Addiction is an ugly disease that can affect families for generations. We know that addiction can be genetic and how it can create toxic family dynamics. Often when an individual struggles with addiction, one of their parents, sometimes both, struggled with addiction. In fact, about half of all addiction is genetic, but learned behavior and social influence can also increase the likelihood of it developing. This is why addiction is often referred to as the “family disease.”
Addiction also does not just affect the individual that is struggling with the disease, its arms reach throughout the network of family and friends. It can be hard for those on the outside who want to help, but have to tiptoe the line of support or enabling. Loved ones can also reach a breaking point where they feel like they can no longer trust the person and have to remove themselves from their life.
What is the Goal of Family Therapy?
When you seek treatment for an addiction, the family dynamic issues don’t magically disappear. Not only is addiction treatment necessary, but treating the relationships, whether family or friends, is also vital to recovery. Repairing trust issues and broken relationships takes time. With the help of family therapy, not only can the individual help overcome their addiction, but the family can begin to heal. An unhealthy family dynamic can be detrimental to an individual’s sobriety.
The main purpose of family therapy in addiction recovery is to get the family members talking to each other. Family therapy provides a safe area to establish communication, and talk openly and productively rather than placing blame. Family therapy teaches the tools for positive communication so that even after treatment, families are able to properly communicate with one another.
Family therapy will give both you and your family greater insight into addiction, help you reestablish trust and understanding, as well as make it easier for you to communicate how they can support you during your sobriety. Developing these lines of communication and this new openness gives you constructive ways of expressing your anger or frustration as well as what you may be struggling with.
What You Can Expect from Family Therapy
When you think of family therapy you might be picturing something similar to an intervention setting, some crying, some shouting, some bored. But we promise, family therapy is rarely as dramatic as that. The environment created by Full Circle Recovery is a calm, welcoming, environment where individuals can speak openly and honestly.
Family therapy also doesn’t have to be limited to family. Many individuals will bring close friends or coworkers, or anyone they feel like their addiction has harmed, and want to make amends.
The length of family therapy will depend on the state of the relationships that are being repaired. Some sessions will be one on one with the individual struggling and one of their loved ones with the therapist present, and some will be a small group setting. It’s important to remember that this setting is designed for the family to learn to understand addiction better and communicate in a healthy way, not to gang up on each other.
Family therapy can be an incredible resource to help repair splintered relationships. It’s a vital part of the addiction recovery process. To learn more about family therapy at Full Circle Recovery, call 951-737-6199 and see how we can help.
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Written by: Nicole Weisbrich