Family engagement can be incredibly beneficial to addiction treatment. However, you may struggle to get your family involved in your treatment and recovery. Of course, family members who are abusive or otherwise toxic should not be involved in your treatment and recovery journey. Even in the absence of people who fit that category, many people — even those with the closest family relationships — struggle with family engagement.
The reasons you may struggle to engage your family in your treatment are potentially endless. You may not be comfortable involving your family in your treatment, or you may not have great relationships with your family members. There may even be a history of untreated drug addiction or alcoholism in the family.
Though it can be hard to get your loved ones involved in meaningful ways, family engagement will aid your journey in ways you may have never imagined. Bringing your family into your recovery space through counseling or other modalities may also help you reconnect and heal your family ties.
Before discussing ways to involve your family in your addiction treatment and recovery journey, let's discuss how abusive or toxic families can harm your recovery. Toxic or dysfunctional families exhibit behaviors that hurt them physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Unhealthy family dynamics typically lack empathy, healthy communication, boundaries, and unconditional love and support. Instead, individuals in these environments can experience gaslighting, forms of abuse, and seriously unhealthy familial relationships. These kinds of relationships can lead to the development of depression, anxiety, substance use disorder (SUD), and several other mental health conditions.
Unfortunately, coming from a toxic family means family involvement in your recovery can be detrimental. After all, these unhealthy family dynamics could very well be the cause of your struggle with mental health or addiction. However, those who grow up amid toxic relationships may be unable to recognize the signs due to years of abuse and manipulation. Seeking treatment or attending therapy can help you identify the signs of a toxic family and whether those who claim to love you will help or hinder your progress.
Part of addiction and mental health treatment is getting to the root cause of the condition. Treatment can also teach you how to manage family and other toxic relationships in your life post-treatment to help you maintain recovery. Thankfully, many people grow up with positive family dynamics and have healthy parental and familial relationships. In such a scenario, involving your family in your addiction treatment journey can be helpful.
Family involvement has many benefits throughout every part of your addiction recovery journey. For example, perhaps your family encouraged you to seek treatment by hosting an intervention. People sometimes don't recognize their problem with substance abuse or acknowledge that they need help. Perhaps an intervention helped them understand your situation, showed you how much support you have, and gave you resources for quality treatment.
Another benefit of family involvement in your recovery journey is how it strengthens your support system. Support systems are invaluable to addiction recovery. There is no such thing as having too much support. A strong support system can lower your risk of relapse by giving you people to confide in and hold you accountable.
Addiction comes with many complex and sometimes messy emotions. Family can serve as your sounding board for processing these complex emotions. If you have a strong family unit, do not be afraid to rely heavily on their support. Having someone to lean on can mean the difference between experiencing relapse and maintaining a life of recovery.
Family involvement also helps you reconnect with the people who love you. This connection can be instrumental in your healing process and in repairing your relationships. You may need to make amends, attend family counseling, or find other ways to rekindle your family relationships.
Whether or not you follow a 12-Step program, making amends is a necessary part of the recovery process. This may consist of making amends with the family members you hurt during your addiction. Some people may steal from relatives, lie to them, and even act violently toward them all to maintain their addictive habits. Try to reflect on these actions and properly make amends when the opportunities to do so present themselves.
Engaging your family in your recovery journey will help them understand how addiction impacted your thoughts and behaviors. This education helps them accept that addiction is a disease and that you are not your past actions or mistakes. Family members may be hesitant to forgive, but seeing you go through treatment and recovery proves to them you are fighting to create a life of sobriety for you and them.
You can include your family in your recovery journey by:
Family engagement can be a formidable ally in your healing process. Consider involving them to strengthen your journey today.
Addiction does not only affect one person; it impacts the whole family. Some people grow up in toxic families, leading them toward a path of substance use. Unfortunately, these individuals may not benefit from involving their families in their recovery journey. However, people from healthy families can benefit significantly from family engagement throughout their addiction treatment and recovery. Family engagement reduces your risks of relapse, strengthens your support system, and aids in your healing process. You can engage your family in your recovery journey by starting family counseling, asking them to attend a support group meeting, and educating them about substance use disorder (SUD). To learn more, call NorthStar Transitions at (303) 558-6400.