Did you know that about 21 million Americans battle at least one addiction? And unfortunately, of this population, only 10% are under treatment. Recovering addicts, whether in treatment or not, go through a lot to get over their illness. The recovering process also takes a toll on the addict’s loved ones. An addict’s family is the first to experience the adverse effects of addiction. Hence, it’s crucial for kin to sit together and find ways to be there for the addict. This article offers some suggestions to help your family heal from addiction– but first, you must understand how different family members cope with the situation.
The Different Roles of Family Members in Addiction Recovery
As addiction takes root in the family unit, dysfunctionality can crop up. Different family members find unique ways to cope with the situation and take up ‘roles’ to this effect.
- The Enabler– this family member excuses the addict’s behavior. They take care of the addict’s responsibilities, such as paying bills and keeping the house clean. The enabler is often in denial and cannot hold the addict accountable for their actions.
- The Mascot- this member uses humor as a coping mechanism. They know they bring momentary relief, so they keep playing antiques to keep everyone amused.
- The Scapegoat– this is usually a child in the family who defies authority and often gets into trouble. The scapegoat carries all the family’s blame and often ends up in trouble with the law as they grow older.
- The Hero- this family member is an overachiever who takes on responsibilities beyond their developmental stage. They are usually the family’s shining star and obsessed with perfection, which they use to overcompensate the family’s dynamics.
How Can You Help Your Family Members?
The first step to helping your recovering family member is to acknowledge that they have a problem. Understand the role you play in the recovery process and find the best ways to assist your kindred.
1. Avoid Enabling
There’s a thin line between supporting your loved one and enabling their addictive behaviors. Find ways to help the addict without making it easier for them to acquire drugs. For example, if your kin has trouble raising their rent, clearing the bills will be better than giving them money, which they can use to finance their lifestyles.
2. Learn About Addiction
If someone close to you is battling addiction, find some time to learn all that you can about the disease. Use the internet to do some worthwhile research and get the facts on addiction. You can also find some helpful information from professionals administering treatment. Learning all that you can about addiction also makes it easier for you to cope with the situation and offer better support.
3. Find Healthier Habits
Returning to normalcy after successfully beating addiction can be scary. You can make the process easier for your family by helping the recovering addict find healthier habits. Look around for activities that you will both enjoy. Besides keeping the person from all the drug talk, finding everyday activities allows you to spend time together. You’ll be surprised at how much progress you can achieve by spending quality time with the addict.
4. Attend Family Therapy
One of the easiest ways of healing as a family is by attending family therapy together. It keeps everyone grounded and helps find the ideal methods for every member to work through the situation. The recovering addict will probably go through individual therapy. However, family therapy is necessary because everyone in the unit is affected by the situation. You cannot downplay the importance of the family in an addict’s healing process. However, addiction causes devastating disruptions in the family unit. However, when family members come together, the path to recovery becomes less treacherous for the addict.
At Familius, we understand how essential it is to heal as a family. We have tons of articles to help you find different ways to strengthen the bonds in your family. Read through our blog for the latest tips on healthier family ties.