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The Impact of Family Support in Inpatient Drug Treatment

Family support plays a vital role in inpatient drug treatment. Not only does family involvement help the individual recover, but it also encourages healing for every family member. Addiction affects the entire family unit. Although only one individual goes to inpatient drug treatment, everyone has responsibilities during recovery.

If you or a family member is struggling with a substance use disorder, it’s important to understand how addiction affects the family and how family support helps during treatment. When families can commit to recovery as a team, everyone sees better results.

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Understanding Addiction as a Family Disease

Addiction is extremely painful for the individual, but that pain can also transfer to their family. Because substance use disorders impair your emotional regulation, your relationships with loved ones can start to suffer. You may lash out in anger, or you may withdraw and isolate yourself. The volatility of addiction can put a severe strain on your family relationships.

Unfortunately, addiction could also cause you to act maliciously toward your family. People with substance use disorders often lie and manipulate to keep feeding their addiction. You might feel intensely guilty about treating your family this way, but your addiction has taken complete control.

It’s incredibly difficult for families to see their loved ones suffering from the effects of addiction. Parents want desperately to help their child, but they feel as if there’s nothing they can do. Siblings feel like they’ve lost a source of support and companionship. Children are scared to see their parents struggle and fear that they can’t trust them. Anxiety, anger, guilt, grief, and hopelessness are all common experiences for family members.

This does not mean that your family is irreparably damaged by the addiction. Support is always available for those affected by substance use disorders. When an individual is ready to receive inpatient drug treatment, their family should also take steps toward healing.

The Importance of Family Education

Families can be a valuable source of support for individuals who are receiving addiction treatment. However, for families to be able to support their loved ones, they have to address their own mental health needs. Addiction can devastate families, and each family member should commit to their own healing process.

Family education is one of the best ways for relatives to overcome the effects of addiction. Substance use disorders are complicated mental illnesses, and the external behaviors are only one piece of the puzzle. Learning about how addiction develops, how it affects the body and mind, and what happens during recovery will help families see the full picture.

Addiction education helps family members empathize with what their relative is going through. When you better understand your loved one’s experiences, you may be able to release feelings of sadness or anger. Learning more about addiction’s effect on the family unit can also make you feel validated in your own experiences. Additionally, you learn how to offer support to your family member as they work toward recovery.

How Family Support Helps in Addiction Recovery

When family members engage in recovery alongside the individual, everyone benefits. As each family member processes their own feelings about their loved one’s addiction, they become more emotionally available. The support from your family can make all the difference when you’re going through treatment.

Inpatient treatment can sometimes feel very isolating. Although your fellow program participants can be a source of companionship, many people miss their families dearly. Family support in inpatient drug treatment can make the experience less overwhelming. It’s also a great motivator for recovery. Your family is cheering you on, so you want to do your best for them.

Family support is essential after leaving inpatient drug treatment, too. The first weeks and months after inpatient are a vulnerable time. As you adjust back to your daily routine, you can benefit greatly from emotional support from your loved ones.

Family involvement in substance abuse treatment also creates an opportunity to explore and strengthen family bonds. Your relationship with your family likely became strained over the course of your addiction. In many cases, people with substance use disorders had tumultuous family relationships before the addiction developed. When everyone is committed to healing together, your family has a chance to grow stronger than ever.

Resources for Families Affected by Addiction

There are several resources for families affected by addiction who want to heal for their own sake and for the sake of their loved one. The following are some of the most common sources of support for families:

Family Education Programs

Learning about the mechanisms of addiction helps you understand and empathize with your loved one. Inpatient programs frequently offer educational seminars or workshops for family members. You could also ask your loved one’s treatment team for reading materials.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is a cornerstone of comprehensive addiction recovery. Counseling offers a supportive, neutral space for everyone to express themselves. Your therapist will work with you to develop effective communication and conflict-resolution strategies. Many addiction treatment programs offer family therapy alongside their other supports and services.

Individual Therapy

Individual counseling is also valuable for family members affected by substance use. Watching a loved one battle addiction can be traumatic, and you may need to process the experience privately in your own therapy sessions. This can help you let go of feelings of grief, fear, or resentment.

Support Groups

Families can benefit from connecting with others who have been through similar experiences. Online or in-person support groups for families impacted by addiction are excellent sources of support. Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are popular programs for families affected by alcoholism and drug addiction respectively, but you can also connect with a wide range of other groups.

Inpatient Drug Treatment at Renewal Lodge

Inpatient Drug Treatment at Renewal Lodge

Addiction affects the entire family, and family members must care for themselves if they want to support their loved one’s recovery. We at Renewal Lodge understand the importance of family support in inpatient drug treatment. Our family program includes education, counseling, and guidance for families impacted by addiction. This allows family members to heal from their own wounds while learning how to be there for their loved one.

Dear Renewal Lodge Visitors,

My name is John Bruna, co-founder of the Mindfulness in Recovery® Institute, and more importantly, a grateful member of the recovery community. I am incredibly fortunate to have found my recovery in 1984. Of course, I did not achieve continuous recovery through willpower or my own efforts, but through the guidance and caring support of countless others that selflessly taught me how to live through the 12 Steps.

My journey of recovery brought this once homeless, shame-based, traumatized, insecure young man to a life far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I discovered self-worth, the joy of helping others, the gifts of parenting and grandparenting, and most importantly the ability to live a meaningful and purposeful life with integrity.

One of the greatest gifts of recovery is that I have the opportunity to give back and help others discover their self-worth, dignity, and the skills to fully live lives that they find truly meaningful. This is the inspiration for developing the skills of Mindfulness in Recovery® (MIR) to meet the needs of new generations struggling with alcohol and other substance use disorders. MIR is a set of evidence-based skills designed to help people fully integrate their tools of recovery in ways that are personalized, practical, and in alignment with their deepest values.

While we train counselors and therapists throughout the United States and abroad, I personally have chosen to work directly with the amazing team and clients at Renewal Lodge to develop the model MIR 12-step program for the nation. I choose Renewal Lodge because of the vision of its mission and the dedication of its team. Renewal Lodge is an extremely rare environment in which the staff embodies the very mindfulness and 12-step practices and skills they offer their clients. The results have been beyond my expectations. It is an honor to be here and I treasure my personal time with every client I meet.

With Gratitude,

John Bruna
John Bruna
Director of Mindfulness