Families can play an enormous role in supporting a loved one to seek help with addiction. When family stands alongside their loved one, they demonstrate their unconditional love for them and their ability to express hope for their journey. However, they sometimes get forgotten about in the midst of the loved one’s battle with addiction. They also need some support to learn how to cope with the loved one’s issues. The following are some helpful tips that can keep family members together long after a loved one has left the addiction behind for recovery.
Families often struggle under the weight of addiction because they don’t understand the nature of the disease process and how it impacts their loved ones. With each little bit of understanding comes an awareness of their loved one’s reality. They can stop blaming themselves as much as they blame the brain’s ability to be hijacked by drugs and alcohol or the body’s triggers and cravings. There are many nuances to addiction that are gained when learning about how it all works together to form this perfect storm. Education helps families escape blame, shame, and stigma around addiction. The more families get connected to others and to resources, the more they learn about the true nature of addiction and find hope.
The worst thing a family can do is sit back and isolate themselves from loved ones. Addiction is a close relative that can be stressful. It may persist for years, with long-term dysfunction making it hard for families to communicate. There’s a block of trust between people touched by addiction. There is help for families who reach out to peer groups, programs, or networks. These programs provide a safe space to engage with the journey of recovery with their loved ones and not hide in the shadows.
Staying closely connected to the loved one with addiction may feel difficult, but family therapy can highlight ways to navigate solutions to issues plaguing the family. The same family members who blame themselves may be enabling it to continue. Some members distance themselves from their loved ones due to past hurt or blame them for their circumstances. There are hope and healing from therapeutic support in a neutral space. It is one way to support the loved one but also find closeness again as a family.
It takes a long time for changes and patterns to shift away from disappointment to hope. Families might be ready to accept a loved one into their lives but that person may be grieving the journey. Manage expectations better by:
- Putting the focus on the work of recovery
- Understand the process and pitfalls exist
- Know that it is a lifetime journey but has seasons of ups and downs
Finding ways for each person to practice self-care is critical to success in recovery for everyone. Managing expectations is easier if everyone is able to take care of themselves on the journey. This means finding ways to process the experience. This might be art experiences, volunteering, photography, or playing an instrument. It may also be journaling, massage, or meditation, however, it serves that person’s best interests at that moment. The key is not to let the addiction take over their lives, either. The best is yet to come. Families can do a lot to find support and help for the journey. It is not just about helping their loved one, but about finding a way to journey together into the future of their loved one’s recovery.
Oceanfront can help you get rid of your stigma and negative feelings about including family in recovery. We are here to help you engage with your loved ones so everyone is on the journey together. We are located in beautiful Laguna Beach. Call us to find out how we can help you navigate addiction recovery: 888-981-4295