So often a parent, spouse, or child try to make their loved one with addiction get the help they so desperately need. They may beg, bargain, and give ultimatums in order to get the person with addiction into meetings or treatment. And when they finally do they often give a sigh of relief and think that their work is done. Their loved one will get better now and life can go back to normal.

The truth is that recovery is not a quick fix. Addiction is a family disease and it affects everyone in the family, not just the person with the identified problem of being an alcoholic or addict. When living with someone with active addiction the family system shifts to the life revolving around the addict. As addiction progresses families learn unhealthy ways to cope as day to day life begins to feel like chaos. Families need to learn their role in the family disease in order for recovery to be possible. Did they enable the person? Keep secrets for them? Ignore the problem and pretend that everything was just fine? Cover for them by calling them out of work or school? Try to “fix” the person with addiction at a cost to your own health?

Mutual Support and the Family

Just as the person with the addiction will need time and support in their own recovery process, so will each family member. The family as a whole also needs time to learn and get comfortable with the “new normal”. Mutual support meetings such as al-anon and nar-anon are great places for family members to get support from others going through similar experiences. People can also benefit from both individual and family therapy to start to heal and rebuild trust. In order for the family to become healthy, each person must learn assertive communication and healthy boundaries. When each individual works toward recovery the greater chance for recovery for the whole family!

To learn more about Addiction Family Services and the path to recovery please call (201)488-6678 or visit us at specialized therapy to schedule an appointment.