Family Support Programs for Addiction

by Balboa Horizons | May 24, 2018

When a loved one is mired in active addiction, it’s natural for their family to think that inpatient rehab alone will get them on the road to recovery. While it is true that inpatient treatment is a wise and effective step, it is just the beginning of a long, difficult journey. All too often, recovering addicts return home from rehab only to be thrust into family dynamics that threaten to sabotage their newfound sobriety. Even if your home life is good, the people there waiting for you may struggle to understand your addiction and may even treat you poorly because of it. For these and many other reasons, family support programs for addiction are a crucial part of any successful recovery.

Recovery is a Group Effort

While it’s easy to see your addiction as yours alone, the truth is that it didn’t develop in a vacuum. Oftentimes, dysfunctional family dynamics are major contributing factors to a person’s addiction; expecting the addict to emerge from rehab impervious to those factors is unrealistic. A better move is for the family to become actively involved in the recovery process too, and this is strongly encouraged at Balboa Horizons, which is why we offer an array of support options for families.

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Mending Relationships

During active addiction, people often say and do things to friends and loved ones that they never otherwise would. All too often, the happiness that goes along with newfound sobriety is marred by the reality of the damage that the addiction has left in its wake. Expecting relatives and loved ones to “get over” the things that happened because you are sober now isn’t practical or fair. These relationships can usually be mended, but professional intervention is a must. At Balboa Horizons, you and your family can participate in family programs that help to reestablish relationships that have become strained or even estranged.

Changing Family Dynamics

Even if your family is outwardly supportive, there are often underlying dynamics that can put your sobriety in jeopardy. In fact, these are often the very dynamics that may have contributed to your ongoing addiction. For example, you may have relatives who are codependent, which means that they inadvertently help you to continue your addiction because they don’t want to rock the boat. There may also be people in the family who are in active addiction themselves and who enable and encourage you in your addictive behaviors. Through family support programs addiction at Balboa Horizons, you can identify dysfunctional family dynamics and learn how to break those harmful patterns.

Fostering Understanding

Ideally, every member of your family will understand that addiction is a disease and that no one chooses to become an addict. Unfortunately, however, stigma and misinformation regarding addiction can cause people to have unfair and harmful opinions and views that can jeopardize your long-term recovery. For example, family members sometimes believe that substance abuse is a choice or the result of deep-seated character flaws. Family support programs help to foster understanding about addiction, which helps relatives to have sympathy for what you are experiencing. In turn, they are more likely to be true sources of support for you in your journey.

What if They Say No?

Like many people in recovery, you may be open to the idea of family support but worried that none of your relatives will be willing to participate. It’s not unusual for some relatives to have misgivings about supporting loved ones who are in recovery, and it’s important for you not to take such attitudes personally. Oftentimes, these people have been hurt emotionally or even physically by an addicted person’s behavior in the past. Sometimes, the person has relapsed so many times that relatives simply don’t want to get their hopes up. Even if someone you care about refuses to support you, others can and will; focus on those people, and give the others the space that they need.

Ways in Which Families Can Support People in Recovery

The best way for a family to learn how to support a loved one in recovery is by participating in family support workshops, therapy sessions and programs. This is where the hard work is done to address damaged relationships, harmful underlying family dynamics and other issues. Family participation in addiction treatment typically includes family therapy sessions as well as group sessions with other addicts and their families. Some facilities often extended visits to families so they can gain a clearer understanding about what inpatient treatment is about. Progress updates are also often provided to keep relatives in the loop about their loved ones and to keep them involved in the process.

Studies have shown that families that are informed about addiction and recovery and that participate in the process do a lot to improve their loved ones’ recovery processes. Therefore, family participation also includes education about addiction and recovery—topics that are often woefully misunderstood by the majority of people. This is where they can learn the truth behind common myths, including the idea that addiction is a choice.

Addiction Treatment is Good for the Whole Family

If you are struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, understand that you will need all of the help that you can get. Whether your relationship with your family is good or strained, it’s crucial to bring them on board with the process. Balboa Horizons offers extensive resources for families and loved ones, and we are ready to help you to get on the road to long-term recovery.