The Importance of Advocating for Family Recovery

Managing any disease without the support of family and friends can be a lonely road. Despite misconceptions, addiction is a brain disease and not a moral choice. Addiction can gradually take control of an individual’s instincts and brain function, damaging their ability to help themselves. This is why family support is crucial for recovery. 

In order to help a loved one begin to recover from addiction, family members must have an informed understanding of what addiction entails. 

You Are Not Your Addiction

When an individual makes the initial choice to partake in substance use, they often do so as a form of escape. Every individual is different, but substance use often becomes an addiction due to undiagnosed mental health issues or a history of trauma.  

According to StatPearls, addiction is a chronic medical disorder distinguished by “[C]ompulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain.” Addiction can also lead to medical, mental, and social complications.  

Family Support System

In order to effectively help your loved one, families or support systems can work together to overcome the challenges of treatment and recovery. To begin guiding your loved one towards recovery, you and your family can provide support by educating yourself on what addiction is. 

Once you are well informed about addiction, you can calmly have a discussion with your loved one about their addiction and subsequent behaviors by providing comfort and understanding rather than misinformed judgments. A conversation may not help your loved one stop using, but it can spark a necessary initial attempt to help them acknowledge their problem while letting them know they have your support. 

Being Present for Your Family 

Dealing with addiction while attempting recovery alone can feel impossible. Suffering in silence can lead to unwanted feelings, which can leave your loved one at risk for relapse. Untreated addiction is a vicious cycle that can only be broken with support and professional help. This is why it is important to be present to help your loved one navigate through such a complex process. 

What does it mean to be present? Being present for a loved one struggling with addiction means being there for them every step of the way. It is not about simply sending them off to get professional help; it is about being there for them when they need you the most. 

Addiction can worsen as a result of a lack of communication or family involvement. An individual struggling with addiction in your family can mean that there are valuable missing components within your family structure. Your loved one’s addiction is an indication that there is a need for change within themselves and the entire family system. Recovery is a time for your loved one to heal while also healing your family bond.

Recovering as a Family 

In response to studies demonstrating the effects families have on a loved one’s addiction and vice versa, many addiction recovery service providers, like A New Hope Recovery Services, incorporate recovery through a family systemic model. A family systemic model allows your entire family to be involved with your loved one’s treatment while aiming at healing the family as a whole. 

When a loved one is struggling with addiction, they can experience a multitude of side effects that can also affect their family. These side effects include:

  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Impulsiveness
  • Manic behavior

According to Indian J Psychiatry, the main goal of family interventions involve improving communication, solving family problems, and understanding how to handle special family situations while creating and improving a functional home environment. 

How Family Involvement Can Help Your Loved One

Working towards a common goal of recovery as a family can significantly help your loved one in their personal recovery journey. While they work to overcome their addiction and any co-occurring disorders, you can work on healing as a family unit. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Family and friends can play critical roles in motivating individuals with drug problems to enter and stay in treatment.”

Other benefits of family involvement in recovery include:

  • The opportunity for you and other family members to develop skills and strategies to help your loved one and the entire family 
  • The ability to provide a loved one with the support they need post-treatment
  • Improvement in family communication skills
  • The opportunity to address and treat addiction or mental health issues in other family members

Building a Community

Advocating for family recovery is crucial for families dealing with a loved one struggling with addiction. Every member of a family is affected by a loved one’s addiction. Your involvement, or lack thereof, also directly affects every member of your household. Issues that are avoided, normalized, or ignored will continue to affect you and future generations if you fail to come together as a family to seek the professional help you need.

Many individuals develop addiction and behavioral issues as a result of their upbringing or other traumatic experiences. While it can be challenging to understand that your decisions may negatively affect your family, addiction is not anyone’s fault. Addiction is a disease that can be successfully managed. At A New Hope Recovery Services, we can work with you and your family to find the healing you deserve. From interventions to family support, you and your loved ones are not alone. Combining evidence-based motivational techniques and a family-systems-oriented approach, not only can your loved one find recovery, but your family can too. A New Hope Recovery Services understands addiction is a family disease, which is why we provide counseling services for family members, even if an intervention has not taken place. To learn more about our services, call us today at (407) 501-8490