It is no secret that families play an integral part of the addict’s recovery process. In many cases, the future success of the addict 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. However, 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 striving to incorporate family recovery along with the individual addict’s recovery process. This process allows both parties to better understand and cope with the tumultuous presence of addiction in their lives.
Blast From the Past
Universally, addiction treatment requires the addict to look closely at his or her life prior to addiction. While family input is only typically required in youth recovery, getting family members to share their perspective in adult recovery is also critical and widely encouraged. Without the family members’ input, there is an incomplete understanding of the patient’s past 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 loved ones and the addict is best done with the support and guidance of addiction professionals.
Both addicts and family members need one another to complete the treatment cycle and begin the recovery process. Typically, during recovery, family members regain some normalcy to their lives as the addict recovers in another location. However, by bringing together both parties during the treatment process, family members and the addict can safely rely upon each other in a clinical setting as they resolve their outstanding issues and make plans for a future relationship. In most cases, family members are strongly supportive and very concerned about the addict’s treatment program and progress. Reuniting families with their recovering loved one helps them fully understand the nature of addiction and allows them to find some relief in seeing their loved ones aim for change.
The Family and the Future
Almost every recovery method recommends addressing the family’s role in the past, present and future of the recovering addict’s life. The Big Book of AA even dedicates an entire chapter to counseling families of recovering alcoholics 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 addict.
With such information alongside practical experience, most treatment facilities encourage regulated collaboration between the addict and the family members in order to construct a solid plan for their relationships after treatment ends.