Battling substance abuse and addiction is a struggle that is extremely difficult to face on your own, and is never encouraged. Entering a drug or alcohol treatment center is the first step in the process, and we strive to include families in the treatment process as much as our client is interested in. Typically in treatment environments, patients are constantly surrounded by other recovering addicts and alcoholics, as well as supportive staff members, many of whom are in recovery themselves. It is even encouraged, once you complete an addiction treatment program, to develop your own support system of people you care about that are supportive of your recovery.
Nowadays, most drug treatment centers implement a family component into their programs, because often times this is a family disease. We do know that addiction has a genetic component, so your loved ones may need to hear some of this stuff as well and not even know it.
It is common for parents and spouses to also be angry, resentful, and want answers. Therapists who specialize in addiction for the entire family will work with you and your loved ones so everyone can work through those issues in a safe environment. The goal is to not only have your family understand what you’re going through, but also teach them how they can help you without enabling, belittling, or making it harder on you. They may not come around right away; there’s a good chance that we’ve done some serious damage.
What is Family Behavior Therapy (FBT)?
Family behavior therapy is a type of therapy used when there are co-occurring behavioral problems that affect the patient’s family and loved ones. It’s important to remember that family is what you define it as. Often times, patients suffering from addiction have strained relationships with their blood relatives, but have people who love them and support them while they are getting clean and sober, like friends, sponsors, support group members, co-workers, etc.
Involving these individuals in the therapy process if often encouraged. Many family members choose to go to programs like Al-Anon and Nar-Anon, and while important, these groups do not address the issues specific to your family. The goal of family therapy is to improve the relationships between you and your family, address resentments, and develop new skills to help reduce stress and conflict in the home environment.
Many times, the families of the addict have a harder time seeing their role in the strain on the familial relationship and therapy can be stalled. This may cause the patient enrolled in treatment to have anxiety or reservations about opening up and getting real. The focus of family behavior therapy is to improve the relationships of all involved, and that requires cooperation from all. Family members may have their own grudges and issues, and those must be addressed as well if the family wishes to heal as a whole.
Why is Family Behavior Therapy Important to Your Recovery?
Unresolved family issues and continued resentments can halt healing and recovery. While these issues can be revisited again if you choose to continue with a twelve step program, it’s always best to receive proper care from a certified addiction therapist with quality experience in helping families while still in the treatment setting.
Here at Principles, we hold group sessions for families, so the loved ones of the patient can vent and relate to other families. Our family members often feel just as alone as we do while we are sick and suffering. Those close to us often feel a sense of inclusion and support once they have the opportunity to speak to others who are facing the same problems. It lifts a weight off of their shoulders to find that typically they are not at blame, and there are others out there that they can receive support from.
Family therapy sessions can be emotional and difficult. These settings can potentially be the first time that each party really talk about their emotions regarding these issues on a deep level. It can be tough to get started, but it is such a crucial step in finding recovery. If we don’t address these important issues, they will go on unresolved and true healing will be increasingly difficult to achieve.
If you’re looking for help for your addiction, or are looking for help for a loved one, call Principles Recovery Center at 1-866-692-0909 so we can discuss your options and begin changing your life and the lives of those around you.