Family Support During Recovery

Addiction does not just affect the person who is in recovery. This affliction can be thought of as a family disease, because it has a direct impact on everyone in the patient's inner circle. This is just one of the many reasons why family support during recovery is so important for everyone involved.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, recovery is a process during which people become healthier, live more focused lives and attempt to reach their full potential.1 This is not accomplished without four major aspects that lend support during recovery:

  • Overcoming addiction by making healthier choices
  • Having a safe and sound home to live in
  • Having a purpose in life, such as school, work, volunteerism, etc.
  • Being surrounded by supportive social networks that include family and friends

Family Participation During Therapy

While a patient is undergoing rehab and recovery for addiction, therapeutic behavioral counseling sessions teach ways to cope with situations involving drug availability, learning alternative behaviors and becoming motivated to abstain from drugs or alcohol.2 These types of therapy can include cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing and motivational incentives.

One other aspect of therapy during recovery is family therapy. When a family member has been engaging in substance abuse, parents or siblings may take on certain roles, often unconsciously, such as becoming an enabler or an overachiever, so they can cope with the situation. Family therapy exists to help patients and their family members repair relationships that may have been damaged due to the addiction. This type of therapy utilizes the patient's family in a number of different ways.

What Happens During Family Therapy?

Much of what occurs in family therapy is in the form of education and having a dialogue that is honest and can help heal wounds. Family members learn what they can do to help support their loved one and what they may be doing that can actually be harmful. They learn ways to interact with one another that will respect the needs and dignity of all. The family will also be educated about addiction development and the ways treatment and support can help.

Support and Communication Are Key

Family support during recovery provides a safe harbor from the temptations of substance abuse. Do not drink, use drugs or keep substances in the home that may tempt someone to relapse.

Emotional support is of the utmost importance during recovery. Give your loved one the encouragement needed to stay sober and overcome cravings. In therapy, families will learn how to provide emotional support to alleviate a patient's feelings of being alone in this disease.

During therapy, families learn key communication skills that will re-instill trust and warmth into a relationship that may be under a great strain. Certain ways of communicating will be practiced, such as collecting your thoughts before speaking, using "I" statements and conversing only in relaxed atmospheres.

Family support during recovery is necessary to get patients through the tough days ahead and to help heal the wounds of addiction.


References

  1. https://www.samhsa.gov/recovery
  2. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction
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