For Family Members
Having a loved one in active addiction can be a difficult time and realizing you are not alone is a step in the right direction. The disease of addiction not only affects the family member, but also the family. A family session may offer insight into the disease of addiction, how it has affected the individual and relationships with family members. Our clinicians work with the client to determine if a family session is appropriate along with engagement with family members. Some topics of discussion could include setting healthy boundaries with a loved one, aftercare placement, accountability, and family dynamics. You may be asked to fill out a worksheet to prepare for the family session asking questions such as:
1: How has my addiction affected this relationship.
2: What I need in this relationship.
3: What am I willing to work on changing in this relationship.
4: What I like and love about you.
5: What I like and love about myself. Healthy communication and accountability are essentials in recovering families.
One of the most difficult aspects of the disease of addiction is self-delusion. Persons with addictive disorders are unable to see themselves or their life circumstances realistically. Addicts/alcoholics are often in a world of their own. Denial is a psychological mechanism that prevents the chemically dependent person from feeling or seeing the reality of addiction. Denial can lead to lies, excuses, deceptions and pretensions to mask, cover up, and to protect their addiction.
This behavior becomes a way of life and often addicts/alcoholics are unable to perceive reality because it has become so painful.
In group treatment, our goal is to help our patients to recognize and discard their defense systems. This will enable the patient to acquire a more accurate self-image. Seeing oneself through the eyes of their peers presents the patient with an image of himself/herself that is not attainable through an introspective process.
Recovery is almost entirely the patient’s responsibility. Recognition of the problem is essential for recovery. We are often unable to truly see ourselves. In group treatment, patients are able to see themselves through the reflection of their peers. Building trust is essential and is a process that takes time. It develops when one’s words match their behavior. In group patients are taught to share his/her feelings and thoughts. Defenses are often broken down by the truth delivered in a loving and caring way. Most suffering from addiction are badly out of touch with their feelings and are hard wired to avoid pain.
In group, one often discovers that they are not alone. One of the major ploys/attacks of the disease is to isolate the chemically dependent person. One cannot withstand the burden of addiction alone. Groups assist addicts to identify with each other through shared experiences. As trust increases, we start to share our fears, needs, hope, love, sadness, failures, dreams, etc. This is a new level of connecting to reality and identifying with our true self.
One of the major goals of group treatment is to develop intimacy; addicts/alcoholics know no intimacy while in addiction. Intimacy is a need. Without it we not only fail to thrive, but we start dying. In group, patients are given the opportunity to let others in. We are starting on a journey called living; we begin to feel empathy and join the human race.
When in active addiction, we are blind and at best self-deluded. Group is a vehicle that brings us back to the living and moves us into the process of recovery.
Individual therapy helps addicted individuals explore and develop effective coping mechanisms to deal with the problems associated with their alcohol and drug use. It offers an opportunity to explore how negative thought processes can fuel addictive behavior to assist the individual in identifying ways to begin to change these patterns. Individual therapy also allows further exploration of other barriers to recovery.
If your family member seeks out to setup a family session, we strongly encourage you to accept. The safe open dialog can often lead to better communication, ability to set firm healthy boundaries and share how the individual's addition has impacted you and other family members. You are also welcome to reach out to us if your loved one is in our facility and request a family session.