Addiction is a family disease. It can damage and destroy even the strongest of families.
Recovery is equally powerful. It transforms families, providing hope and healing that can repair and strengthen even the most broken of family ties.
Too often family members live in constant hurt, fear and desperation as they watch a loved one destroy themselves in their disease. Still, there is hope for family members to help their loved ones reclaim their life through treatment and recovery.
Be proactive in helping your loved one while maintaining the necessary boundaries:
Educating yourself on the complex disease of addiction and understanding your role in the treatment program can increase the odds for a successful recovery. When it comes to understanding addiction, many family members still have dangerously misinformed perceptions and fears about loved ones suffering with Substance Use Disorder (SUD). This can intensify all of the toxic emotions and reactions that addiction causes. Family participation and support is essential during a loved one’s treatment and even more important to sustain long-term recovery. Stigma not only puts up barriers for loved ones to be successful in treatment and recovery, it prevents families from healing and from being successful partners in their own recovery. Seek out expert information and construct a list of reliable resources on addiction, treatment and recovery. Dive into public health studies, community awareness coalitions, policy, news coverage, medical research and personal testimonies.
Rather than harming your own mental health with unyielding stress and anxiety, speak up and seek help. Share your concerns with your loved one. Find a treatment center that would be a good fit for him/her and learn about the process and what to expect. Use the information to help make your case for treatment. Most importantly offer your support to help them during and after treatment. The family member will have excuses and express denial or anger. Be prepared with specific examples of behavior that has resulted from their substance abuse. These conversations may take place several times until the loved one agrees to seek help. Be patient with your support.
Treatment and family support are essential for successful recovery from SUD. Once the disease manifests, powerful negative feelings drive the addiction. These feelings typically include shame, guilt and worthlessness. It is important to understand that when your loved one is living in their addiction, they have almost no self-worth. Expressing your love and care for them while also pressing your case for treatment is essential. You do not have to wait for your family member to hit rock bottom. You can intervene now. Either way, they most likely will not seek treatment without your help.
Once your member completes treatment, the recovery process truly begins. Long-term recovery is a lifelong journey for your loved one and the family as a whole. Remain energetic in your support of their recovery plans, which should include continuing care, sober living, a 12-Step program such as A.A. and related recovery activities. Taking an active role in the treatment process and creating a nurturing environment for your loved one when they return home can help speed recovery and reduce the risk of relapse.
Practice Self Care
Actively engaging in supportive resources and practicing self-care can empower family members to rebuild and renew healthy, loving and supportive relationships with loved ones in recovery. The work loved ones put in to achieve and maintain recovery requires hope, support, ongoing engagement and renewal. Family members, for their own well-being, must also be willing to put in the work to help overcome the pain and broken trust that addiction causes. To help ensure the family unit as a whole receives the care needed to be successful; Valley Hope offers a variety of services for family members at our residential and outpatient treatment facilities.
Even when a loved one finds hope and health, family members can trigger a loved one’s relapse by exhibiting past fears, losing patience with the ongoing treatment, recovery and 12-Step process, and even applying an abundance of pressure and suspicion. Moreover, when a loved one is active in their addiction, family members can unknowingly hurt when trying to help. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) recommends avoiding the following common behaviors that can be counterproductive to a loved one’s successful treatment and recovery:
- Don’t Preach: Do not lecture, threaten, bribe, preach or moralize.
- Don’t Be a Martyr: Avoid emotional appeals that may only increase feelings of guilt and the compulsion to drink or use other drugs.
- Don’t Cover: Covering up, lying or making excuses for your loved one enables their behavior.
- Don’t Make It Easy: Taking over their responsibilities protects them from the consequences of their behavior.
- Don’t Argue When Using: Arguing with the person when they are using alcohol or drugs is not helpful; at that point they can’t have a rational conversation.
- Don’t Feel Guilty: You are not responsible for their behavior, it’s not your fault.
- Don’t Join Them: Don’t try to keep up with them by drinking or using yourself.
At Valley Hope, we have witnessed the devastating toll addiction takes on families. However, we firmly believe that by embracing patients with compassion, treating them with proven therapies and empowering them with the tools to respect themselves, they can learn to manage their illness and reclaim their lives.
Our counselors will work with you and your family member to develop the most appropriate treatment for his or her needs. We offer a continuum of care including residential or outpatient treatment and online access to therapy. We also offer special services for family members including counseling, education and group therapy.
If your family member is reluctant to seek treatment, we also offer tours of our facilities that can often help ease much of the anxiety and misperceptions of what entering treatment really looks and feels like. Simply call any of our 17 facilities to schedule a tour.
A life full of hope and health is possible for you, your family and your loved one. It is not only possible but also probable with a strong support system, a tailored treatment program and smart recovery plan. Let Valley Hope help make it happen.
To learn more, call us anytime at 1-800-544-5101. We are here for you and your loved one 24/7.