Entering treatment can be overwhelming for both individuals and their families. Many individuals can be reluctant to have their families involved in treatment. They may feel shame or embarrassment at even being in treatment in the first place. They make feel like their family does not understand them. Their family may feel like their loved one has become a stranger. Involving family in addiction treatment can help minimize the shame and anxiety, and help reconnect the family system. While families may initially feel reluctant to become involved in their loved one’s treatment, there can be a number of benefits for not only patients, but family members as well to take part in treatment.
The Benefits of Family Involvement In Addiction Treatment
Finding Your Own Community
Getting involved in support groups such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon, as well as attending treatment center-sponsored family programming can not only help you understand your loved one’s addiction, but certain issues of your own that need healing. This can also include family members seeking professionals for their own needs, and participating in family therapy when appropriate.
Learning Healthy Communication
Addiction is often referred to as a “disease of connection.” Through learning healthy communication methods, some of this connection can be rebuilt. Often by the time an individual enters treatment, there is little to no productive communication with loved ones. Addiction cannot thrive in systems with healthy communication, and learning better ways to interact through support groups or family programming can be a great place to start.
Self-Care Is For Everyone
When a loved one is suffering from addiction, everyone suffers. Just as a person with addiction often abandons self-care as they become more obsessed with their addictive behaviors, so too can loved ones abandon taking care of themselves as they focus more and more on their loved one. Individuals in treatment learn how to care for themselves; similarly, it is important for family members and loved ones to learn how to take care of themselves as well.
Learning to Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries is a form of self-care. Boundaries are not about changing the behavior of the person with addiction, but instead teaches others how you expect to be treated. We can also talk about how family treatment can provide education about addiction as a disease and how it can help facilitate an understanding of patterns and behaviors. Setting clear, realistic, and enforceable boundaries clarifies expectations for everyone, and can help to provide structure where there may be none otherwise. Setting boundaries can be one of the most difficult yet important tasks for family members to do. For this reason, setting and maintaining boundaries often requires support from professionals.
Family Systems Programming in Virginia
Research shows that individuals who have their family members or loved ones involved in treatment are more likely to achieve successful long-term recovery. At Encore Outpatient Services, we value the family’s involvement in the treatment planning process and encourage families to stay involved every step of the way.