Addiction impacts the entire family system. The addict typically experiences feelings of despair, hopelessness, guilt, shame, loneliness, and worthlessness. The family also experiences similar feelings. Families may have increased anxiety, loss of their own identity, diminished work functioning, isolation, and an overall decrease in life satisfaction. Working with families while patients are in treatment is vital to their loved one’s successful recovery. Work through the effects of an addicted loved one during individual therapy in Tennessee.
Working with Families While Patients are in Treatment
The first step in the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 step program is admitting powerlessness to the mood-altering substance. For families, the first step is admitting powerlessness to the addict and their addiction. Addicts can rely on their support system in AA to work through the steps and to deal with some of their issues. Family members can develop similar support by becoming involved in Al-Anon. Al-Anon is a 12 step program for families that have been affected by addiction. Developing support and addiction education can be a crucial part of the treatment process for families with addicted loved ones. Al-Anon teaches families about enabling and detaching. Most people enable the addict out of love without recognizing that the enabling behaviors help keep the addict sick. Think about when you have experienced an easy way out of something difficult in life. Did you take it? Most of us do. When we enable, we allow the addict to take the easy way out. This helps continue the vicious cycle of manipulation and addiction.
Change in the Family
When a family learns about enabling and how to practice tough love, the dynamics change in the relationship between the family and the addict. The addict then can become more responsible and independent. Addicts need bottom lines and boundaries. When families set boundaries and stick to them, they become the greatest ally in the treatment process. When someone is in early recovery, they struggle with making clear, well-planned decisions. They need guidance from professionals. When the professionals are supported by the family, the addict is more likely to follow recommendations. The relationship between treatment professionals and families is vital. Communication is the key. We learn a lot about the addict from reports from the family. This can help paint a clearer picture of how the addict was really doing prior to treatment. Their self-reports can be tainted with denial, blame, and rationalizations. We depend on families for this information and ongoing information as the addict progresses in treatment. We are here as an outlet of support for families with the common goal of helping addicts embrace recovery.
Programs for Families of Addicted Loved Ones
The Ranch provides programs to work with families while patients are in treatment. To work on rebuilding a healthy home environment, contact The Ranch about the following programs:
- Family recovery program in TN
- Family therapy in TN
- Individual therapy
- Connecting to local Al-Anon meetings
Call 1.844.876.7680 to speak with addiction specialists about programs that work with families while patients are in treatment. Original post was written by April Pittman, M.S., M.S., B.S., Counselor at The Ranch Tennesse