Addiction is often known as the “family disease,” and for good reason – it affects the whole family, and the patterns and habits of addiction are often shared, even inherited, by multiple family members. To have a healthy recovery, we benefit greatly from having the support of our families. Their involvement means we can learn important coping skills and emotional resources together that can help the whole family become happier, healthier and more at peace. The patterns that contribute to addiction are often picked up in our early years, from the people we’re around most. Our caregivers teach us how to function in life, through their words, behaviors and beliefs. If they were self-destructive, even subconsciously, chances are we will be too. If they were overly critical, we might internalize this criticism to believe we’re not good enough. If we were emotionally neglected or abandoned, we may seek out the comfort and reassurance we didn’t receive through addictive substances, relationships and behaviors. When we are unlearning these patterns and working to develop new ones, it can be hugely beneficial for the entire family to be doing this work simultaneously. When we leave treatment and return home, we will be confronted by all of the family issues and pain of the past that being away gave us a respite from. These issues don’t go away on their own. They get resolved when we resolve them. Family issues are an interplay of the whole family’s dynamics. You’re not solely responsible for fixing them, nor could you possibly fix them alone. When a family is committed to doing the work of addressing addiction in the family as a whole, it is choosing to put its energy behind uplifting the family. Where we could choose denial or avoidance, facing our family issues head on is a powerful testament to the strength and unity of the family. Asking for family support can be hard. Asking for family involvement can be even harder. Many of us will be quick to want to believe we aren’t the problem, that our loved one’s addiction is their responsibility, that we can help but that we aren’t actually involved. The truth is our interpersonal dynamics and the pain in our relationships can be huge factors in the development of our addictions. Healing the way we operate with each other can make all the difference to our recovery.
We offer family therapy, workshops, online forums and educational materials to help your loved ones be involved with your recovery process. Call 1-888-986-7848 for more information.