstances someone can find himself in. Whether it is “hard drugs” or alcohol or even something else, the addictive powers of the substance can often seem impossible to break at times. Various drugs have been created with the intent of helping individuals wean themselves off of substances, and these drugs may come in the form of lotions, patches, or pills.

However, many times even these products alone are still not powerful enough to completely counter the pull of addictive substances, and it is because of this that formal rehabilitation programs exist. While traditional rehabilitation programs typically disconnect individuals from their home environments and from the people within those environments (at least temporarily), holistic rehabilitation programs strongly believe in the importance of incorporating all areas of life—including family members—into the rehabilitation process. Because of this, family members play an irreplaceable role in holistic rehabilitation programs.

An addiction is never a problem that only affects the addicted person. Instead, since that person is probably apart of a wider social circle of family members and friends, an addiction actually deeply affects an entire group of people. Particularly speaking, family members are typically those who deal the most with the ups and downs of the rehabilitation process. This is because they are usually those who have seen the addicted party change from the time prior to becoming addicted, to during the addiction, to the recovery and rehabilitation process. These family members deeply love their fellow member, but enduring the pain of watching a loved one during this painful process can be extremely difficult, even though family members are not the ones directly experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Holistic rehabilitation programs should encompass all areas of the whole man—body, mind, and spirit—and it is important for family members to carefully consider their own roles in how to strengthen and encourage addicts within each of these areas as well.

Body: The body is the one area that both traditional and holistic rehabilitation programs focus on addressing. This is for the obvious reason that addictions often most noticeably affect physical functioning. While the physical problems that plague an addict are usually only affecting him/her, family members can be very encouraging by physically staying with them through the pain. Alternatively, family members can also be essential in helping suffering addicts to focus their attention on other areas that would be more beneficial for them to put their physical energy into. For instance, vigorous physical exercise can be beneficial for distracting from other addictive cravings for some people, and having family members who are willing to go and encourage those in rehab can certainly help make then entire process smoother.

Mind: The mind of an addict battles addiction in a painful war that only former addicts themselves can fully recognize. However, this struggle does not need to be a solo struggle. Family members can speak to the mind of the struggling addict during a holistic rehabilitation program; this might mean having conversations with them to remind them of their hopes and dreams, speaking to them about why they should continue to complete the program, or even just speaking motivational words to them. Again, just because the mind of the addict is only fully felt by that addict himself (or herself) does not mean that the healing process of the mind during rehabilitation only has to be fought by them alone.

Spirit: Finally, family support is essential for holistic rehabilitation programs when focusing on the spiritual realm. Even though spiritual experiences are largely personal moments, there is undeniably an important sense of encouragement that can overwhelm individuals when these experiences are shared with their family and other loved ones. Being united in spirit against the powers of addiction can bring much healing to both family members and former addicts alike.