Drug addiction can be a devastating affliction for individuals and their families. While addiction can be treated, the road to recovery is often long and challenging. It is important for the individuals directly affected by the addiction to have support and guidance from family members to help them get through the recovery process. The primary role for family members is to act as a source of encouragement, understanding, and healing.
Having an addiction can often cause the affected person to feel isolated and alone. The role of the family is to provide comfort and support to the addict. They can act as a sounding board for the addict to vent and talk about their feelings, struggles, and emotions. This can help the addiction get out in the open, rather than kept hidden. It is also important that the family listens with an open mind, and without judgement.
Family members must also recognize that addiction is a disease and recognize that it requires professional help to be addressed. Connecting the addict with addiction counselors and other professionals can help the person get the assistance they need to enter into a process of recovery. Along with referrals to treatment professionals, family members also play an important role in the process by actively researching resources and programs which may be able to offer assistance and support.
Families sometimes suffer from the same dynamics as the person with the addiction. Issues such as codependency, neglect, and abuse can be common. Families need to take active steps toward healing these relationships in order for the primary addict to succeed in their recovery. This healing process can involve family therapy as well as personal therapy for the members of the family.
It is also important for the family to be aware of the nature of relapse. Relapse will almost certainly occur during the recovery process, but this does not mean the person is a “failure.” It just means that the individual needs more help to move forward and that the family must remain supportive.
The family has an important role to play in a person’s successful recovery from addiction. They must provide comfort and understanding, make referrals to professional treatment, and offer their own support and healing. Maintaining a sense of unity within the family can help provide a strong foundation for the addict to start their journey of recovery.