Home > The Importance of Family Involvement in Substance Abuse Treatment

Family Involvement

The Importance of Family Involvement in Substance Abuse Treatment and Addiction Therapy

Family members of addicts face many challenges when dealing with their loved one. Life with an addict is full of uncertainty, anger, and fear. Loved ones suffer when they see the person losing control of their life and withdraw from family, friends, and the things they once cared about. Family members also have to deal with the lies, health scares, legal trouble, and financial struggles caused by the addiction. Substance abuse leads to a destructive cycle that causes unhealthy relationships, enabling, and psychological issues.

Family members and loved ones of addicts are often the most concerned about the individual’s wellbeing and future. It is most often family members who push the person to get treatment or make the initial phone call to find out about rehab options. The good news is family members who have their loved one’s best interest in mind and are open to the solid advice of treatment professionals can play a major role in the treatment and recovery process. From the very first scary steps of getting the person to agree to treatment, to rehab itself, to long-term relapse prevention, there are many ways loved ones can help.

Prior to Substance Abuse Treatment / Intervention

Often, it is the family that finally steps in and tries to get help for their loved one. This is a difficult task, as loved ones don’t know how best to talk to the person and sometimes aren’t even certain the person really needs professional help yet. They are afraid they won’t have the words to say, afraid they will lose control and lash out at the person, and especially afraid that their loved one will refuse to get help. But family members must speak up and get help for their loved one. 

Families are a main source of support to the addicted individual before treatment. Loved ones can research treatment programs and find one that would be a good fit for the individual. Families can contact a treatment center to find out how best to get their loved one to rehab. Sometimes families can get their loved one into treatment simply by sitting down and having a conversation with him or her. Others are not able to convince their loved one on their own or are more comfortable enlisting the help of a professional. An interventionist might be necessary in these cases. A professional interventionist provides encouragement and guidance to loved ones as they prepare to talk to and then confront their addicted family member. With the help of an interventionist, addicts are more receptive to listening and more willing to get help.

Family Involvement in Outpatient and Residential Programs

Family members play a role during their loved one’s outpatient or residential treatment program as well. Loved ones who are able to participate in family therapy find it beneficial to learn about the disease of addiction and how best to interact with the recovering addict.

During outpatient therapy, the recovering addict lives at home and continues to interact with family and friends. This allows families who participate in therapy to work on skills they are learning together and start strengthening their relationships.

If the person is enrolled in residential treatment, they will stay for several weeks or months away from home. This gives families a much-needed break and time for the recovering addict to focus solely on recovery instead of battling potentially difficult relationships. Families can use this time to step back and evaluate their own unhealthy behaviors as well. During residential treatment, families can still be involved with their loved one through family therapy sessions, during which time the family works together to establish positive relationships. Family therapy helps loved ones learn how to best encourage the recovering addict during and after treatment.

During Residential Addiction Treatment

At The Ridge, family involvement is encouraged. During the 30-day stay, there will be multiple family involvement options. Exercising these options is completely at the discretion of the patient.

The Ridge’s family program is one aspect which sets us apart from other centers. We facilitate weekly family sessions and every other Saturday visits.

  • Family night every Tuesday from 4 PM – 7 PM
  • Every Saturday is for family visits and lunch
  • Family lecture groups for education
  • Family involvement in Alumni program
  • Daily outbound calling available
  • Letters and care packages (No food please)
  • Children are welcome, but on our family night, we have a guest speaker who talks frankly about addiction and recovery. Please inquire as to the topic ahead of time. Parental discretion may be advised.

 

Residential substance abuse treatment has the obvious benefit of removing the addicted individual from the toxic atmosphere that enabled their addiction and removing distractions from their addiction therapy. This same benefit is transferred to the patient’s friends and family, who are often able to gain a new perspective on their loved one’s addiction and their own behaviors.

Family involvement, once the patient is in an off-site substance abuse treatment facility, helps families step back and recognize patterns of negative behavior. Even well-meaning family and friends can inadvertently become trapped in a cycle of enabling and codependency. Often, family members pretend nothing is wrong, unintentionally assisting the patient’s addiction by ignoring the problem. Other family members might become accusing, angry, and resentful toward their addicted loved one, which only adds to the patient’s stress and self-hate. When the family members take a break and assess their behaviors while their loved one is undergoing addiction therapy, they often identify behaviors that they can adjust to break the cycle.

Family Involvement After Treatment

Loved ones might be surprised to know that recovery is not over when the individual leaves rehab. In fact, in many cases, the real test of sobriety has just begun at this point. Family members, especially those who have diligently participated in family therapy with their loved one, will continue to be a source of support and an important part of relapse prevention. Loved ones will learn in therapy sessions how they can make the home a safe haven for their family member to return to after rehab, and by working to improve relationships, reduce stress, and encourage sober living, families can help the individual put into practice what they learned in rehab. Family involvement after rehab is also important because loved ones can watch for signs of relapse and get help for the person when necessary.

Support for Family and Friends of Addicted Individuals

No one can do this journey to overcome addiction on their own, and families of addicts need support too. Support groups like Al-anon, Alateen, and Nar-anon connect families with other loved ones of addicts to provide further education and support. Loved ones who get help for themselves through support groups or even their own counseling sessions find that they know how to interact with their family member in a positive manner and are better prepared to help them face the challenge of sobriety after rehab.

Just as addiction is a family disease, recovery should be a family journey. The Ridge is a residential treatment facility that specializes in family therapy for loved ones. Contact us today to learn more.