Part of the reason that addiction in families has such a huge effect is because family units are just that– units. They’re a group, a “system,” a collection of people who contribute to a whole, and treating addiction within a family needs to also involve all of them. Though the individuals within it all contribute and offer unique things, family as a concept is a cohesive entity, and understanding this is crucial to understand how addiction can be so detrimental to all its members.
The Division of Addiction in Families
It isn’t difficult to imagine how issues with substance abuse may divide families, but the extent to which it does so is typically much more intense and with a wider range of effect that some might imagine. Though the actions of a single person in general can influence the rest of the family, the experience of a person with an addiction has a much more powerful effect. “Active addiction destabilizes the home environment, disrupts family life and muddling relationships, and often compromises finances, as well as mental, emotional, and physical health.”
It’s hard for people to just walk away from their family in the same way that they might turn the other way about a coworker or acquaintance. Especially if you see the affected individual every day, it becomes impossible to overlook after not very much time. Younger members of the family may feel plagued by questions that arise about what’s happening to siblings or parents, and parents whose children might be suffering could struggle with feelings of responsibility.
Addiction in families often “destabilizes” the environment and makes things more turbulent for everyone involved. This is why there are options specialized for people in these situations who want to work alongside family members to overcome their own, or another’s, addiction. The longer the unit goes without seeking some kind of help, the more serious, influential, and detrimental the effects can be. Treating addiction “involves becoming consciously aware of the specific ways in which addiction affects families and relationships and learning a new set of skills that must be practiced on an ongoing basis.” It may be difficult for some to admit that there is a problem that affects them as well as the addicted individual, but this is a crucial piece of recovery for all involved.
Family members may feel as though help and change are beyond their control, but, really, its beliefs like this that are responsible for the largest difficulties when treating addiction in families. Real progress begins with “conscious awareness and non-judgmental acceptance” so that there is an honest understanding of each person’s ability to affect only their own thoughts and actions so that there is no unnecessary blame. Following family therapy or other forms of treating addiction the person who is struggling will return to “normal” life, which is why it’s crucial for the family unit to be strong, cohesive, and supportive. It’s difficult for that to be the case if those other people haven’t worked through the recovery process at least in part alongside their child, sibling, or parent.
The fulfillment of rehabilitation means a “healthy, meaningful” lifestyle and situation, and if they’re returning home, or even if they didn’t live with family members, they’ll still likely have contact with those people. In order to make the smoothest transition from substance abuse through to sobriety, a solid support network is needed, and this often includes family. Addiction in families can be an incredible struggle, one that brings anger, grief, and other difficulties, but recovery is often made easier with the support and understanding of these same people. If you or one of your family members is struggling with addiction and you would like to see if family therapy is right for you, get in touch with The Bergand Group. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center, and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues.
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About The Bergand Group:
At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]