How Family Therapy can get everyone through Addiction


shutterstock_214784995When addicts are in need of professional help, families are often the ones to push them to seek it, whether it’s convincing them to attend rehab by holding an intervention or offering to pay for it if they agree to attend. What many people may not realize is how the family could benefit from addiction therapy as well. This doesn’t mean the would attend the same treatment center, however. There are many facilities that offer family therapy for alcoholics that teach them how to help the addict, and themselves, with the struggle.


Much of the time, someone in the family enables the addict’s behavior—whether they realize it or not. When the addict begins spiraling out of control due to their addiction, people generally react in two ways:


  1. The family tries to control the problem and force them to quit.
  2. The family cleans up after the addict and ignores the problem; pretending everything is fine.


If the addict chooses to attend rehab to get treatment for their problem, one might wonder why it can be necessary for family members to go as well. Many think the problems they experience are all just because of the addict. In reality, while many of those problems are caused by the addiction, some problems are caused by family members enabling the addict as well. If the family doesn’t seek treatment too, when the addict returns home some of the same problems could persist.


If the family has been hurt by the addict’s actions in the past, those feelings of guilt, anger, or sadness can easily resurface, even when the addict returns sober. On the other hand, the addict may have felt similar feelings during their addiction but may not have been able to express their feelings appropriately. Family therapy can help prepare the family on how to interact with their recovering addict when they return home to avoid any issues from occurring.


Family therapy will view the family as a whole, rather than solely focusing on the addict. Everyone will learn their role in the group and how they fit in. In addition they will be encouraged to share their feelings rather than hold them in. Therapy will help repair any broken family bonds and teach the family how to stop trying to control or clean up for the addict.


Dealing with addiction isn’t easy, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Contact LEAD today at 800-380-0012 for help from recovery experts.