Addiction wasn't recognized as a disorder or chronic disease until about the 1950s. Even after that, addiction continued to be a taboo topic. Mental illness, in general, has been a subject people don't like talking about. People spent decades suffering silently instead of seeking treatment and making their way to a better life all along. Thankfully, individuals are much more inclined to speak out about their struggles with addiction. Nevertheless, it can be difficult to help people understand it. It can be especially difficult to help our families understand it.
Many times, addiction causes individuals to hurt the people they love because of the decisions they make while suffering from addiction. This might explain why it can be harder for them to understand and accept the disorder. It can even be difficult for an individual to understand their addiction. However, upon leaving treatment, you can have a better understanding of your addiction. With your newfound knowledge, you can further help your family understand your addiction better and how they can help support you in your recovery too. Having the support of your family during recovery can make a world of difference, which is why it's so important they be more cognizant as well.
The Impact of Addiction on Families
Addiction is a mental disorder that affects the lives of everyone closest to you. According to an article from the Social Work in Public Health Journal on the impact of substance use disorder (SUD) on families and children, addiction can lead families to have "unmet developmental needs, impaired attachment, economic hardship, legal problems, emotional distress, and sometimes violence." Children that grow up in an environment of addiction can also be at a greater risk of suffering from addiction later on in life. The way your family feels about your addiction will influence your recovery, which is why educating them is so important.
The effects of addiction are dependent on each member of the family. For children, it can affect their development and mental health and put them in danger of suffering from physical and mental abuse or neglect. Members of your family may also have a difficult time trusting you again. They may also struggle with the financial backlashes of addiction. However, with time, recovery can heal the damages caused by addiction. Most issues can be worked on throughout your recovery, and there are steps to take that make the process smoother.
What You Can Do to Reconnect With Your Family
Though the education of your family is essential, family therapy can be an effective tool as well. A therapist or counselor can play a significant role in mediation. During a session, your therapist can help you explain what kind of support you need in maintaining recovery or discussing boundaries that you may need to set. Individual therapy will help you maintain your recovery, but it can also help you strategize the best method to approach the topic with your family. Every situation and family is unique, but professional intervention may help clear the path to reconnect with your family in recovery.
There are also resources that your family can utilize to become assets in your support network. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides resources for families and those suffering from addiction that make having difficult conversations easier. SAMHSA indicates that family support significantly helps loved ones suffering from mental illnesses like addiction. Education is also important for other family members who are predisposed to suffering from similar disorders or addiction.
Putting Treatment Tools to Use
Aside from resources, therapy options, or support groups, the tools learned during treatment are invaluable to your recovery process. At The Ohana Addiction Treatment Center, one of our goals is to help our clients feel supported long after leaving the facility. During treatment at The Ohana, you will be given several tools to utilize throughout your recovery. These tools can help you in the long run with assisting your family to better understand your addiction and what they can do to offer you support in maintaining your sobriety.
The treatment center where you begin your recovery process should make you feel more than welcome to reach out to the professionals who helped teach you the tools to recover. At The Ohana, we strive to ensure that each client leaves as a part of our ohana. If you are still struggling to help your family understand your addiction, consider seeking professional methods to further educate them. Having the support of your family can be a game-changer, and despite your mistakes, you more than deserve it.