By Heather Nolan, LMSW, Lead Young Adult Male Counselor at Caron Texas
When a loved one suffers from an addiction, the entire family faces hardship:
- Every family member is affected by the dysfunction that’s occurring within the home and every family member suffers.
- Family members often experience many of the same symptoms as the addict: They stop socializing. They drop out of activities. They miss work. They no longer attend their places of worship.
It is important to know that even in the face of this hardship, there is hope, there is help, and there is a way for family members to recover and repair their relationship with their loved one:
- The addict willingly, or unwillingly, gets into a reputable, proven treatment facility with a program specialized to meet his/her needs, and that every family member also will seek treatment.
- Family members need to understand the nature of the disease of addiction and to be aware of the process of recovery. While being supportive, they need to hold their loved one accountable for his/her actions. They need to deal with the trauma and anger they’ve experienced and work to get their lives back.
- We encourage families to find a treatment center that has a Family Education Program and attend family sessions. Learn more about ours here.
- Families need time to heal and sometimes it takes a very long time, but that’s okay. Following an initial, inpatient treatment period, we recommend patients do not return home, but move into longer-term treatment, followed perhaps by a Sober Living Program. This gives both the addict and the family time to deal with their own issues and move into the healing process.
- We encourage families to participate in a 12-Step program such as AL-ANON, or to seek other counseling, such as parent and family support groups.
Families can recover from addiction, and many have. But, they can’t do it on their own. An experienced treatment facility with excellent family and aftercare programs can help to assure healing and recovery for addicts and their family members. Here is one mother and son story about addiction, recovery, and healing.