Family Addiction Therapy
Across the United States, there are an estimated 21 million people who are currently dealing with a substance use disorder. Each and every one of those 21 million people are connected to others, usually through their family. When a person is caught in the throes of addiction, his or her family members are affected. Family addiction therapy can create a space for healing at a very difficult time.
Addiction is often referred to as a family disease. When the family becomes affected, they may fall into behavioral patterns that support the disease. This can ultimately lead to an unfortunate breakdown of the family.
How Does Addiction Impact Families?
Whether a person is injecting meth or drinking in excess, the impacts that their disease has on their families is the same. The insidiousness of addiction can drive families apart within a short period of time. As the addict or alcoholic continues with his or her substance abuse, family members also begin to fall into family roles that they may not recognize. These roles are broken down as follows:
- The hero — Seeing that the family is dysfunctional because of the presence of addiction, the hero in the family is a member who works to stop the dysfunction. This person is usually highly responsible and self-sufficient.
- The scapegoat — The scapegoat is typically a family member who continually gets into trouble. This person often detracts what is going on with the addict in the family.
- The mascot — Similar to a class clown, the mascot is a family member who utilizes humor to mask challenging times. They attempt to reduce the impact that addiction has on the family.
- The caretaker — The caretaker is often called the enabler or the codependent. This family member does things that encourage the addict’s use. For example, providing an addicted loved one with money to buy drugs. The caretaker is also usually codependent on the addict. Parents and spouses typically assume this role.
- The lost child — For families with children, the lost child is just that — a child who gets lost in the muddled mess that is addiction. He or she may withdraw from others and keep to him/herself.
- The addict — The addict is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. He or she is the catalyst for the dysfunction in the family
The entire family unit changes when a family member is dealing with substance use disorder. The family does not need to continue to suffer. Instead, there are resources like family addiction therapy that can help strengthen the family — regardless of if the addict is active in his or her addiction or not.
What is Family Addiction Therapy?
It can seem backward to participate in therapy when you are not the one who is experiencing a substance use disorder, but there is nothing more beneficial that you can do but get help. A family program is not like traditional therapy. Some areas of focus in family addiction therapy include the following:
- Getting everyone involved — Many families have little to no desire participating in family therapy. Developing motivation in family members to participate in family therapy sessions is essential. In addition, it is important that the family remains dedicated to fostering the wellbeing of their loved ones.
- Improving communication — It is common for families to struggle with communication, especially when addiction is occurring. It is easy to misread the behaviors of others, take something the wrong way, or feel resentful about something that was said. A family program can help members become more understanding of one another. It will also provide them with the skills needed to decrease arguing, improve patience, and truly hear what each other is saying.
- Changing toxic behaviors — When a family member is an addict or an alcoholic, the behaviors of everyone around him or her can change for the worse. A family therapist can help you and your family identify negative behaviors and replace them with positive ones.
During family therapy, you and your family might also work on setting new family rules, learning how to place boundaries, and addressing personal issues that are standing in the way of healthy functioning. Hopefully, the addict or alcoholic in your family will participate in these sessions with you. If he or she doesn’t, it is still important to attend and better yourselves.
Does Your Family Need Help?
If you and your family are struggling because of a family member’s addiction and looking to get involved in family therapy, reach out to A Forever Recovery right now. We understand the challenges that you are facing. We are here to say that we can help. Our center is conveniently located in Battle Creek, Michigan.