For families of addicts, confronting addiction is one of the most difficult steps in seeking substance abuse treatment. Usually, addiction builds a destructive cycle of insanity, to the point that daily family involvement can actually enable the addicted individual to continue their addictive behaviors. Frequently, family members do not know how to bring up the issue of addiction, or treatment, and often choose to ignore the problem, for fear of pushing their loved one away.
While these are legitimate concerns, families need to understand that most who complete substance abuse treatment, and are able to sustain recovery, are able to do so because of the support of the family. This is true in all phases of the recovery.
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Family Involvement in Recovery is Crucial
Addiction is often considered a family disease. While in treatment for addiction, the primary focus is on the addict. But, his behavior is a symptom of deeper issues, which can originate in the family of origin. There could be a history of trauma, or a history of substance abuse in the family. Moreover, many family members struggle with enabling and codependency issues, which can impair the recovery process. Therefore, it is crucial that those underlying issues, albeit in the family, are addressed.
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Ways Family Can Be Involved in the Recovery Process
The family unit can serve a pivotal role in the recovery process. For example, family members can be a sounding board for the addict. Additionally, the family can choose to plan and execute an intervention with help from professionals, who specialize in interventions. The family can play several roles in the recovery process. He may gather information, plan and execute the intervention, and assist in selecting a treatment center.
Most treatment facilities offer a comprehensive family program, in which family members can participate in the recovery process. Residential centers have regular visitation times, which allows families to be with their loved ones. Also, family programs are typically created with the vision of engaging family members in educational programs, which supports a safe and supportive environment after their loved one returns from treatment.
Family and friends of patients are highly encouraged to attend Al-Anon, Families Anonymous, or Nar-Anon meetings. These twelve-step programs hold meetings all around the world, which are dedicated to providing support to family and friends of addicted individuals. These programs are essential, as they support friends and family who are coping with addiction.
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The Family Program at PBI
The Palm Beach Institute provides support for families of addicts, through an Addiction Recovery Support family program that has been specifically designed by the Palm Beach Institute staff. The program is three days and is offered monthly. While engaging in this program, families learn healthy and effective ways to support one another. Activities include:
- Role playing and group discussion
- Informative lectures on how to break the addiction cycle
- Understanding the role of family dynamics in the addiction process
- Methods of effective family communication