The complexities of substance abuse can be tough to understand. For family members and friends of those struggling with addiction, it may be difficult to relate. This is especially the case if they have never struggled with substance abuse.

A lack of understanding can sometimes create tension or false assumptions. Relationships can be strained due to addiction, even once the journey to recovery has begun. Below are a few examples of how conflict can arise when family members or loved ones are uninformed.

Blame and Guilt

When a parent, sibling, spouse, or friend sees their loved one struggling with substance abuse, it can be easy to assign blame. For example, they may feel as if their loved one is simply making poor choices or lacking self-control. While addiction certainly involves unhealthy choices and a loss of control, it is often impossible for the person to regain control without professional help.

Family members may even assign blame to one another in this situation. One parent may blame the other parent for their child’s addiction. This is especially common when one parent has a history of substance use. It can be expected for blame to be assigned to friends or coworkers with whom the loved one spends a lot of time. Bitterness and resentment can begin to pile up.

The truth is, assigning blame when it comes to substance abuse is not only unjustified but is not helpful. When family members or close friends lack understanding regarding addiction, it can be natural to accuse others of influencing the individual in a way that led to their substance abuse.

Conflict and Distance

Substance abuse can also create conflict and distance among family members. Along with assigning blame and experiencing resentment often comes more conflict and eventual distance. The worry and concern can be very consuming, which leads to trouble with other relationships and affects functioning on many levels.

The burden of supporting a loved one who is struggling with substance abuse is not a light load to carry. Codependency can often form as a result of addiction. This leads to damaged relationships and neglect of the caregiver’s personal needs.

Damaged Trust

Trust is critical when it comes to maintaining and building relationships. Often, when someone is struggling with substance abuse, they lose the trust of those who care for them. Once trust is lost, it can be tough to get it back.

Even once someone has decided to seek treatment and enters recovery, many family members or close friends remain skeptical. It can be tough to mend relationships following addiction if all parties are not informed and involved in the healing process.

Involving Family in Treatment

One of the best ways to create understanding among family members regarding addiction recovery is by involving them in the process. This can be extremely helpful when it comes to repairing damaged relationships and starting fresh after treatment.

At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a family program that allows family members to get involved and engaged in the healing and recovery process along with their loved one. We also provide opportunities for family therapy, which helps develop strong communication and set appropriate boundaries. Some sessions are designed for the family members alone, and others may cater to the individual receiving treatment services along with their family members.

These sessions help family members and loved ones better understand the disease of addiction. This can help resolve feelings of shame or guilt and create an overall understanding of what their loved one is going through. Supporting someone who battles addiction is tough, so getting some insight into the power of substance abuse can help create some empathy.

Enlightened Solutions also invites family members and loved ones to join in on some of the activities provided to clients. This can include yoga and meditation classes, which can be beneficial in healing and reducing tension for everyone involved. We also encourage families to attend support group meetings and stay involved through alumni meetings once their loved one has completed the treatment process.

Benefits of Family Programs

For many, family is everything. So many individuals struggling with substance abuse have family members or loved ones who are involved in their lives and are desperate for help. They likely feel out of control and hopeless. Allowing them to learn more about addiction and develop strategies for healing and supporting the recovery process can be very empowering. Family involvement during treatment also leads to better support and accountability throughout recovery.

Creating understanding for family members and loved ones regarding substance abuse is not always straightforward. It may take effort to find common ground. Inviting them to learn more by getting involved in family programs is a great place to start.

When you are struggling with substance abuse, it can feel very isolating. This is often because many of your family members and loved ones do not understand what you are going through and have no idea how to help. Creating understanding with family in recovery is essential to rebuilding trust, repairing relationships, and moving forward. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer family programs that aim to inform loved ones about the disease of addiction. Our therapists teach healthy communication techniques and boundaries to help family members best support you in recovery. If you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, make the choice to seek help and call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.