Suffering from addiction to drugs or alcohol has a massive impact on your life. No matter how isolated you may feel while suffering from addiction, the effects stretch far beyond your own personal experience. Suffering from an addiction affects everyone – family, friends, and even professional peers. Often, the family takes the brunt of this distress without the addict even being aware of it. Fortunately, recovery can also ripple out and improve the wellbeing of the entire family.
When a family member is suffering from addiction, it is common to have many different, often conflicting emotions. Members of the family aren’t just experiencing frustration or sadness, but usually a combination of both. They may feel a need to protect their loved ones while also harboring anger or resentment towards the addicted person.
It is possible to feel hope for their recovery while also feeling personally attacked. These complex emotions are challenging to synthesize due to their conflicting natures. However, family members often don’t have an outlet in which to explore their feelings about the topic due to the fragile nature of addiction.
Destruction of Safety at Home
The home should be a place of stability and safety for all of the members of the family. However, the atmosphere of addiction can compromise that safety. When someone is suffering from an addiction, it often feels as if the home has paper-thin walls as the family is left walking on eggshells.
This leads to a lack of confrontation about the issue, and also leaves the family with no outlet for their own complicated feelings. Communication can begin to break down during this experience. Everyone feels stuck at an impasse, taking a mental and emotional toll on everyone there.
Deterioration of Trust
Trust is an essential part of any relationship and is required if things like communication are to be productive. As trust begins to deteriorate, suspicion and doubt can set in for all members of the family. If someone is doubting what another says, it contributes to the lack of communication. It also leads to feelings of resentment as people may not understand or agree with specific parameters put in place for the person suffering from addiction.
Pent-up emotions can explode into outbursts. Trust is much easier lost than gained. As trust breaks down, it affects not just the relationship with the person suffering, but also instills an air of general mistrust. This poisonous atmosphere affects all interfamilial affairs, regardless of whether the addict is present or not.
Unified Families Support the Recovery
As a family is fractured by addiction, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy of difficulties. For a person suffering from addiction, a fragmented family can cause even more stress and intensify their drinking or using. While maintaining a unified front is challenging, it is the only way forward. For the addicted person, it requires openness about the difficulties and vulnerabilities that they are experiencing.
For the family members, it requires a significant degree of self-care, and willingness to truly listen to the trials that the addicted family member is facing. From this point, they need to make an effort to understand the recovery process. A family united creates a strong front against a common enemy – the addiction itself, and not the afflicted person.
A family that can come together in this painful experience will become all the stronger for it. Staying unified is about much more than helping the person with their recovery. It is about taking care of the family as a whole – recognizing the importance of each member and acknowledging how the addiction affects them individually. Love and trust are vital components of the recovery process.
New traditions and love can be born from the unity that active recovery demands. Everyone is involved in recovery in some way. It is then the family’s goal to restore and come together for the betterment of every member.
If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction and are ready to take that first step as a unit, contact The Emerge Center for Addiction Recovery today. Providing a new take on group therapy and equine treatment, Emerge encourages each person to explore their own vulnerabilities and provides guidance as you develop your personal goals and definitions of success. Each journey to recovery is different for each person and family. Emerge is ready to instill the skills needed to have a safe and meaningful recovery from an addiction, as well as restore the family. For more information on their various programs or horses for their equine treatment, contact The Emerge Center for Addiction Recovery at 888.273.8624. Or, set up a free 30-minute consultation on how recovery at The Emerge Center for Addiction Recovery may look for you.