What Techniques Can Families Use to De-Stress from Their Loved One’s Addiction?

De-stress from a loved one’s addictionIn 2018, True Link Financial released a survey that was among the first to quantify the financial strains that family members experience when a loved one struggles with addiction. A total of 341 Americans participated in the study, and 82% of respondents stated that their loved one with a substance use disorder (SUD) experienced adverse financial effects that resulted from their addiction. Furthermore, 8 out of 10 respondents agreed that for those in recovery, regaining finances is one of the hardest aspects of recovery – and all too often, family members are the ones digging into their bank accounts and wallets to cover what they feel their loved one needs – even while addiction is active.

Family members go through much more than financial stressors when a loved one is addicted, however. Members may feel hurt, angry or resentful of all the time spent worrying about their loved one – and guilt may also play part in family members’ emotional state, especially if they feel they could have said or done something earlier to stop it all from happening. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery emphasized that the family dynamic can become disrupted in the process of a loved one going through addiction; when this occurs, it will take a lot for family members – both individually and collectively – to feel ready to move forward with their lives. To promote the healing process, family members can take a number of steps to promote their own mental health throughout the recovery:

  • Breathe. Take a few moments throughout the day to ground yourself. It can be incredibly overwhelming when a loved one is struggling with addiction, and thoughts may seem to plague your mind. Take a step back when you can, and just breathe.
  • Establish “alone time”. Give yourself time to watch a movie, read a book or engage in other self-care activities that boost your mental, physical and spiritual health. You need this now more than ever.
  • Maintain a solid support system. Attend Al-Anon, a 12-Step program designed for friends and family. Keep in contact with recovery leaders and peers who support your family in healing and growth. Let this be a strong part of your foundation, even if you feel weak.
  • Continue attending therapy. Even if you’re having a bad day, continue seeking out therapy. Attend  individual, group and family sessions – don’t give up.
  • Take the time you need. As a family, you all have likely gone through a lot of pain. Give yourself permission to take some time to heal and recover before jumping into anything that could overwhelm you.

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.

Why is it so meaningful to give to Cumberland Heights?

Your gift to Cumberland Heights through our annual and capital initiates gives immediate support to patients and their families. To make a longer term impact a gift to the endowment fund will provide patient assistance funding for years to come.