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The Role of Alcohol Recovery and Family Support
With alcohol recovery, family support is critical. Alcohol addiction is something that deeply affects the family members of the person who is addicted. It is imperative that those in recovery also have support from their family.
Often, family members play an important role in treatment as well as recovery. The same is true for those dealing with opiate addiction and other types of addiction.
How Does Addiction Affect Families?
Before exploring the links between alcohol recovery and family support, it is helpful to understand the impact of addiction on relationships with family, friends, and partners. Addiction is a chronic disease that affects relationships and breeds conflict. When someone is addicted to alcohol or other substances, they stop prioritizing their relationships and ignore responsibilities.
The use of the substance they are addicted to becomes their main priority. They are not able to fully experience emotions, including happiness and love, when they are inactive in addiction. Family and loved ones of someone with an addiction often state that they don’t recognize the addicted person any longer.
Signs of Addiction
When someone struggles with an addiction, their behavior may be out of control. Their use of alcohol or drugs is compulsive. As a chronic disease, addiction requires professional treatment to overcome. Some of the signs of addiction that family and loved ones might see include:
- Fighting over substance use.
- Arguing about money.
- The addicted person may steal or make excuses for his or her behavior.
- It is not uncommon for someone in active addiction to show signs of abuse and violence.
- Someone with an addiction disorder may isolate themselves from loved ones.
- Relationships become centered around the substance.
- Deception is a key part of addiction, which has a damaging effect on relationships.
- Someone who is addicted to alcohol might engage in risky behavior, such as having affairs or
The longer an addiction goes untreated, the more damage it can inflict on relationships. Lies may become more detailed, and the trust that relationships are built-in can become completely eroded.
Understanding the Family’s Role in the Recovery Process
Family and recovery are two things that can and should go hand-in-hand. Since addiction affects family dynamics so deeply, recovery is needed for the loved ones of someone in recovery, as well. Loved ones must learn how to re-establish trust and communication. It is challenging, but it is also possible.
Before you can get to that point with alcohol recovery and family support, you may have to identify your own role in the addiction itself. There are common roles family members may play in someone else’s addiction. These include:
- The Savior Hero is the person who never wants to let anyone down. They try to overcompensate for the shame the family feels by being an overachiever. They may be in denial and feel empty themselves.
- The Mascots someone who often uses humor to try and alleviate the stress of their family dealing with addiction. Humor can become a negative coping skill.
- The Lost Child is a role for someone who only wants to keep their emotions hidden and avoid conflict at all costs.
- The Scapegoat may create their own problems in an attempt to deflect attention away from the central issue in the family, which is the person with the addiction.
- An Enabler makes excuses for the person with an addiction and does not hold that person accountable. They try anything they can to prevent the addicted person from experiencing the negative consequences of their actions. This can delay or prevent recovery.
What Should the Family’s Role in the Recovery Process Be?
First, when talking about alcohol recovery and family support, it is critical that you get help if you need it. It is very difficult to deal with the consequences of someone else’s addiction, and you are not alone. You are likely dealing with the deep effects of addiction. You cannot help someone else if you are not helping yourself. Seek therapy and support, and find someone to talk to about your own feelings.
Family members will often repress what they feel, and that does nothing to benefit their loved one’s recovery. It is normal to feel resentment and many other emotions. Find ways to work through them. If you participate in treatment, it can also help you be better prepared to be the support system you need to be for your loved one.
Beyond that, the following are some other ways you can begin to understand the family’s role in the recovery process.
Know That Treatment is not a Cure-All
Treatment is necessary, but it is not going to fix everything overnight. Addiction is a progressive, chronic disease. Set realistic expectations for when your loved one returns from treatment.
Even once a treatment program is completed, you and your loved one may face issues such as debt and financial problems that accumulated during active addiction. Your loved one may need to find new steady employment, and they may suffer ongoing health issues. You will all also be doing the difficult work of rebuilding trust and your relationship.
Remain Involved and Supportive
With alcohol recovery, family support is crucial. You may have to implement changes in your own lifestyle to provide the necessary support to your loved one. That might mean that your household becomes alcohol-free, for example. Your loved one will need a healthy, supportive environment to reduce triggers and temptations. When your loved one returns home from treatment, they will likely feel lonely, and you can help them.
Find Your Own Support System
When it comes to alcohol recovery, family support also means that you are getting support for your own needs. Focus on healthy activities and building a support system where you can share your struggles. You might participate in a 12-step program for family and loved ones of those in recovery like Al-Anon, for example.
Learn About Relapse
Relapse can and often does happen when someone is in recovery. By learning more about relapse and what triggers it, as well as the possible warning signs, you may be better prepared to help your loved one avoid this painful process.
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Final Thoughts—Alcohol Recovery and Family Support
Family and recovery are deeply related. The family’s role in the recovery process is challenging but invaluable. If you would like to learn more about how you can help your loved one, including with intervention and finding a treatment program that will work for their needs, contact Resurgence Behavioral Health today.
We often work with family members whose loved ones may or may not be ready for treatment. We can help you learn more about the available treatment programs, what a treatment plan might look like, and we can help verify insurance coverage. It is never too late to rebuild your family following addiction, and Resurgence Behavioral Health is here to help you do that.