The negative consequences of drug and alcohol addiction can break families apart. Whether it is the strain of the addicted person showing up under the influence, or the fact that legal repercussions ensue, addiction is tough. Substance abuse in a family is hard, but without proper coping mechanisms, it is much harder. When loved ones take on the strain of caring for someone who is struggling with addiction, this can result in mental and even physical health problems. Coping mechanisms are the key to supporting one another and getting through addiction as a family.
For many years, there has been a history of researchers and practitioners treating substance abusers with shame. As the years went on, this, unfortunately, turned many away from seeking treatment. For many years, women supporting their partners with alcohol or drug use disorders were blamed for being codependent or enabling this behavior. Society tended to blame parents of children with substance abuse disorders. It is estimated that 90-100 million adult family members are impacted by substance use disorders, and this calls for the stop of blaming. Blaming helps with nothing regarding substance abuse. Instead, using healthy coping strategies will help those dealing with stress and grief that accompany addiction.
Support is Key
Although families tend to be supporting the addict during recovery, the family members themselves also need to have some support. This means that getting into groups such as Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, and Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA) is a great option. Especially because money can be tight when putting an addict through rehab, these are all 12 step programs and offered completely free. Some family members may also want to work with a professional counselor in a one-on-one setting. This can provide a private alternative to group therapy.
Understand the Reality
Friends and family members of substance abusers can experience immense stress related to the choices of their loved ones. Although this is not fair, unfortunately, it is a fact of life. Addicted persons can also feel stress due to the actions of their family members during recovery. Because of this, it can negatively impact their recovery. Therapy along with rehabilitation is a good option for substance abusers. Having the substance abuser understand that they are sick with a disease is important as well. They need to realize that in order to get better, they must stay sober and be serious about their recovery. Although life may never get back to normal, there is a lot that can be done to feel whole again. Community groups are important as well as accountability. Learning how to love oneself and also use the help of family members can reduce their stress and improve their daily lives.
Never Give Up Hope
Addiction is hard and it affects the entire family of the one addicted. Despite this, Family Recovery is possible. All it takes is learning proper coping skills, staying dedicated to the goals of recovery, and never giving up.