Substance abuse recovery isn’t an isolated disease; families, friends, coworkers and entire communities are affected by it. When a loved one has an addiction, sleeping and eating patterns typically change and they may start to look different. Weight loss may occur and suddenly all of their extra time is spent chasing after something other than what they would usually spend their time on. Some family members may find their roles changing within the family system as their loved one becomes more entrenched in the addiction’s hold.
Pain, frustration, guilt, anger, sadness, hopelessness and more are all emotions family members may experience. Even if the loved one seeks out recovery, many of these feelings will still remain for some time – the journey to healing from addiction is a long road, but it’s necessary in order for all family members to move forward with their lives in the healthiest of ways.
In 2016, researchers published a study in the journal Qualitative Health Research to identify some of the biggest challenges for parents in particular when their child entered addiction recovery.
Twenty-seven addiction professionals were interviewed and they learned that with their parent interactions, the following seemed to really hold them back from healing:
- Lack of involvement in treatment
- Over-involvement in treatment
- Unrealistic expectations
- Ambivalence or opposition to change
- Ethical dilemmas
- Alliance issues
- Collaboration challenges with therapists
If these are the types of issues holding parents, caretakers and other family members back when it comes to recovery, what could promote their recovery?
A study published several years ago and written by researchers from the East Bay Community Recovery Project (EBCRP) in San Francisco, California identified some excellent protective factors to healing – both on the families’ side, and the individual’s side. Here are some of them listed: concrete support in time of need, an understanding and overall knowledge of parenting and child development, social and emotional competence of children (and, in this case, other family members, too), resiliency and building up social connections.
Al-Anon is an excellent peer-led support group specifically designed for friends and family members of those recovering from addiction. These groups can truly build a sense of support as well as a strengthened sense of spirituality. No matter what you’re going through, don’t give up hope. There are people out here who can support you, guide you and help you find healing amidst the pain.
Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.
Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.