“Addiction is a family disease that stresses the family to the breaking point, impacts the stability of the home, the family's unity, mental health, physical health, finances, and overall family dynamics,” according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.
Active addiction typically prompts families to make slow, incremental, maladaptive changes over time in response to the steady progression of the disease. Unfortunately, those changes often exacerbate the problem. Since many family members are affected by the disease of addiction, participating in the recovery of the loved one will help the entire family unit.
At our Diamond IOPs, we offer a Family Night session every Tuesday as part of the six-week curriculum. Any adult member of the patient’s support group is invited to participate. Friends, sponsors, and family members may come to as many Tuesday sessions as they like.
Family Night provides a lot of important basic information about the disease of addiction and how it affects the family dynamic. Family members frequently cannot understand why their loved one has been abusing drugs and alcohol or they may have tried to manage the substance use of the patient, instead of promoting recovery.
They frequently don’t realize how much the behavior of the addicted family member can change their own behavior in unhealthy ways. If they are themselves controlled by the addicted person’s behavior, they have developed what is known as codependency, which further enables the unhealthy substance use of the addict.
Family therapy helps partners and parents better understand the disease and consequently the behavior of their loved one. Treatment often comes after years of highly irresponsible behavior of the addicted individual, and feelings of mutual resentment must be addressed in therapy so the whole family can heal.