Every addicted family model has an addict. There are other roles which everyone finds a way to fulfill, like the scapegoat, the caretaker, and golden child, and more. Typically, the addict in the family is not the catalyst for dysfunction. Though much blame will be placed on the addict for causing problems and “tearing the family apart” the addict is typically the catalyst for bringing preexisting family problems to the surface. Outraged at having to face their own consequences, each family member uses the addict as a reason, rather than a cause. Family healing is a gift in recovery that unfortunately, not everyone gets to access. For the families who do have an opportunity to heal, it requires compassion, understanding, patience, and humility to understand the dynamics of recovery.
First, it is necessary to realize that treatment is not a magical cure for family dysfunction. Treatment will help the loved one in your family who is addicted as well as help your family heal. However, when the addict in the family goes to treatment, years of dysfunction, hurt, and trauma are not suddenly erased. Most often, this is when the family realizes the problems stem beyond the addict’s addiction and need to be addressed by everybody.
Taking on personal recovery as a requirement for healing is often a surprise for family members when they’re addicted loved one goes to treatment. Just as treatment is not a magical cure for the family, it isn’t a magical cure for each person’s individual life either. Recovery is a personal journey everyone has to take. It takes work to heal. It takes willingness to want to do the work.
The family becomes an addicted family unit as a whole, not because of the one family member who has become addicted to drugs and alcohol but because the family, in a way, becomes addicted to addiction. Dysfunctional behavior becomes a routine and a habit, which can act like an “addiction” for the rest of the family. Enabling the addict’s behavior with additional dysfunctional behaviors is not intentional. The family is ill-prepared to cope with addiction and dysfunction. Family therapy is essential for the treatment and recovery process in order to learn the necessary coping skills to create a foundation of normalcy.
Miracles can happen in recovery. At Enlightened Solutions, we see them happen every day. Our integrative treatment program brings together the best of alternative therapies, clinical treatments, and holistic healing in addition to twelve step philosophy. For information, contact us today.
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