Have you or a loved one just gone through detox or rehab? If so, we at Oasis Recovery understand how much the effects of addiction can put a strain on the family. It can be quite difficult to mend what has been broken, particularly for members of your family that you care about the most. With that being said, with a bit of effort and patience on your part, rebuilding a relationship is something that usually can be done. Let’s take a moment to talk about how addiction affects the family, and what can be done to bring healing.
Effects of Addiction on the Family
Many people think of addiction as being a personal experience. But the truth is that spouses, children, and parents often bear the brunt of the experience. Homes that were otherwise peaceful can become divided by the stress caused by drug and alcohol abuse. When children use drugs, conflict becomes the norm as parents try to get them to stop. All sense of trust begins to disappear. Marriages can end up in divorce.
Family members may watch their loved ones be out of touch under the influence of drugs, or fly off the handle under the influence of alcohol. Others may watch their relatives wasting away as they have stopped eating due to drug use. Some may find out that a loved one is living on the street or has died due to an overdose.
Children who have parents who abuse drugs or alcohol suffer from long-term effects. They are three times more likely to be abused or neglected. They are often forced to see violence and aggression, due to a parent’s drinking. Growing up in a home where drug use is going on can cause a child to feel unsafe, which may cause them to become emotionally and mentally unstable.
Reach Out and Get in Touch
It is going to take some guts to reach out and get in touch with people who may have severed their ties with you. For those who are going through recovery, having to seek out those people they have hurt or disappointed can be difficult. This is particularly challenging, depending on how you have let them down.
You may feel vulnerable and shameful at the prospect of recreating a relationship with someone who has cut you out of their life. Logically, you may be afraid that they will not reciprocate your warm feelings. You also may feel embarrassed to have to face the consequences of how you treated them.
The key to rebuilding relationships is to try and see both sides of the coin. Allowing both sides to be heard and working on understanding each other is necessary to make amends. Only after this happens can both parties come together.
With that being said, it is important to understand that not every relationship can be fixed from the problems that you may have caused during your addiction. Some damage cannot be fixed and accepting that is sometimes necessary for growth and healing. If a relationship is beyond repair, simply make peace with the situation and grow from it.
Give It Some Time
If you are just beginning your recovery journey, it might be hard to convince your family that you are being genuine when you say you want to repair broken relationships. This is particularly true if your family has heard your false promises and excuses before.
Don’t be discouraged if your family isn’t receptive at first to your attempts to fix things. They may emotionally distance themselves for a while to protect their own feelings.
It is important to remember that rebuilding someone’s trust is something that takes time. Give the situation some time and patience. Their receptiveness will likely grow over time. Living well and staying clean will help immensely.
Accept That Things Are Different Now
One challenge that you will have to conquer is to accept that when that family member comes around to trust you again, your relationship with them will still be different than it was before. Relationships have to be relearned, with boundaries that encourage recovery, instead of enabling negative habits. Establishing these boundaries is necessary in order to help the relationship heal. Believing that things have changed for the better is critical in repairing family relationships during recovery.
Family Therapy Can Help
The right time for family therapy is when the individual in treatment for addiction has shown progress in recovery. This is generally a few months after treatment has begun, at least. Timing is important because the individual in recovery needs to remain stable in their manner of thinking and behaving. They must not fall into old patterns or make excuses.
One goal of family therapy is to have the family give support to the person in treatment for addiction, to help avoid relapse. The other goal is to strengthen the family as a whole so that everyone in the family can flourish. Letting go of negative emotions is key.
A family therapy session may be conducted by a psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, licensed family therapist, or clergy. Whoever it is, must have legal and professional requirements for working as a family therapist. Sessions may last around an hour.
Your family therapist may refer you out to other sources of help. This may include classes such as individual counseling, parenting, or anger management for example.
Continuing Your Journey at Oasis Recovery
Whether you are just beginning rehab or you have already been through it, we at Oasis Recovery understand how challenging the effects of addiction on the family can be. However, as mentioned, one of the best ways you can rebuild trust with your loved ones is to continue to stay clean. That is just one of the reasons we are here for you. We will guide you with the tools that you need to avoid relapsing. Please don’t hesitate to contact us, wherever you are on your journey to sobriety.