If you think about it for a minute, it’s probably easy to see that family is so important as an influence on drug and/or alcohol misuse and recovery. The impact can be positive or negative, healthy or harmful. There may be nothing more powerful than family in determining whether someone starts, continues, or stops abusing drugs and alcohol.
Our first learning happens at home. We watch and we imitate our family members. If they smoke, I’m more likely to smoke. If they drink, I’m more likely to try it. You get the picture – we all model what we see in others, especially those closest to us. The family doesn’t cause anything but sometimes we get the message that drugs and alcohol are tools to manage our feelings. Just as we can take unhelpful messages from our family, we can also get powerful help from them.
I was lucky when I was ready to quit. I had a family member role model who had strong, long-term sobriety. I knew where to go to ask for help. In my case, recovery started in my family. I understand now how fortunate I am for that gift.
Substance abuse affects the entire family (and usually friends, co-workers and others). It makes sense that the family can benefit from getting help as a unit. According to a treatment protocol from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), noted in an article in Treatment Magazine family “can be a source of help to the treatment process, but they also must manage the consequences of the IP’s (identified patient’s) addictive behavior. Individual family members are concerned about the IP’s substance abuse, but they also have their own goals and issues. Providing services to the whole family can improve treatment effectiveness.” Check out the article on Family Systems Therapy here: https://treatmentmagazine.com/family-systems-therapy-addiction-recovery/
The bottom line? Real recovery is when the whole family gets better.
Questions? Let’s talk.