Introduction Family recovery
1- Introduction Family Recovery
Having described in the Family Disease section how addiction is a disease that affects the family as a whole, the Family Recovery section provides family members with information on how to effectively cope with and recover from the effects of addiction in their lives. Suggestions are also provided on how to motivate your addicted loved one get clean in a healthy way.
The Family Recovery section is divided into:
Though addiction is a recognized disease, those who have spent years with the fear and shame of living with an addict may resist calling it so. They believe that to go along with the disease concept is to absolve the addict of responsibility for all the problems his behavior has caused. But this is not the case. An addict is very much responsible for his disease and recovery from it. For family members, it is equally important they take responsibility and for acknowledging the impact of the disease of addiction on their lives.
Acceptance of addiction as a disease is the key to family recovery. When family members acknowledge they have not caused their loved one’s addiction, when they finally surrender and let go of trying to control or stop them from using drugs; then they can start the road towards recovery and a healthier way of life.
Family members tend to base their help on the belief that addiction is a behavioral issue and that they have the power to stop their loved ones addiction. Helping grounded in such belief can be harmful to the well-being of the addict and themselves. If family members want to help their loved one get clean, they need to understand addiction is a disease that requires its own approach towards recovery.
This test is designed to help family members see whether their behavior towards their addicted loved one is helping him face his disease, or making it easier for him to continue using drugs. If you answer yes to a few of these questions, you may be helping with the progression of his disease by preventing him to experience its consequences.
Many times family members’ attempts to help their addicted loved one actually helps them continue using drugs. This baffling phenomenon is called enabling, which takes many forms, all of which have the same effect – not allowing the addict to experience the consequences of his addiction which in turn leads to its progression and can even cause his death.
This page describes the common reasons why family members under the banner of “helping”, actually enable their addicted loved one. With this understanding you can question your motives as to why you act and behave in ways that not only are detrimental to your addicted loved one but also to your well-being and health.
Setting boundaries around your addicted loved one’s behaviors is one of the most important things that you can do for the health and safety of your family. Setting boundaries lets your addicted loved one know what is expected of him and which behavior is unacceptable. Setting boundaries is not about controlling but reducing the impact of addiction on your lives. When the addict realizes there are limits to his conduct and behavior, he is more likely to come out of denial and become willing to get clean.
Setting boundaries is a process that takes time and patience. For a boundary to work effectively, it must be clearly defined and established, whilst taking into account you are asking it from someone who is suffering from the disease of addiction. What follows are suggestions on the three-step process on drawing up effective boundaries that will help protect the well-being and safety of your family.
Emotional detachment is an important tool that ensures family members don’t become engulfed in the insanity of their loved one’s addiction. It is an important practice that helps them separates their feelings from the pain experienced by the addict. When family members practice emotional detachment they put themselves in a healthier position to better help the addict as well as benefiting from some serenity and freedom.
Talking with an addict is hard. In the grips of the disease of addiction, they will be alert to any threat to their drug use and they use all sorts of mechanisms to deny or justify their behavior, which makes it difficult for family members to talk to them. But family members are in a position where their manner of communication can encourage their addicted loved one to confront their disease and become willing to get clean. Here are some suggestions on how to build such constructive communications.
Addiction creates havoc in the lives of the addict and those closest to him. Though family members may believe their loved one is the only one who needs help rebuilding his life, the truth is that they too have been severely affected by the disease of addiction. Families need to recover in the same way that the addict does. They need to confront the self-defeating coping mechanisms they have adopted during the years and examine their ways of thinking and behavior. This is not an easy task, but it is possible with the help of 12 Step Family support groups. This page explains how these programs freely offer the tools and support needed in order to recover from the effects of addiction on your lives.
- Though Family Members section refers exclusively to addiction as it relates to substances, the information and suggestions provided can be useful for behavioral addictions.
- The information provided here in family recovery are not rules on how to help yourself or your addicted loved one, as this is something each family needs to decide for themselves. These are merely suggestions based on the principles of Family Fellowships that have proved effective for some of us living in recovery.