Benefits of Family Participation in Addiction Treatment
The statistics bear out the reality. Almost 10% of American households have an adult suffering from alcohol abuse.  Unfortunately, with so many homes affected, the number of families who take on a member’s addiction as a family is negligible. Integrating family participation in addiction treatment is a proven way to increase the odds of overcoming addiction. Below are six benefits to expect when incorporating family therapy in substance abuse treatment.
1. Family Participation Facilitates Understanding and Empathy
It may be difficult to understand why someone “just won’t stop” abusing drugs or drinking. This misunderstanding can lead to severe feelings of isolation, guilt, and worthlessness. Family members, including parents, spouses, and children, might feel like they are not enough because their loved one continues to abuse substances despite their pleas for them to stop.
Education about the nature of substance abuse is fundamental to helping family members understand what their loved one is going through. The person receiving treatment can also build empathy for their family. They can begin to understand how their substance abuse has impacted the people they care about.
2. Build an Internal Support System
Support systems are fundamental to long-term recovery. While there are networks a person can connect to support their sobriety journey, having family members actively involved can improve their outlook. Family members can help the client maintain positive thoughts. Allowing the individual to use the healthy coping habits they have built up in individual therapy regularly, instead of relying on the few times a week or month network meetings occur.
3. Begin Conflict Resolution
It takes time to heal from the impact of addiction within the family. But growth must start somewhere, and therapy can be that place. Individuals can start to find closure and make peace with the past. Doing so can pave the way for forgiveness of oneself and others. Everyone involved can learn how to manage feelings like anger and resentment without taking it out on each other. They can find comfort in each other’s commitment to share a more positive relationship in the future.
4. Improve Motivation and Treatment Outcomes
When a client feels like the weight of family stress has been lifted off their shoulders, they often experience newfound passion toward achieving sobriety. Guilt, anger, anxiety, and shame can hold people back and make them more likely to experience a relapse. Although family therapy does not guarantee someone will stay sober, it does help ease some of the negative emotions that clients often carry with them into rehab and are forced to confront on their own without a family therapy program.
5. Address Mental Health Issues Within the Family
Issues like depression, anxiety, and even a history of abuse can be addressed in therapy. The guidance of the counselor ensures that people can express themselves without the situation getting out of hand. For many, this could be the first time they can openly talk about how they feel without defending themselves or being blamed by someone else. Taking steps to improve individual mental health leads to positive change within the whole family.
6. Improve Communication
No one is born knowing how to express themselves and work through conflict properly. These are skills people must learn. Unfortunately, many individuals learn how to do these things in a dysfunctional way. Someone who felt unheard or unimportant as a child, for example, may grow into a parent who always screamed and demanded their children to listen to them. Generational trauma and dysfunction impact every member of the household. Patterns like substance abuse, enabling, and conflict avoidance all create serious communicative barriers. Learning what each person needs, respecting their boundaries, and compromising fosters mutual understanding.
Implementing Family Participation in Addiction Treatment
Both emotional and physical distances are addressed in family therapy during substance abuse treatment. Utilizing technology like FaceTime, Skype and Zoom ensures everyone who the client wants to be included in treatment can be there.
Although no one can be forced to participate in therapy, it is always helpful for someone to speak with a counselor. This will allow them to learn what they can about their loved one’s substance abuse and decide for themselves what role they want to have in a person’s recovery. If you or someone you love is suffering from substance abuse, contact Silver Sands Recovery today. You can learn more about how family participation can improve the odds of becoming and remaining sober.
About the author:
Lisa Waknin is the Founder and Director of Silver Sands Recovery, located in Prescott, Arizona. Lisa started Silver Sands Recovery after immersing herself in the addiction treatment world for several years to figure out what could be done differently to help her daughter and others like her to overcome addiction and stay sober. She believes in a hands-on treatment approach, which includes taking someone out of their environment, providing a 90-day program in a structured environment. During treatment, clients not only recover physically but also learn to live their life again. Lisa is a sought-after expert speaker for recovery support groups, charities, schools, communities, and companies wanting to educate themselves on the explosion of opiate and heroin abuse in our country and the best way to understand, treat, and beat it.