Substance abuse is traditionally thought of as a family disease. Like any other disease that besets a family member, substance abuse affects the daily lives of other people in a household as well, even those who abstain from all substances. Millions of families ever year find themselves embroiled in a tragic scenario whereby their loved one suffers from a substance abuse difficulty. Whether it’s opiate addiction or alcoholism, it takes a devastating toll on family mental and sometimes even physical health. It’s natural, then, to wonder if there are any substance abuse classes for the family members of addicts.
If your loved one is diving deeper into the world of substance abuse and experiencing tremendous loss – of health, of work, of school, and of friendships – then the great news right now is that there is absolutely help for family members of addicts. These programs vary by the organization that schedules and defines them, but they exist in almost every inpatient and outpatient rehab.
Why Family Members Need Help
Addicts and alcoholics suffer tremendously. Their disease is one of loss. They often lose:
- Financial security
- Mental wellness
- Friendships and relationships
Watching a loved one lose their life little by little will obviously take a grim toll on the person that loves them. When and if a family member gets help for their substance abuse disorder, the family will want to take an active part in recovery and lend a hand, but they also need to recover themselves.
Common Family Programs
While your loved one recovers from their addiction, you can support them, but you also need to begin your own recovery. During their time in addiction, they may have been violent toward you, stolen from you, or simply not been there at all. This will leave scars on your heart just like they have scars on their own heart for having done things they did in active addiction. To heal as a family unit is a beautiful thing.
Family programs that introduce members to the basics of recovery – both their own and their loved one’s – are an invaluable part of recovering from an active addiction in the house. Anyone that loves the addict or alcoholic will want to ask inpatient and outpatient programs about any type of ongoing treatment for family members. These programs will address all facets of addiction, from the addict’s own motives and recovery to the emotions and actions a family needs to take to get better.
Boundaries in Recovery
Just as an addiction violates the boundaries of human behavior and actions, recovery should take the opposite approach. Family members need to have a clear set of boundaries for what they should and should not do during their loved one’s recovery, and they need to be able make sure that boundaries are followed by the patient as well. For example, many families might believe that financial help during recovery is something they aren’t comfortable providing, but they want a strong emotional bond that allows them to be there for the patient’s emotional needs. This makes sense to some families. Counselors and other mental health professionals will help families establish clear boundaries and then stick to them as recovery progresses.
Setting healthy boundaries is only one part of the family’s total recovery from active drug addiction. There will be many more exercises and principles that allow families to heal together and build healthy relationships going forward, both with each other and with the person who is recovering from an active addiction. Communication will be essential during this early stage of recovery. In order to set healthy boundaries and rebuild relationships, all family members need to participate in setting those boundaries and doing their part to make things better. Above all, though, it’s the addict themselves who will need to stick to their program and keep things moving forward. All family members can do is participate in these family mental health programs, support their loved one, and stick to their part in the recovery.
If you are a family member of someone who is in recovery, we can help. You can always call now at (440) 253-9915. The team here will be happy to assist you in finding a family program that helps you recover from a loved one’s addiction. These programs are designed to help you rebuild your own life as your loved one rebuilds theirs.