Family Therapy (and Why It Matters to Addiction Recovery)

Why Family Therapy is Important to Recovery

Michelle Rosenker

August 15, 2019

Substance use disorders of all kinds are extremely difficult to live with. Those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol face many challenges each and every day. Their professional lives can crumble before their very eyes and they can struggle to find a means of supporting themselves or anyone else they might be responsible for.

On a personal level, the addict can experience broken relationships, legal troubles, moral and ethical challenges, and significant health problems. When mind-altering substances are being abused, these and other issues can make everyday life impossible to manage. Unfortunately, the person abusing drugs or alcohol is not the only one suffering. That person’s family is also likely to be hurting, too.

How Does Addiction Impact Families?

The disease of addiction is known as a family affliction for various reasons. One of those reasons stems from the fact that many families see several different members struggle with addiction because of the biological components of the disease.

Family members pass on genes to other family members, which can be both good and bad. Some traits that get passed on, such as impulsivity, can predispose a person to abusing addictive substances.

In addition to the biology of a family, the environment the family lives within can also predispose family members to substance abuse. Unhealthy behavioral patterns can trickle down from generation to generation, as can thought processes that hinder emotional intelligence and self-confidence. When both biological and environmental factors work in concert, it can create a perfect storm for families.

Family Therapy

When a family member is struggling with a substance use disorder, there is truly no way of getting around it, no matter who you are. You can put time and effort into keeping yourself out of your family member’s business, but you will not be able to walk away unscathed.

As negative as this sounds, it is unfortunately true. When addiction is active in a family unit, countless consequences can occur, including:

  • Loss of trust
  • Build-up of resentments
  • Emotional trauma
  • Development of anger
  • Increased conflict
  • Break down of relationships
  • Chaotic behaviors

However, family therapy can help bring a family back together and begin mending the broken pieces so that everyone can grow from the experience and move forward.

How Family Therapy Can Help

Anyone affected by addiction in any way can benefit from treatment. Families in particular can struggle with the impact of addiction in ways that require professional treatment.

One of the most common forms of therapy offered in addiction treatment, family therapy is arguably the most important therapy that someone in recovery can participate in. Some of the reasons for this are:

  • Getting sober and maintaining recovery is not easy. It takes an exceptional amount of dedication and hard work to accomplish this, and doing it alone makes it even harder. When a person who is recovering from addiction works to improve the relationships within his or her family, he or she is opening up the opportunity for lifelong support from his or her loved ones. The more support one has, the more likely he or she is to continue to succeed in recovery.
  • Improve communication. So many of the biggest problems in the world come from poor communication. Within families, when someone is actively abusing a mind-altering substance, clear and effective communication goes out of the window, leaving room for destruction. Within family therapy sessions, families can identify and discuss their communication issues in the presence of an experienced professional who can help everyone build better communication skills.
  • Foster understanding. Trying to work out differences and issues without the help of a trained therapist can backfire dramatically, even if everyone is trying their very best. A family therapist can offer information to families about addiction as a disease to help foster better understanding of this condition and re-humanize the family member who has caused the pain. When family members can see past the pain that their loved ones have caused them in an effort to achieve a greater understanding, the process of family therapy tends to go much more smoothly and other areas of concern can be addressed.

Family therapy is also important because it gets families talking again, invites a professional into the mix who can serve as an outside point of view, and offers hope to each family member as they go forward in their journey toward healing.

Why You Should Get Into Family Therapy Today

Everyone should seek treatment when a family member has a substance use disorder because of how easily addiction can infiltrate and destroy lives. Part of that treatment should be family therapy, because with the inclusion of his specific treatment approach, everyone (including the addict) can get the skills needed to improve the overall functionality of the family and begin rebuilding a life worth living.

If you and your family are in need of help, do not allow one more second to pass you by. We can guide you through the verification process and let you know just how much your insurance plan covers addiction treatment. Reach out to JourneyPure in Franklin now to receive the care that you and your loved ones deserve.