Families and Addiction
March 8, 2017 - Uncategorized - 0 Comments
Families and Addiction
Often the addict, our loved one, goes into treatment, leaving the family at home.
Numerous times we hear “I didn’t affect my relationships” or “my children never knew there was a problem”. Unfortunately, this is simply not true. Children know when something is off with mom and dad or other family members. I am blessed to be a part of the family group at His House New Creation and work first hand with the children and other family members.
I want to tell you that your family members know something is going on and are affected. They need treatment too. How do I know this? They tell us. Here at His House New Creation children as young as 7 years old are encouraged to come and take part in the healing that they need living in a family with substance abuse. Children sit and talk with us and tell us what they know or that they knew something was off and often hid in fear because mommy or daddy were not acting right or mommy and daddy fight and yell at each other. We provide a place for them to discuss these fears and share them with the addict and the family group. It is powerful and often not a dry eye in the house. Family group at His House New Creation is for all those we affect with our disease.
Families need to heal and also learn how to interact with us so that they are not enabling us. Teaching families how to separate their anger from their loved one and being angry at the substance so they can begin to let out what they have bottled up is a great source of healing. Teaching families and especially the children that this is not their fault and they can’t cause or cure this is extremely important for their wellbeing. As stated children know more than we give them credit and dismissing them and not sharing what is happening can be detrimental in the own mental wellbeing.
There are so many secrets in a family and healing truly begins with open communication for all those involved. Family treatment is essential for a full recovery. Treating the whole family when possible is the best way to break the vicious cycle of addiction in families. I talked a lot about the children and how they are affected, but adults, our friends, spouses and parents can in fact enable us in an effort to help us. Family groups and family sessions help teach our loved ones how to stop enabling us out of fear and often have roots in the way they were raised.
Education on addiction and taking the blame out of the equation can leave room for healing. Addiction is a family problem so too should be the healing. No matter where you get treatment here at His House New Creation or another facility get your family involved in the healing process.
Terry Fowler, MFTi