It is no secret that families play an integral part in the addiction recovery process. In 12-step parlance, a person's success in recovery requires reconciling with or making amends for past and present harms done to loved ones, while also recognizing the relationship of these events and patterns of tension to his or her addiction. In the same way, the family needs to recover from the loved one’s addiction as well.
Addiction treatment programs are now starting to recognize this and strive to incorporate family recovery along with the individual’s recovery process. This process allows both parties to better understand and cope with the tumultuous presence of addiction in their lives.
Resolving Past Family Conflicts During Addiction Recovery
Addiction treatment may require the sufferer to look closely at his or her life prior to addiction. While family input is only typically required in youth addiction treatment, getting family members to share their perspective in adult treatment may also be critical and widely encouraged.
Without the family members’ input, there is an incomplete understanding of the past for the individual who is overcoming addiction and a missed opportunity for family members to healthily discharge some of their own resentments. It’s important to remember, however, that addressing the past between the person struggling with addiction and their loved ones is best done with the support and guidance of addiction professionals.
During inpatient addiction treatment, family members may regain some normalcy in their lives as the individual with the addiction begins to recover away from home. However, by coming together with family during the treatment process, family members and the individual who is recovering can safely rely upon each other in a clinical setting as they resolve their outstanding issues and make plans for a future relationship. Family members may be strongly supportive and very concerned about the person who struggles with addiction's treatment program and progress. When families reunite during recovery, family members can come to understand the nature of addiction find some relief in seeing their loved ones aim for change.
Almost all recovery methods recommend addressing the family’s role in the past, present, and future of the recovering person’s life. The Big Book of AA even dedicates an entire chapter to counseling families of recovering people to help them understand the mind, patterns of behavior, and changes in their loved ones, along with information on the risk factors and potential triggers for the person who is recovering.
With such information alongside practical experience, most treatment facilities encourage regulated collaboration between the person who is recovering and the family members in order to construct a solid plan for their relationships after treatment ends.