Finding Help for Families
When someone you love becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, the whole household is affected. Substance use disorder creates chaos, impacts relationships, and turns lives upside-down. That’s why it’s so important to find help for families of addicts. Here are a few ways to connect with resources as your loved one navigates active addiction, treatment, and recovery.
Learning About Addiction
The first step is to learn more about addiction. While many people consider this disorder to be a choice or a moral issue, it’s actually classified as a medical condition. The American Medical Association has classified alcoholism as a disease since the 1950s, and they modified their definition to include drug dependencies in the 1980s. This means that substance use disorder can’t be overcome by willpower alone; it’s a complex issue requiring professional medical care. Learning the facts about addiction will help your whole family to manage their expectations, understand the situation, and create a clear path to resolution.
Next, you need to find people who can support your family during this difficult time. Building community is an integral part of reducing stress, connecting with others, and asking for help when you need it.
Most people with addicted loved ones are embarrassed about what is happening. They cover for the other person, make excuses, and protect friends and family from potentially painful realizations. However, there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Your loved one is sick right now, and you are not responsible for their choices. You also can’t control what they do. However, you can make decisions that benefit your entire family. Being transparent with your relatives and close confidants will empower you to get the assistance you need.
Loved ones can help you and the addicted person by:
- Providing childcare during difficult times
- Helping around the house when you’re overwhelmed
- Participating in an intervention
- Refusing to enable the addict by providing money or resources
- Adhering to your plan for intervention, treatment, and recovery
Finding Support in Your Area
You’ll also want to find people in your community who understand addiction first-hand. You can achieve this by attending Al-Anon meetings, finding a support group, or joining a faith-based organization.
When someone you love is addicted, one of the worst consequences is the intense sense of loneliness and isolation. Fortunately, 12-Step groups are an amazing source of help for families of addicts. In these settings, you can openly discuss the events of the past few days, weeks, or years—all without fear of judgment. You’ll also hear stories from other families just like yours. Participating in such groups can provide the structure, social connection, and perspective you need during this difficult time.
Family Recovery Programming
Once your loved one agrees to seek treatment, be sure that the whole family gets involved. Recovery programming is crucial for the entire family unit—not just the person with a substance use disorder. In these sessions, each person gets to explore the role addiction has played in their lives. Facilitators will open up a dialogue between relatives, who can express the thoughts they’ve been suppressing up to this point.
Recovery programming may also be more indirect. Equine therapy and adventure-based activities are great examples of hands-on methods for unpacking and addressing trauma. When your family is treated, you can rest assured that you are doing the work required to break unhealthy patterns, improve communication, and prepare for a happy life in recovery.
Help for Families at The Last Resort
The Last Resort offers comprehensive care for people with substance use disorder and their families. We believe that in order for healing to last, every member of the family unit must be treated. Through family therapy, regular visits, and educational programming, residents and their loved ones begin the journey to lifelong sobriety.
To learn more about help for families, contact The Last Resort.