In the recovery process, the role of the family in that process is essential for their loved one who is struggling with addiction. The family is crucial in regards to support and can help their loved one who is in recovery support treatment goals, promote a recovery lifestyle, and can recognize and identify the warning signs of relapse. However, family involvement in the recovery process can be delicate and difficult. Oftentimes family members may not know how to approach their loved one who is struggling with substance abuse issues in regards to treatment.
Not only do family members have reluctance in talking about addiction and therapy, but they may push the issues to the side or deny there are addiction issues. The family of the addicted loved one may be enabling the behavior to continue, whether explicitly or on a more subtle level. While the family unit may have legitimate concerns in regards to approaching their loved one about treatment and the denial and confrontation that would arise, they also need to realize those who seek treatment do so because of the positive, gentle and supportive nature of the family as a whole.
Families, much like the one struggling with substance abuse, undergoes stress on multiple levels, whether is it physical, emotional, social or spiritual. Just as the recovering individual needs support, families also need support in order to minimize stress and enable the recovery process to move forward. It is important to note that family can take on numerous forms and can encompass anyone who is supportive of the person’s recovery process. This can be the immediate family, extended family (relatives, cousins, etc.), friends, colleagues or other supportive people.
Families need to decide whether to approach the addict as a collective to address concerns regarding the loved one’s substance abuse or they may seek the help of a trained counselor that is trained to work with those populations. Whatever option is chosen, the fact there is an imbalance in understanding and communication needs to be identified and understood. While in treatment, the family’s role is to be a pillar of support as the recovering person is undergoing treatment, whether in an inpatient or outpatient setting. While an impatient setting may be more rigid in the programming and treatment process that takes place in house, the family can be a presence in counseling sessions and designated family times.
In removing the addicted person from the previous toxic environment, it can give both patient and the patient’s family the necessary space to work through the issues, concerns, and maladaptive patterns of behavior that lead to and compounded the addiction. Also, both patient and the patient’s family can attend meetings such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon which are free programs that provides group support. Ultimately, drug and alcohol addiction as a whole need to be looked as a family issue and the family as a whole needs to be given knowledge, acknowledgment and support.