In this post, we discuss the many benefits that can be had when you invest in family therapy during your drug or alcohol rehab programme.
Family therapy is primarily beneficial because it acknowledges addiction harms the entire family, which is true.
When you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, exposing your family members to traumatic experience becomes the norm, and it’s entirely unrealistic for you to expect this trauma to disappear merely because you are no longer using drugs or drinking alcohol.
Addiction is often termed a ‘disease of the mind’. We would like to extend this term to describing addiction as a ‘disease of family life’.
In fact, we would go as far as saying that any drug and alcohol rehab programme that doesn’t incorporate some element of family therapy is fundamentally flawed.
Getting into recovery and then staying there takes hard work. In fact, you will always need to work on your recovery for the rest of your life if you expect to retain it. The same goes for family therapy. It takes hard work to mend loving relationships that were damaged by addiction. Family therapy is just one of many ways you may attempt to mend these relationships.
Benefit from a strong support network
If you are going to make your recovery work, you will benefit from a strong family support network. Many people in recovery are disowned by many of their loved ones because their loved ones didn’t benefit from family therapy. When these people require family support, it isn’t available for these reasons.
This is particularly problematic if the person in recovery suffers a relapse. A lack of family support may mean the person is unable to regain their recovery because they simply do not have this support.
Whilst some people may manage fine without family support, countless others will not. If you want to strengthen your recovery by virtue of the fact that you have access to family support, it’s important for you to consider undergoing family therapy.
If you haven’t gone into rehab yet, insist on attending a rehab clinic that offers family therapy as part of their core programme. This means you will not be expected to pay any more money in order to access family therapy services.
Mistrust is one of the many negative hallmarks of addiction. When you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, you will lie to your loved ones about many different things related to your addiction. Thus, addiction and mistrust go hand-in-hand to another.
One key goal of family therapy is to help participants regain your trust. Regaining your trust will likely take months, if not years. Family therapy may be viewed as the initial catalyst for initial trust building to take place.
Whilst you are using drugs or drinking alcohol, it’s unlikely you will listen to your loved one’s concerns about your lying. You may assume that your lies are actually being believed, even though your loved ones make it clear that they do not believe 95% of what you say.
Family therapy provides a platform where you can begin to actually listen and understand your loved one’s concerns about your behaviour. Family therapy may be the first occasion where you and your family are able to openly talk and actually listen to one another.
It is equally likely that your loved ones do not listen to you, because they are too quick to dispel what you say as the ramblings of a drug addict or alcoholic. Family therapy will also provide you with a voice that’s going to get heard. For instance, your family may not fully understand your conscious reasons for resorting to drug and alcohol use.
The discussion that takes place during a family therapy session provides the bedrock on which trust may be cultivated.
Helping your family members understand addiction
Addiction is often described as a disease. If addiction is truly a disease, then those affected by addiction cannot be morally culpable for their addiction.
Family therapy often takes the form of ‘workshops’. These workshops aren’t technically ‘therapeutic’, but rather educational in manner. Family therapy workshops aim to educate your family about addiction i.e. how addiction affects the brain and the common underlying emotional and genetic causes of addiction.
These workshops ensure your family members are not ignorant about the science of addiction. Often, family members will become much more sympathetic to what you are going through once they have learned about addiction in these workshops.
Addiction is often described as a ‘negative coping mechanism’. This means people affected by addiction choose to take drugs to mask deeper mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic-stress-disorder. Educational workshops help your family members understand these facts that often surround addiction.
Address the elephant in the room
It’s probably the case that your family members will understand the emotional issues that fuel your addiction. However, for a variety of reasons, they may simply be unwilling to openly discuss these issues. You, likewise, may be unwilling to discuss your emotions openly with your family members. This may simply be because you are too embarrassed to do so.
Family therapy allows you and your family members to address these emotional ‘elephants in the room’ in a controlled and constructed environment.
Getting help today
At Rehab Recovery, we strongly believe that addiction isn’t suffered in isolation by a single person. Instead, we believe addiction is a disease that affects the entire family unit. We thus believe its important for drug and alcohol rehab treatments to incorporate a significant portion of family therapy.
To discover which particular rehab clinics in the UK offer a significant family therapy offering, contact ADT Healthcare today on 0800 088 66 86.
Keith stopped using drugs and drinking alcohol more than 10 years ago. He now spends a lot of time writing and editing content for this website. His mission is to assist people who are also looking to embrace addiction recovery. Keith believes a key way to accomplish this goal is through his writing.