Do you spend your time worrying about your child, sibling, spouse or parent? Are you dreading the day that he or she may be injured, arrested or worse? Perhaps you have already bailed your loved one out of jail or other trouble or tried to offer him or her a place to stay, but now the emotional and financial strain of addiction is just becoming too much. You may want to support your loved one, but know that his or her addiction is impacting your entire family. Do you wish you could figure out the best way to help your family find recovery and healing?
Watching a loved one struggle with addiction can be an isolating, frustrating and helpless experience. Maybe you feel consumed by guilt and wonder if you are, in some way, responsible for your family member’s struggles. You might feel as though your loved one is manipulating you and taking advantage of your concern, but are afraid of what will happen if you stop offering your help. If your family member lives at home, you may be growing exhausted by conflict or his or her unpredictable moods. Perhaps you suspect that your loved one has been stealing from you, or you worry that drug dealers have been coming to your house. Or, maybe your loved one doesn’t live at home, and you never know if he or she is healthy or safe. You may feel as though you are being emotionally held hostage. Perhaps you are exhausted and unsure of what to do.
Many Families Face the Impact of Addiction
Addiction is very common, and people struggle with alcohol or substance abuse for a variety of reasons. Your loved one’s addiction is no one’s fault, and there is no reason for you to blame yourself. Perhaps your loved one was prescribed painkillers and could not stop using them, or perhaps he or she has suffered a trauma or has a genetic predisposition toward addiction. Addiction can affect any family, without warning. No matter what your family is going through, you are not alone.
One person’s addiction can have a deep impact on the entire family. If you are worried about a child, you may wonder what you could have done differently as a parent. Or, if your sibling is struggling, you may want to help while you also battle feelings of resentment. Maybe you wish your spouse or your parent could take care of him or herself, however, you also know that you would do anything to help him or her recover. Addiction can traumatize an entire family, especially if your loved one is living at home. Thankfully, there is a way to find support and healing.
Family Therapy for Addiction Can Help You and Your Loved Ones Move Forward
For 20 years, I have helped people struggling with addiction, and I know how traumatic it can be to watch a loved one battle alcohol and substance abuse. During family therapy for addiction, I can help you develop the skills you need to cope with your loved one’s addiction and take care of yourself. With guidance, you can learn how to set healthy boundaries, let go of guilt and feel empowered to move forward in your life.
In sessions, I can help each family member identify the role he or she has assumed. Does one person feel like a scapegoat while another feels like the hero? I will help you identify roles that may not be healthy or productive. If your loved one is currently struggling with an active addiction, I can also help your family understand and recognize the current behavioral patterns that exist within the family system. If you are working to accommodate a dysfunctional or unsustainable situation, we can work together to figure out a new way to navigate your loved one’s addiction.
You and your family can develop techniques to be more resilient, assertive and confident in your behavior. I can help you set expectations with your loved one so that you can communicate what is acceptable and what is not. You can stop taking responsibility for your loved one’s behaviors and allow yourself to take a step back.
If your loved one joins the sessions, it is important that he or she is sober. During family therapy for addiction, you can learn how to best support your loved one’s continued recovery. And, your loved one can begin to take responsibility for his or her actions so that you can stop blaming yourself. Familial support can be key to lasting recovery, and I can help you provide the most effective support possible.
I am a goal-oriented therapist who is dedicated to helping you and your family live the best possible life. In sessions, I will ask you to envision your best life and the obstacles that are currently in your way. You can overcome those obstacles and move toward a brighter future. I can help you learn how to let go with compassion and love. Addiction can wreak havoc on the entire family, but you don’t have to live the rest of your life under its weight. If your loved one is not ready to heal, you don’t have to wait in pain anymore. You and your family don’t have to feel controlled by addiction forever. With help, you can rebuild your relationships and feel hopeful again.
You may believe that family therapy for addiction can help your family heal from the pain of addiction, but still have questions or concerns…
If I stop helping my loved one, I am afraid that he or she will get hurt or even die.
Right now, the status quo probably isn’t working. Although you are trying to support your loved one, you may be unintentionally enabling his or her behavior. Without professional treatment, his or her addiction will only get worse. By taking a step back and letting go of self-blame, you can give your loved one the opportunity to truly heal.
I am ashamed of admitting that my family member is facing an addiction.
It is very common for people to struggle with denial and to want to avoid the reality of their loved one’s addiction. You may feel ashamed of admitting it to yourself, let alone talking about it with others. But, you have nothing to feel ashamed of. In therapy, you can learn how to let go of shame and the other feelings that may be holding you back. I will never judge you for anything that you share during family therapy for addiction. And, once you have begun to let go of shame, you can begin to find healing from the traumatic experience of witnessing addiction firsthand.
My loved one is resistant toward family therapy for addiction.
You may be worried that your loved one will not be able to face the challenges of life without drugs or alcohol. But, I invite you to consider if you might be deeming your loved one incapable of change before he or she has had a chance to try. By taking a step back, you can give your loved one the opportunity to work toward his or her own recovery.
Even if your loved one refuses to seek treatment or join in family therapy for addiction, the rest of your family can still benefit from counseling. You can learn how to decrease co-dependency, set healthy boundaries and support one another through this difficult time. If everyone comes together and agrees to stop any enabling behavior, your loved one will be forced to change something. And, your whole family can begin to heal from the pain of addiction.
Rebecca Klasfeld is happy to answer any questions about family therapy for addiction and her practice. You are invited to call 561-441-9933 for a free phone consultation. Your family doesn’t have to cope with the effects of addiction alone.