How family impacts recovery: Addiction is a family disease. This is true. When someone struggles with a substance use disorder the entire family is affected in one way or another. On the flip side, the family impacts recovery in a very powerful way. Their influence on their loved one’s recovery can mean the difference between a healthy recovery or a heartbreaking relapse. It is challenging work for everyone involved. Therefore, during ‘Recovery Month’ every September, we honour not only the individuals in recovery, but we also honour their families and friends because we recognize how important they are in the recovery of their loved ones.
Family Impacts Recovery by Helping in the Following Ways
As someone in recovery comes home from rehab, it’s important that their family and friends support them as they turn their focus onto their life-long recovery. It’s one day at a time. There will be struggles, there may be relapses, and there will be a lot of twists and turns along the way.
Recovery is about healing, but not just from the physical and emotional scars that come along with substance use. It’s important for families to remember that they have healing and learning to do as well. Some may face ongoing hardships as they deal with the following issues:
- Recovering from debt or other financial difficulties
- Gaining steady employment
- Ongoing health issues
- Rebuilding relationships and trust
- Learning to communicate effectively
Families Can Impact Their Loved One’s Recovery Positively by Doing the Following
- Stay involved and supportive
- Recognize accomplishments and celebrate them
- Maintain a drug-free and alcohol-free environment within the household to prevent temptation
- Attend family therapy and/or support groups like Al-Anon. This will encourage the person in recovery and also inspire thoughtful communication.
- Attend ‘Open Meetings’ and ‘Birthday Celebrations’ with your loved one
- Be open and honest with your loved ones
Triggers That Can Lead to Relapse
- Health issues
- Work and/or school
- Financial problems
- Relationships with family and friends
- Exposure to situations or environments that involve substance use
- Showing mistrust or accusing their loved one of using
It’s important to understand that as your loved one journeys through recovery; family and close friends are along for that journey and need to be educated and supportive. Addiction is a family disease, but recovery is a family process. By recovering together, we offer the best support possible for our loved ones with substance use disorders.
In a nutshell, family impacts recovery in a positive way when they seek their own help to heal alongside their loved ones. This helps them keep the lines of communication open, inspires important talks, and teaches the family to help their loved ones in new and effective ways while not repeating past mistakes such as ignoring the problem or enabling. Everyone needs to heal together.