When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, every member of the family suffers the consequences. At the same time, involvement of family members in the recovery process can have a direct impact on the success of the treatment program –for both the addict and other family members. If you are unsure how you can help a loved one make it through the treatment and recovery process, we have three reasons your involvement is essential to that process.
Understand the Disease of Addiction
Addiction is not always easily understood by those closest to the addict. Blame, anger and resentment can get in the way of seeing the addiction in a realistic way. A desire to “fix” the addict often overrides other issues that may be contributing to the addictive tendencies.
However, family dynamics often contribute to the addiction problem. Those relationship issues must be addressed in order to provide a positive environment for the recovery process. Education allows family members to understand the disease of addiction so they can provide the support necessary for recovery success.
Say Goodbye to Enabling
Family members of addicts commonly enable the addiction by removing consequences the addict would ordinarily face from using. For example, family members might cover up for an addict who is too hung over to go to work or even finish work projects for him to help him keep his job. On the surface, enabling may seem like a way to support the addict but instead, it simply prolongs the addict’s desire to seek treatment in many cases.
When family members learn how to stop enabling the addiction, the addict is forced to take responsibility for his own actions. This can be a significant component of the recovery process for both the addict and family members.
Provide Support to Prevent Relapse
The addiction recovery process is never truly over. Recovering addicts, as well as their family members, must remain vigilant to the possibility of a relapse. Providing a safe environment and seeking immediate help if a relapse appears imminent are ways family members can proactively keep their loved one on the road to recovery. In addition, providing support for other life decisions involving work or relationships can help to keep the addict on track and prevent a relapse.
The family is an important part of the recovery process for any addict. Once you understand your integral part in the process, you can proactively support your loved one through the treatment and recovery process.