Families Dealing With Addiction Need a Recovery for Each Family Member

From “The Impacts of Addiction on Family and Society“:

Components of comprehensive treatment for SUDs include a continuum of professional addiction and related services (assessment, detoxification, rehabilitation, counseling or therapy, continuing care, substance use monitoring, medications, case management, and mutual support programs). Social, family, and other problems can be addressed through the use of family, child care, vocational, mental health, medical, educational, HIV/AIDs, legal, financial, housing, and transportation services in addiction treatment agencies or within the community through governmental agencies or charitable organisations.

Many individual and group treatments for SUDs address social recovery issues in recovery, as these have implications for relapse and quality of life. These interventions may address issues such as how to: avoid or minimize contact with high-risk people, places or events; resolve relationship problems; develop new friendships; develop a recovery network of sober friends and supportive people; resist social pressures to use substances; improve communication or assertiveness skills; ask for help and support from others; engage in substance-free social activities; engage in mutual support programs; and/or make amends to those harmed by one’s SUD.

Family interventions can help the family influence or pressure the member with the SUD to enter treatment and get help, address the impact of the SUD on the family system and members, help the family support the member with the SUD, and help the family address their own reactions and problems associated with their loved one’s SUD. The latter may involve participation in treatment, family support programs, or both.

From “Healing the Whole Family”:

Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente found that people with an ACE score of 4 or higher (about 12.5 percent of the population) increase their likelihood of chronic disease by 390 percent, depression by 460 percent, and attempted suicide by 1,220 percent.

My parents both score above 4; my mother has a score of 7. Raised by neglectful, physically and emotionally abusive parents, my parents had scars they dared not uncover even for themselves to see. No one had taught them to address those traumas and avoid repeating them through anxiety-filled parenting.

I cannot remember a time when my home was worry-free. I learned early that a moment without worry was a moment wasted in idleness. Research shows that depression and anxiety can be passed from parent to child when children observe their parents’ incessant worries and adopt similar thought patterns for themselves.

From “Praying Parents and the Trauma of Addiction“:

From the moment Katherine James learned her own son was using heroin, the cloud of addiction hovered over their home. Her family’s story is peppered with wild ambulance rides and wild hope; the long wait for answers and the slow arrival of joy. A Prayer for Orion: A Son’s Addiction and a Mother’s Love is a prayer for all our children, for there’s not a one who’s invulnerable to a slow slide into some darkness, and those who remain in the light are there by grace alone.

As James gazed out her living room sky light at Orion’s belt in the night sky, the three stars were celestial prayer beads for her three children. Her story underscores the tension we all experience as praying parents–earnestly offering up our children’s names before God, knowing full well that we are untrustworthy intercessors; pleading for straight paths and still waters even though the map of our own spiritual journey shows greatest growth in the wilderness.

Struggling to come to grips with her son’s addiction, James reached the searing conclusion that “seeking God is always better than not seeking God no matter what the circumstances.” (123) With that in mind, our most healthful stance and fruitful takeaway from the James family story is to “practice not judging, practice not blaming.” And to pray for our children. Will you join me now?

2 comments

    • Having been an addictions counselor, I rarely found a family open to the idea that addiction is a family disease. The member who is the most resistant needs the most help. Instead they are referred to Al Anon which continues to be based on helping the obvious family member in addiction. No stronger bond exists than family members working on his/her individual recovery. They become a micro therapy group. Very powerful.

      Liked by 1 person

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