Our Relationship To Our Family System Can Often Be Complicated, Strained Or Damaged, Especially For Those Of Us Battling Addiction. When We Enter Rehabilitation And Begin Our Recovery Journey, It’s Crucial To Have The Support And Love From Those Dearest To Us.
Our relationship to our family system can often be complicated, strained or damaged, especially for those of us battling addiction. When we enter rehabilitation and begin our recovery journey, it’s crucial to have the support and love from those dearest to us.
As humans, we thrive on connection with loved ones. Maintaining healthy connections with our family throughout our recovery will give us the greatest chance of success.
It’s important to understand that every recovery journey is different, as is every family network – whether it be our biological family or chosen family of friends and mentors. Navigating family dynamics can be tricky when relationships are strained, communication is lost or trust has been eroded. Our family members may be feeling hurt, helpless, frustrated, overwhelmed, manipulated, burnt out or isolated from us as we battle our addiction. It can take time and patience for our family to be ready to heal. However, support from loved ones is a critical part in our rehabilitation – it can make all the difference to us as we attempt to begin a new chapter and repair our lives.
According to therapist Leanne Schubert from South Pacific Private, many clients in recovery cite the pain and hurt associated with family relationship breakdowns as a leading trigger for relapse. “This is just one of the many reasons we involve the family in recovery at South Pacific Private,” she says. “It can be a complex process and a difficult path to walk – most people don’t know how to best support a loved one on their journey to recovery.”
She says that both clients and their families often need guidance on communication and boundary setting skills, as well as support in their own journey of healing. “Honesty and compassion are key in supporting a loved one in addiction recovery. Family members are often drawn into behaving in ways and doing things that they are uncomfortable with. They might also be unwittingly enabling the addiction by accepting excuses, justifying someone’s dysfunctional behaviour or lending their loved one money to get them out of trouble. Although it often comes from a place of love and care, it allows the addiction to continue.”
Leanne says that for clients with substance addiction, the family may have to undergo some lifestyle changes to maintain a supportive environment that reduces temptation. Other families might be asked to assist with treatment plans and take their loved ones to appointments to deal with ongoing health issues.
At South Pacific Private, many clients and their families attend the three-day family program. “We encourage families to be functional by sharing how they feel – without anger or casting blame. This helps build intimacy and strengthens relationships. We want families to be supportive and the client to be successful in recovery,” says Leanne.
South Pacific Private is Australia’s only hospital to integrate a dedicated Family Program within recovery treatment. Our range of workshops and programs dedicated to families, friends and partners are designed to equip everyone with the tools and strategies necessary to set clear and effective boundaries, communicate effectively, deal with unresolved trauma and care for one’s own mental health.
If you are concerned about your own, or a family member’s mental health, support is available. Get in touch with our caring intake team today for a free and confidential assessment by phoning 1800 063 332, or emailing us here.