We Offer Resources for Families of Addicts
We recognize that families are equally impacted by addiction and have a central role in the recovery process. The complex relational patterns developed during a family member’s active addiction will require a steady focus on family interactions to bring about productive change. That is why we feel it is imperative to integrate resources for families of addicts into each and every treatment plan. Systemic recovery is one of our core values, by broadening the recovery process from the individual to the family we improve effectiveness for everyone.
Wasatch Crest creates space for families of addicts to have a voice during their family member’s time at Wasatch Crest. Because the recovery process is complex and multi-faceted we believe open communication is essential. Our Wasatch Crest treatment team is accessible to families and will gladly provide resources, information and family member updates appropriately. We appreciate and support families seeking positive change and who have their own goals and issues.
Common Family Dynamics, Complications & Challenges:
- Accepting addiction as a family disease
- Including the whole family unit on the healing and recovery process
- Establishing appropriate internal and external boundaries
- Knowing what to except during each stage of the recovery process
- Developing a set of shared values about their family identity (who they are)
- Awakening and applying every family member’s strengths
- Understanding how healthy families function
- Maintaining family roles
Upon graduation, our transition planning is a road map for clients and their families for months to come. We help clients and their families gather the most pertinent and essential information from their next community of residence. For example, mapping 12-step meetings, public transit schedules, community groups, job fairs and much more. This reduces anxiety and increases the chances of success right out the gate.
In addition, we are always here to be called upon after clients graduate.
The Role of Family in Addiction Recovery
Addiction is often called a “family disease” because it affects every member of the family. Different family members experience different feelings, including helplessness and anger.
But involving the patient’s family in addiction recovery can have a major positive impact on their loved one. There are different ways family plays a role in addiction recovery. These include attending family support groups, seeking social support, and understanding relapse prevention.
Be a part of family therapy
Research has shown that when a treatment program gets the family involved the success rates for treating addiction rise dramatically compared to programs that don’t actively involve them. Addiction will create tears and rifts throughout every family, but family therapy strengthens communication between family members and helps repair damage and restore healthy function within the family unit.
Another benefit of family therapy is that it allows the other family members to gain a better understanding of addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disorder. This helps each family member understand how to better support and help their addicted loved one.
Provide social support
Each family member can help to provide part of a social support system that is essential during the early stages of recovery. It’s important for family members to maintain open communication with your recovering loved one. To overcome issues that have strained your relationship, use communication techniques you practiced in family therapy. The goal is to defuse the tension to allow for open, honest dialogue. Also, spend time with your family member doing activities that support their recovery and keep them busy.
Help to prevent relapse
While no one likes to hear this — there is a good chance your addicted loved one will experience a relapse. In fact, the rate of relapse for addiction ranges from 40 to 60 percent.
That makes it important for the family to manage its expectations of their loved one. Relapse doesn’t mean the person has failed in some way. It doesn’t mean he or she will never be able to overcome addiction. It simply means the person needs more time to reinforce coping skills and to learn how to handle triggers and urges.
What are the Warnings Signs of Relapse?
The family can help by understanding and watching for warning signs of a potential relapse. They include:
- They stop going to their 12-step meetings or support group.
- They start spending time with people who they previously drank or used with.
- They’re struggling with stress or painful emotions that might lead them to self-medicate.
- They react in a defensive way if you bring up changes in their attitude or behavior.
How can Family Become More Involved in Addiction Recovery?
At Wasatch Crest, we encourage frequent interaction with family members. This comes both through in-person visits and other contact. Involvement in family therapy is crucial both for the family and the recovering loved one.
This isn’t a time to send the loved one away and wash your collective hands. It’s a time to fully engage, both for the loved one’s success in overcoming addiction and for the family to understand the addiction and the roles each member may have played in it. Involvement during treatment at Wasatch Crest and especially after your loved one returns home is critical to long-term success.
When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they often think their behaviors are only affecting them. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Addiction doesn’t exist in a vacuum — it affects every family member. But because most addicted individuals are in denial, they typically don’t understand the full impact of their actions on their family members.
How can addiction affect a family?
Here are a few of the ways addiction can impact a family:
One of the hallmarks of substance abuse and addiction is that the person separates themselves from their family and friends. They also lose interest in activities they formerly did with these people. For the family and friends, this can be a sense of loss.
Emotional turmoil and negativity
Family of an addicted loved one often blame themselves for the person’s problem. This erodes their sense of self-worth and self-love. Addiction fosters mistrust, as addicted individuals commonly lie to their family members about their habits, employing increasing secrecy and deception. Family members often suffer depression and anxiety from the emotional toll caused by navigating the behaviors of the addicted person.
When a person is addicted, their body and brain suffer from the effects of the drugs or alcohol that is constantly overwhelming their system. This leads to a variety of illnesses, diseases, and disorders, and the family is often tasked with the role of caretaker. This can be a great burden, and it often leads to the family members developing mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.
When a person is a frequent and compulsive user, they often burn through their money. This may lead to job loss and financial strain on the family, if the addicted person is the financial provider. Stealing or using joint sources of finance (such as a shared credit card) is another path that creates stress within the family.
Exposing children to damaging influences
Children learn by example, and if they are in their formative years while a parent or sibling is an addict, this shapes their future behavior. They may pattern behavior, thinking that using these substances is okay and even acceptable (children often don’t understand a person is addicted, so they find the person’s behaviors to be normal).
How Many Families Suffer from Addiction?
Every family suffers when a family member is an addict. The degree often depends on the age and role in the family of the addicted person. Bottom line is that addiction destroys marriages, friendships, careers, the person’s health and safety, and often, unfortunately, the family as a cohesive unit.
Almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, yet only 10 percent of those people receive treatment. It doesn’t take much to understand the impacts on those 21 million families.