The role of the family in addiction recovery is crucial. Family members can provide support, encouragement, and practical assistance to their loved one who is struggling with addiction. The family can also serve as a source of accountability and can help the individual stay on track with their recovery goals.
In addition to providing support and encouragement, the family can also play a role in helping the individual address the underlying issues that contributed to their addiction. This may involve helping the individual address any co-occurring mental health disorders, addressing any trauma or past experiences that may have contributed to the addiction, and working to improve communication and relationship dynamics within the family.
What Is The Role Of Family In Addiction Recovery?
Addiction damages family dynamics erodes trust and weakens bonds and communication. Family members who live through their loved one’s battling with a substance use disorder (SUD) often bear a host of painful emotions. Equally frustrating is the hopelessness loved ones feel in response to substance abuse. Family members may feel at a loss when seeing a loved one caught in the grips of substance abuse. For example, stumbling upon burnt spoons and used syringes can create paralyzing feelings of fear, and finding bottles of alcohol hidden around the house can be shocking.
However, family members can help their loved one achieve and maintain sobriety. Despite seeing a loved one struggle, family members can and ideally do play a major role in the treatment process. The role of the family in addiction recovery is large and important.
What should be Family Involvement in Recovery from Substance Abuse
Family involvement in recovery from substance abuse should be tailored to the needs and preferences of the individual in recovery. Some individuals may prefer to have a lot of support and involvement from their families, while others may prefer more independence and space.
It is important for the family to communicate openly with the individual and to respect their boundaries and wishes. It may also be helpful for the family to seek support from a therapist or support group to help them navigate the challenges of supporting a loved one in recovery.
Overall, the role of the family in addiction recovery is to provide support, encouragement, and accountability to the individual in recovery. By adopting healthy roles and behaviors, the family can play a vital role in the individual’s journey toward lasting recovery.
Dysfunctional Roles Family Members Play In an Active Addiction
A family impacted by substance abuse inevitably develops into a dysfunctional system. In this system, members unknowingly take on “roles” to cope. As a unit, the families of substance Users take on different ways of handling the crises in the home. Understanding the role one plays is very important to keeping one’s head and helping the addict.
When a family member is struggling with addiction, it is common for other family members to fall into certain dysfunctional roles in an attempt to cope with the situation. These roles can include the “enabler,” who makes excuses for the individual’s behavior and enables their addiction to continue, and the “scapegoat,” who takes the blame for the individual’s actions and tries to fix the problem on their own.
Other dysfunctional roles that family members may play include the “caretaker,” who tries to control the situation and protect the individual from the consequences of their addiction, and the “lost child,” who withdraws and avoids the situation in an attempt to protect themselves.
These roles can be damaging to both the individual struggling with addiction and the other family members, as they can prevent the family from effectively addressing the addiction and supporting the individual in their recovery.
These roles have been named many things, and this is an explanation of how they play out.
The Savior or Hero
The Savior or Hero is the shining star of the addicted family system. They look good, achieve well, and never let the family down. They compensate for the shame the family feels around the addict by being the family superstar. They may cover for the individual with a SUD, attempting to make the individual look pleasing to everyone. They may be in denial, overlooking major problems that require professional intervention. They are also compensating for feeling empty and helpless themselves due to the dysfunctional family dynamic.
The Mascot provides comic relief for the hyper-stressed family. Sometimes humor is tactlessly aimed at the individual suffering from the SUD. The Mascot uses humor to minimize the pain in situations and to deflect hurt. This often becomes a maladaptive coping skill.
The Lost Child
The Lost Child hides out, both physically and emotionally. They can be counted on to never “rock the boat.” They avoid conflict and suppress their emotions. They do not drain the limited emotional resources of the family but suffer deeply internally.
The Scapegoat is the person in the family who is blamed. The Scapegoat creates other problems and concerns to deflect attention away from the real issue. They are very successful at distracting the family and others from the individual with a SUD.
The Enabler insulates the addicted individual by excusing their behaviors. The Enabler is unwilling or unable to hold the addicted individual accountable for their actions. They smooth things over and run interference to keep the addict from experiencing the logical consequences of their poor choices. This behavior often stems from their desire to avoid shame and embarrassment. They will often stunt the addict’s ability to recover if they don’t change their patterns.
Healthy Roles of Family Members in Addiction Recovery
Family members can assume healthy roles and behaviors to encourage and support recovery. For example, a parent may play the role of a supportive but firm caregiver who encourages their loved one to take thoughtful and positive action. Healthy family roles and behaviors include holding the loved one accountable for their behavior and creating rewards for positive choices.
To support a loved one in their recovery, family members need to adopt healthy roles and behaviors. This may include being a source of emotional support and encouragement, providing practical assistance with tasks such as transportation to appointments, and being a positive role model for the individual.
It is also important for family members to set boundaries and establish clear expectations for the individual’s behavior, and to hold the individual accountable for their actions. This can help the individual take responsibility for their recovery and make progress towards lasting recovery.
Family members may attend support groups with their loved ones or attend support groups for families of addicts. The creation of healthy boundaries is a building block of recovery for the family.
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Addiction Treatment in Drug and Alcohol Rehab
ZorbaWellness the best alcohol and drug rehab in India specializes in assisting the families of addicts. With Both inpatient and outpatient facilities, Zorba rehab in Mumbai and Pune offers support groups for patients and families to connect with peer groups. Among the most common are the 12-Step groups. 12-Step groups offer personal accountability and spirituality to help maintain sobriety.