For the family and loved ones who surround an addict, stress and anxiety are not uncommon. Through continued bad choices and poor decision making on the part of the addict, problems affect not only his/her own life but greatly affects the rest of the family as well.
How does a family cope with such irresponsible decisions and destructive actions, legal consequences and emotional issues relating to a loved one’s addiction? Though it takes hard work and dedication, the reuniting of families is made possible through effective treatment and the reinforcement of important life skills.
Drug Use Affects the Family
The biophysical aspect of addiction (via the cycle of increased drug tolerance, withdrawal, drug cravings and dependency) leaves its mark on an addict and can alter their personality and decision making as well as impair judgment. Signs of drug use and major personality shifts are observable in substance abusers almost right away, and these elements can put severe strain on a family.
Addiction and Denial
Even in cases where a drug problem is most evident, users are still seen to deny the presence of a compulsive substance abuse situation. This can lead to further arguments, disagreements as well as violence from the addict. Rather than push and prod the addict into admitting he/she has a problem, seek professional help. A trained interventionist or addiction specialist who is emotionally removed from the situation may be able to get results more quickly.
Bitterness Within the Family
Within the family itself, opinions may vary on the best way to resolve the substance abuser’s situation. Differences in opinion, large or small, can lead to family tension. Family members are urged to be supportive and work as a team during this highly volatile and important time to get the addict help right away.
Drug Seeking Behavior
Addiction can cause a drug user to lose his/her job, shift priorities, forget important responsibilities or obligations and otherwise transform a lifestyle from positive to negative. Additionally, drug seeking behavior, theft and lying can cause family members to feel betrayed, further aggravating the family relationship.
Reuniting Families After Treatment
Through the course of the Narconon Program, addicts are encouraged to develop increasing levels of personal accountability and responsibility for the different areas of their life—including their family. From beginning to end of treatment, the skills needed to reunite with one’s family are cultivated to a point of practical application.
- Communication Skills
Often, substance abuse short-circuits an addict’s ability to sit and have an honest, calm and sincere conversation. Communication is the basis of all relationships, and so is treated as one of the foremost subjects of rehabilitation.
- Making Amends for Past Misdoings
Past betrayals, lies, theft and violence, though attributable to drug use, must be repaired through amends to those who have been hurt or betrayed. Later in the program, students are given the opportunity to address these situations and make amends to whomever he/she feels has been wronged. Doing so also aids in alleviating the guilt which addicts commonly experience.
- Exit Strategy and Future Planning
Family members are encouraged to take part in the end-portion of a student’s time at Narconon, devoted to developing future goals and a plan for arrival back home. Making sure everyone is on the same page and working together lays the foundation for a happy, drug-free family.
Even those family relationships which have been nearly destroyed or seriously affected by an addictive situation can be repaired. Reuniting some families may take more work than others, but it can be done. Contact Narconon Arrowhead for more information about our treatment program today.