When one person in a family is dealing with an active addiction to alcohol, the whole family is often affected. Many addicts engage in detrimental behaviors such as lying, stealing, and manipulating others to hide or maintain their addiction. These types of behaviors will have a negative impact on the relationship between the addict and family members. Because of this, many rehab centers ask that family members take a great part in the rehab process. So how can visits during residential alcohol treatment help maintain familial relationships? Read on to learn how.
Addiction in the Family
The negative effects of an alcohol addiction typically vary depending on the family. In some families, addiction is an ongoing problem that is passed down from generation to generation. Some families deal with multiple addicts at one time. No matter what the dynamic, you’ll find some common issues among family members who are dealing with an addict. These include:
In households where one parent is struggling with addiction, the other parent may be forced to take on more roles than they are prepared for. If the situation is not addressed, that parent can become frustrated, angry, and exhausted quite quickly. It’s easy for them to feel anger and resentment towards their significant other, no matter how much they love and care for them. Once the addict begins rehab, the other parent will have the chance to talk to them about the situation in a much more appropriate place and time.
If the addict has kids, these children often feel a sense of abandonment and loss. It can be very confusing, especially to a young child, as to why a parent drinks. Many children believe that they are why their parent is drinking in the first place. An older child may be forced to take on some adult responsibilities that they aren’t prepared for, such as caring for a younger sibling. Kids who live with an addict growing up are more likely to have their own problems with substance abuse in the future.
Addiction often causes a person to isolate themselves from their family. Family members may even end up cutting the addict off after a period of lying, stealing, and destructive behaviors. That is why family therapy during rehab is extremely important. Loved ones are always encouraged by the rehab to become as involved as they can during the process of treatment.
Maintaining Familial Roles During Treatment
Most rehab programs will allow their patients to see and talk to their families after a certain period of time. Many have face-to-face family therapy sessions after the patient has successfully detoxed and are ready to face their demons. While it can be very difficult for some people to support an addict who has hurt them, family support will be a huge step towards a successful recovery.
There are many ways a family member can support their loved one while they are in treatment. They can:
• Call or write as often as they can
• Visit when allowed
• Actively participate in family therapy
• Put aside past mistakes
• Help plan for the future
As addicts begin to come to terms with their addiction, they often feel embarrassed and ashamed when they remember their past behavior. Family members often add to these feelings by bringing the past up. For some patients, apologizing and asking for forgiveness for past transgressions is one way to move on with their lives. Family members who forgive their loved ones and provide encouragement will greatly help them gain the self-confidence they need to stay sober.
What to Do Before a Rehab Visit
If you are a family member of an addict in rehab, it is important to educate yourself on what addiction actually is and can do to a person. Learn how and why addiction develops, how it can be treated, and how you can be supportive. There are many local resources that will help with this information.
You may also wish to join your own support group, such as Al-Anon. Addiction doesn’t just affect the addict, and you should always have a support system in place for your own well-being. This will give you the chance to talk about your fears, frustrations, and concerns with others who are dealing with the same thing.
Rehab Can Help
If you or your loved one is ready to begin the process of rehab, we are at your service. Give us a call at 833-364-0736 to talk to a friendly, understanding staff member.