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Recovering from Addiction as a Family

by Cristina Villalon

Recovering from Addiction as a Family

Drug addiction and relationships are a very contentious combination that can result in many different outcomes. Yet, one fact remains true: when one person in a family structure grapples with addiction, everyone is. When a family member is grappling with addiction, everyone deals with the circumstance in their own way, for better or worse. When that family member enters treatment to address their addiction, those who have remained intact with their family will go through it together.

Family Dynamics

The public perception of those with substance use disorder is far from reality. Many people continue to function as caretakers, parents, and able-bodied employees while they fuel their addiction. Due to this misconception, the majority don’t realize that the chronic illness of substance use disorder is called the “family disease” for a reason. Once the hardships of addiction are met with an opportunity for treatment and recovery, the family undergoes a transformation as well.

Treatment is Hard Work

Once a family member enters treatment for substance use disorder, some loved ones may see this as “a magic bullet” that will instantly solve all the problems that have occurred since addiction entered the picture. However, the family unit must understand that addiction is a chronic disease that doesn’t have a quick fix. There is a lot of work and healing involved for everyone to recover as a group.

Understanding Chronic Disease

Like anyone who suffers from an illness that has periods of remission, addiction can always lurk and come back around for those in recovery, regardless of how long they’ve committed to sobriety. Neuroplasticity helps the brain recover from the damage caused to the reward pathway by substance use, but addiction is not nearly as simple as “abstaining use” of a drug. Those in recovery often have to fight through emotional battles deeply rooted in trauma to crawl their way out of misusing substances to cope. Family healing can be particularly helpful in preventing relapse, as old wounds and pain are remedied and addressed.

Harnessing a Safe Environment

The family of someone with substance use disorder often makes concessions for their family member as a way to hold out hope. Sometimes that involves destructive enabling environments or unproductive shaming attitudes. Regardless, any family unit invested in their loved one’s addiction has the wherewithal to implement the correct efforts to aid their recovery. The most important factors are understanding the best way to approach the problem and creating a safe and non-triggering environment for the person in recovery.

Health Care Resource Centers are proud to offer affordable and discreet outpatient opioid addiction treatment for those who need help. Our evidence-based methods have helped thousands overcome opioid addiction using FDA-approved medications in combination with counseling. The families of those affected by opioid addiction can find great comfort in our programs to help their loved ones while having access to tremendous resources along the way. Give us a call today to schedule an intake appointment or to learn more about what services our facilities have to offer.


Medically Reviewed By:

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

The Clinical Team at Health Care Resource Centers is our team of physicians and medical directors within the organization. HCRC is a CARF accredited organization and has been providing addiction treatment services for over 32 years in the New England area.

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