Addiction has a wide, devastating area of effect. The focus is often on the addict, but those around the addict are just as affected emotionally. As a family member or close supporter, there are many things you may go through if a loved one is struggling with addiction. You may not even recognize their signs of addiction at first. For a long time, a drinking problem may look like a mostly harmless habit. Maybe their drug use is kept largely secret, and you have a series of unexplained mood swings and apparent malnutrition to deal with. Addiction has many different forms, and it helps to understand addiction to know how to approach the possibility of it in someone you love.
For an addict, the idea of stopping isn’t even going to occur to them unless they suffer serious consequences (a “wake-up call,” if you will) first. These consequences may be financial, legal, personal, or professional. And because you love them, there’s a strong chance you’re going to want to help them and protect them from these consequences.
Convincing A Loved One to Get Help
If you want to help your loved one:
- Get them to admit they have a problem.
- Stage an intervention.
- Get them to understand what their substance abuse is doing to them and their people.
- Convince them to get some treatment. If you’re not sure how to do that, contact us to discuss the situation, and we’ll do our best to give you some strategies to approach your loved one.
Supporting your Loved One During Recovery
Sometimes the worst is over once you’ve gotten your loved one into treatment. Sometimes it isn’t. But either way, your support is as important as ever once they start the process of overcoming addiction.
First off, having your loved one in rehab gives you a chance to reflect on the way addiction has affected your family and how to reshape your life without it. Many people discover that some of the normal things were unintentionally enabling those addictive behaviors.
It’s natural to try and do what you think is best for the people you care about. It may be helpful to speak with your loved one’s addiction counselor to understand how their treatment is going and what you can do to help remove obstacles together on the path to recovery.
Family Therapy and Support
While your loved one is in rehab, it does create something of a burden on the family. Of course, it’s a lighter burden than the addiction itself, and it will get progressively smaller each day.
Families can be complex. Recovery may necessitate mending damaged relationships, examining family bonds, or navigating difficult family histories. Establishing a familial support system and attending therapy together could be the change that helps the addicted person achieve long-term sobriety.
But still, don’t ever feel like your suffering is unimportant. Addiction is hard on everyone, and there are ways for you to get support as well. The recovery process is just as hard on you as it is on the person getting treatment. At Northpoint Seattle, we offer family therapy as part of our treatment programs. As part of this therapy, we encourage families and the addicted individual to attend sessions together as a family unit.
Additional Support and Family Counseling at Northpoint Seattle
You can still get the support you need as a family outside of a rehab facility. That’s why groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Al-Anon/Alateen, and Nar-Anon exist. Al-Anon/Alateen and Nar-Anon are wings of AA and NA that focus specifically on providing support to families of recovering addicts. These groups help you not only understand how to help your loved ones get through their recovery but how to provide ongoing support to keep them clean.
Most importantly, they help you understand and cope with the very natural whirlwind of emotions that is likely to bubble up within you during your loved one’s recovery. It is not unusual for feelings of resentment to arise about the suffering they have caused you, even at the same time as feelings of love and compassion. These groups can help you by connecting you with other people who understand what you’re going through and working through these feelings alongside your loved ones recovering from addiction.
For more information about family group therapy and support groups in your area, contact Northpoint Seattle today at 425.414.3530.