Sometimes addiction makes it hard for families to reconcile long after the chronic, debilitating illness itself ends. Regardless of the drug of choice (DOC), it has a profound impact on your brain, causing you to say and do things that inflict emotional pain on your loved ones, especially those closest to you. This is why addiction family support groups can be very beneficial for healing afterward.
Understanding the Importance of Addiction Family Support Groups
Addiction is sometimes referred to as a family disease. This is because when your loved one is facing addiction, you may feel alone and possibly even angry with yourself. If you’re their parent or spouse, you may even feel like you’ve failed them. Finding support plays a vital part in understanding your family member’s illness while also easing your anxieties and frustrations. These groups exist to help you heal from the dysfunction that’s caused by addiction. Research also shows that these groups increase the likelihood that loved ones will seek help and maintain long-term sobriety.
How Addiction Affects Your Entire Family
Everyone (e.g., family members, coworkers, friends) who share in the life of an addict is impacted by their addiction. Here are a few of the ways this happens:
- The home environment becomes toxic as family members grow co-dependent with one another and act as enablers for the person in addiction.
- Trust and communication break down as arguments become the common way of communicating.
- Family members focus on supporting the person with the addiction instead of supporting one another.
Expectations of Addiction Family Support Groups
Many groups follow steps that are similar to the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Typically they’ll meet as a group in a variety of settings (e.g., in a community building, online, private therapist offices, church, lodge, or hospital rooms). Here your addiction family support group will share stories about how each person is struggling with their family member’s addiction. During these meetings, you may choose to share painful stories and memories about your family members.
When someone new joins the addiction family support group, they’ll take a moment to introduce themselves at the beginning of the meeting. In doing so, you’ll have the opportunity to state your name and any other information you’d like to share. This allows people to include you in their conversations after the meeting, so you feel more included. The hope here is that, eventually, you’ll feel more comfortable opening up and talking with the group.
Allowing for Family Support Throughout Addiction
Families need to form a strong, compassionate support system for their loved ones who are in recovery so that they can avoid relapsing. While there are several things you can do to help your loved one (e.g., learn about the disease, avoid stigma), one of the most important things for you to do is to understand that you can’t help someone struggling with addiction on your own. You need support from an addiction family support group like those at Mission Addiction in Dayton, OH. So when you’re ready to reach out for support, reach out to us.