Even if just one individual is suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it can affect the whole family. While addiction can feel incredibly isolating, each family member or individual living with someone suffering from addiction will feel the effects in their own way. Recovery from addiction is a complicated process, but an individual doesn’t have to go through it alone. Working to heal as a family can help achieve prolonged sobriety and maintain the life-changing practices needed to continue through a sober future.
Finding Your Family
For many, a family has been around for most of an individual’s formative years and shares a biological kinship. These families are highly influential in developing an individual’s personality, values, and ideas. They have watched a person grow over time and can be very attuned to a given individual’s specific needs and interests. All of these things are incredibly beneficial through the recovery process.
However, there is more than one way to create a family. Depending on each person’s situation, an individual may classify their roommates and best friends as their functioning family. In contrast, others may not have much contact with their biological parents and instead see their spouse as their family. Healing as a family is important, but exactly which people fulfill this crucial role can be flexible and include those individuals to whom one shares unconditional love.
Addressing the Familial Environment
Just as addiction doesn’t only affect a single person, addiction recovery is also a communal effort with the changes that an individual is making in their own lives affecting those around them. One change that may need to be made is one’s immediate living environment. There may be a number of stressors in one’s environment that can lead to difficulties in recovery that may not be readily apparent to the families supporting those in recovery. Innocuous trinkets from one’s time at “Margaritaville” or leaving the television on through commercials for “Bud Light” can make the safety of one’s own home feel compromised.
Healing as a family means addressing the environment in which all people live and understanding the unique ways it may influence one’s recovery path. Even individual rooms, if devoid of overt symbols of one’s past alcohol or drug use, may still hold connotations or bring up stressful memories. A basement room where one used to engage in drug activity with their friends can bring up these past habits, and it may be necessary to redecorate or repurpose some spaces to avoid these stressors.
Healing as a family can mean making these compromises and better understanding how all family members interact with their environment. It can open a discussion about what compromises can be made and how these changes may affect all members alike.
Learn About Addiction Together
Addiction is a disease that affects the brain in several ways. Engaging in recovery as a family can help illustrate how addiction takes more than willpower to overcome. Learning how substances interact with the neural pathways and dopamine receptors can help family members better understand the nature of urges and how addiction has no malicious intent but rather is a result of a complex disease that can affect decision-making.
Provide Safe Spaces for All Involved
Recovering as a family also provides a space for all family members to discuss how addiction has affected them safely. Just as it is essential for those overcoming an addiction to discuss their emotional state through the process, it is also crucial that supports have a medium n which to express the unique ways in which they have been affected by addiction. This conversation may be difficult, but it is critical to better inform how an effective recovery strategy that provides for all family members while creating a better sense of trust and understanding can be implemented.
Hold Each Other Accountable
These compromises are only effective if all members of the family are continuously participating. Reaching an agreement on adjusting an environment or new restrictions placed upon an individual to help them stay sober are profound parts of recovery. However, it is the responsibility of all family members to adhere to their own commitments through the recovery period. For those overcoming addiction, it can be regularly addressing duties inside the house and abiding by new living conditions. However, these responsibilities can also extend to other family members as they hold up an agreement to respect specific spaces, avoid certain practices that may bring up difficult memories or urges, or any other compromises made in the name of recovery.
Families healing together can support each other and help maintain a healthy environment, holding each other accountable for their agreements just as much as they empower each other to succeed.
Recovering from the trials of addiction is a family issue. It is essential to have an approach that can aid in understanding and overcoming addiction and address the unique ways in which addiction can affect people. At Avalon Malibu, we champion the idea that recovery as a family can lead to a great sense of success while building understanding, communication skills and creating safe spaces for relationships to mend and grow. Our family program can involve each of your family members to create a unique approach to your recovery. We also offer an array of other modalities to ensure that you have a way to address the family and continue to build on one’s individuality and coping skills along the way, including yoga, art therapy, music therapy, and more. For more information on our personal and family programs or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (844) 857-5992.