Family relationships motivate and inspire individuals in recovery. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “research shows that family support can play a major role in helping a loved one with mental and substance use disorders” (SUDs). Family members can offer insight, provide support throughout the treatment process, and help provide a stabilizing influence during outpatient care. The term “family” includes anyone you are related to or feel strongly connected to in your day-to-day life, including adoptive families and close friends. You can experience many benefits from choosing a family-focused treatment program.
Family Dynamics During Recovery
Family dynamics influence treatment plans, recovery, and personal goals. Many people in treatment have close family members who actively struggle with addictive behaviors or mental health disorders. Not all of these relationships are toxic. However, it is crucial to learn how to identify unhealthy relationships that might endanger long-term sobriety. Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries with loved ones is essential for creating a hopeful environment. Some ways family dynamics can affect treatment include:
- Lack of support
- Unrealistic expectations
- Stigmatizing behaviors
Despite these possible challenges, most people in treatment for SUD find family-focused programs positive and effective. Research suggests that individuals with the support of one or more family members have a greater likelihood of achieving a positive outcome. According to SAMHSA, “integration of family-based counseling interventions into SUD treatment honors the important role families can play in the change process.” People are more likely to get help and respond favorably to a rehabilitation program if they have the support of close friends and family.
Loving Family Relationships Lead to Healthy Changes
People who love and encourage family members struggling with addiction significantly impact recovery speed. A few of the ways supportive family members can assist in long-term recovery include:
- Medication and appointment minders
- Motivating change
- Providing an outside perspective
- Symptom monitoring
- Positive reinforcement
Family members have an outside perspective on your recovery, and they may see you begin to backslide into old behaviors before you notice yourself. Everyone can benefit from an external point of view, and when the source is a loving and objective family member, advice and suggestions for change may feel easier to accept. Avoiding codependent or toxic relationships and instead focusing on the people who care about your well-being can lower the risk of relapse for individuals in early recovery.
How to Find Family-Focused Programs
Not all treatment programs for substance misuse and co-occurring conditions provide the same level of family involvement. While most facilities and programs offer some version of family therapy, not all have a family-focused approach that prioritizes their involvement. Family therapy is a critical tool because it allows individuals struggling with addiction to build healthier connections and set clear boundaries.
Many evidence-based methods for treating SUD and related disorders incorporate family support services. The best way to find family-focused programs is by reaching out to a knowledgeable source like a case manager, support group, therapist, doctor, or recovery advocate. The internet also has many options to help you search for programs like those offered at Sober Life. Online and local resources exist for individuals in treatment and their loved ones. Parents, children, siblings, and other loved ones can play an essential part in the recovery process.
Benefits of Family Therapy
Many therapeutic methods repair and strengthen family relationships between individuals recovering from SUD and those closest to them. The benefits of family therapy include:
- Better communication
- Healthier boundaries
- Increased self-awareness
- Increased self-accountability
- Lower risk of relapse
- Lower risk of developing a mental health disorder
- Increased ability to identify and cope with stressors
Family therapy provides a neutral space and an objective outside point of view that can make it easier to recognize and discuss difficult emotions like guilt, shame, and regret. Therapeutic tools can help improve the quality of life and physical health for individuals in recovery and their family members that may actively struggle with addiction.
Multigenerational Substance Misuse and Maintaining Sobriety
Minorities and at-risk groups are more likely to experience multigenerational substance misuse. In a Mental Health In American Indian and Alaska Native Communities Seminar, it’s recognized that since the beginning of the pandemic roughly 40% of Americans experience mental health issues like anxiety, depression, acute stress, and an increase in substance use, and these mental health issues disproportionally affect minority groups. Many people in recovery find it difficult to maintain sobriety while witnessing loved ones struggle with active addictive behaviors. Most communities have local programs and classes where individuals and their families can learn about the effects of addiction and how to replace unhealthy habits and behaviors with healthy alternatives.
Family-focused care can give you greater insight into your own behaviors and reactions regardless of whether you choose to participate in family therapy. Increased self-awareness can boost confidence and make it easier to repair relationships that may have been damaged by the effects of substance misuse.
Family can provide support, understanding, and motivation to overcome challenges related to recovery from substance use disorder. How you interact with loved ones can impact how you respond to therapy. In addition, being open and honest about your recovery by including loved ones in your support system encourages healthier relationships. Children of individuals in recovery are at high risk of developing SUD or mental health issues later in life. Including them in therapy can lower those risks. Many people choose to get help because they want to be there for their families and build a future for their children. You can successfully recover from SUD, and we are here to help you navigate treatment and ongoing recovery by offering services that support family-focused care. Our program gives you a safe and structured space to work through family issues that may have held you back. To learn more, contact Sober Life by calling us at (619) 542-9542.