Addiction Recovery From a Family Perspective
Posted on 09/20/18: Addiction Recovery
Not only is addiction genetic and hereditary, it is a disease that affects the entire family. Standing back and watching the life of a loved one spiral downward as a result of drug addiction can be a gut-wrenching experience. You’re on the outside looking in, and despite all of your efforts, nothing you do or say seems to help. While the addict suffers a great battle with firsthand substance abuse, you (as a family member, loved one, or close friend) experience the situation from a different perspective. Although you aren’t experiencing addiction yourself, you’re watching its repercussions unfold before your very eyes. Understanding the effects of an addiction, for everyone involved, can serve as a huge motivating component for addicts during the recovery process.
Addicts don’t want to hurt themselves or anyone around them. Substance dependencies are all-encompassing, and take precedence to anything and everything in a person’s life. It’s just as hard for an addict to understand the toll their habits take on those around them as it is for those around them to understand why they keep plummeting down such a destructive path. Addictions change people, and this alteration has the power to create waves across an entire family dynamic: when someone you know and love turns into a person that you no longer recognize, the realization can be heartbreaking.
How didn’t I catch this before? How did I not see the signs? Could I have stopped this? Should I have done anything differently? Why? As a loved one, these are all questions you may find yourself asking when someone close to you comes clean about a substance abuse problem. Yes, the recovery process is a period of positive change. But the emotional, physical, financial and spiritual issues brought on by addiction are sometimes taken on by the families of those recovering. This blog will serve as a guide for families being impacted by an addicted loved one, and how both parties can help each other cope with the challenges of recovery.
Addictions can be as confusing as they are obvious. For example: the signs are clear that someone you love has a substance abuse problem. But they’ve still managed to keep a good job, they have a family of their own, and they seem to be maintaining a normal social life.
Effective communication is essential when dealing with an addict. Those suffering from a drug addiction are well aware of their own dependency, and are likely experiencing emotions such as shame, guilt, and embarrassment, even if they don’t make these feelings obvious to you. Even if a person is functioning at a seemingly normal level, the signs and symptoms of addiction don’t lie and it’s important for support systems to acknowledge the idea that the situation could be much more grave than it appears.
The shock of discovering that someone close to you has an addiction can be overwhelming. You’re angry, you’re sad, you’re confused, and these emotions can cause behaviors to spike in ways they normally wouldn’t. When interacting with the addict during recovery, consider:
1. Predictable Behavior
Addicts themselves are generally impulsive and unpredictable as far as their actions go. If your interactions with them are consistent, positive, calm, and understanding, they will likely pick up your reliability and implement the same behaviors in their own recovery. From an addict’s perspective, seeing the consistency in the behavior of others can be an eye-opening experience because they know how challenging it is to maintain a routine of any sort.
2. Unconditional Love and Support
Recovery is a period of great change for everyone involved. The process will take you through a roller coaster of ups and downs, progress and setbacks, good days and bad days. This goes for both families and users. It is just important for addicts to understand the emotional battle that their family is going through during this time: although they aren’t suffering from an addiction themselves, your actions have an effect on others and it’s important to remember the effort they’re making to show you unconditional support and love throughout this process, despite its unpredictability.
Addicts sometimes find themselves spending beyond their means in order to fuel their dependency. This means that others will have to take on any remaining financial responsibilities that the addict can’t afford, which generally end up being the people closest to them. As supportive as families should be, setting boundaries is an important factor in helping your family unit heal. Giving in to these debts will only make the addict believe that the consequences of their dependence can be managed by others.
Addicts during recovery should also consider the impact their habits have had on their family, and understand that their sobriety will create positive change for people other than themselves. This realization is not meant to bring about negative feelings: rather, the addict is taking responsibility for their actions and making active lifestyle changes to better the situation of everyone around them.
As any addict going through recovery knows, self-care and tending to your own needs is of utmost importance during such a vulnerable time. But this care is just as important for the families that are dealing with addiction, and it is imperative we highlight the significance of putting yourself first.
Addicts should understand that in order to uplift them, their support system needs to be stable. This means that families and loved ones should take time for themselves where they tend to their own wants and needs. Mental clarity is one of the most important aspects of maintaining sobriety: if the people supporting you don’t have it, how could they possibly be a positive force during your own recovery?
Sober Living of Arizona provides full inpatient treatment and medical detox to all of those that need it. We also offer family therapy services that include all of those involved in a loved one’s addiction. This service has proven to be beneficial to many, and we highly suggest reaching out sooner than later. Call us today to speak one-on-one with a trained specialist.
Content for Sober Living Arizona by Cohn Media, LLC. Passionate and creative writing and broadcasting, covering the following industries: addiction rehab, health care, entertainment and technology. Advocate of clear communication, positivity and humanity at its best. www.cohn.media
If you or someone you know needs help with addiction, contact Sober Living of AZ now to get the help you need. Sober Living offers an acclaimed recovery environment that merges upscale and luxury accommodations with affordability, clinical expertise and an unwavering commitment to patient care and aftercare. Call us now at 602-737-2458.