Addiction seems like an individual problem, doesn’t it? Logic says that it’s one person’s issue to deal with because it’s that one person who has an addiction. It makes perfect sense on the surface, but if we dig a bit deeper into that individual’s life, personal connections, history, and circumstances, it becomes clear that addiction is actually a family disease.
While not a reason why someone has an addiction, family dynamics do play a part in it. As noted by PsychCentral.com, often common roles are taken on by family and can include the addict, the enabler, the hero, and the scapegoat, among others.
But before it all starts sounding too bleak, it’s helpful to know the role family plays can also help the one they love to get sober. It’s often through recovery that families can repair and heal.
Everyone is trying to cope in their own way.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) gently reminds us that trauma, whether it’s one event, several events, or ongoing traumatic stressors, affects families in the way they function as they try to adapt to the happenings in and around their lives. The NCTSN also notes that “trauma has a range of impacts on individual family members, their relationships with each other, and overall family functioning.”
A family group, however it may be defined, is made up of individuals who may have all experienced the same trauma, but in their own unique way. Not everyone has a healthy way of dealing with stressors or other mental health issues, and it’s this mismanagement of coping that can lead to addiction or enable an addiction.
Though it may not seem like it, your family is likely trying to do the best they can. Each individual brings to the table their own experiences and ways of coping that they know best, and it may have served them well in protecting themselves from hurt and pain. However, that emotional self-preservation may mean they find themselves playing a role that doesn’t allow them to feel their emotions and heal from the trauma.
When several people in a group are individually just trying to survive each day emotionally, that can create challenging family dynamics.
Try to understand the dynamics, with a little help.
It’s going to take some work, but the more you understand the way your family functions and see the roles each person plays, the more empowered you will be in your life of recovery. The great news is that you don’t have to figure out your family dynamics on your own.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) states that the two main purposes of family therapy are to use the family’s strengths and resources to cultivate ways to live without substances and mitigate the impact of one’s addiction. Essentially, there is strength in numbers, and with the support of family programs at a treatment center, your family can heal. Not only that, but they can also help create a safe environment to help you and each other as they work through the impact of addiction.
The Family Therapy Program at The Right Step Houston can help you and your family repair relationships and build healthy support systems as you heal together. The program offers evidence-based therapy, holistic treatment, experiential therapy and support groups.
We understand that family plays a significant role in getting sober. The Right Step Houston offers families a place to find hope and healing. Connect with us today to see how we can help your family find recovery at 844.768.0169