Alcohol and drug addiction impact all areas of life, but perhaps none so significantly as relationships. While individuals suffering from substance use disorders (SUD) often feel like they are suffering alone, the truth is that everyone around them is suffering as well. In the early stages of SUD, the user is often aware of the impacts of their drug and alcohol use but continues anyway. They may experience guilt and shame that propel their substance abuse rather than quell it. As their SUD progresses, so does the damage it causes.
Gulf Breeze Recovery is a dual diagnosis treatment center nestled on a private portion of the Santa Rosa Sound on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Our location, combined with our unique non-12-step holistic approach to treatment, provides an ideal environment to heal and begin your recovery journey. Our family therapy program in Florida helps our clients and their families repair and rebuild relationships damaged by SUD. Contact us at 833.551.2304 to learn more.
Understanding the Connections Between Addiction and Family
The family systems model states that a family is an interconnected unit, and each member affects how the system functions. Therefore, changes in one family member influence change in the rest of the family, as individuals and the collective group. Using the family systems model, the notion that addiction is a family disease becomes clear. A cycle of dysfunction is born with substance use disorders (SUD) affecting all family members and family dynamics influencing SUD.
Consider these ways in which addiction and family influence one another:
- Loss of trust. A person with SUD usually means to follow through on promises and commitments but breaks them more often than not. The result is feelings of anger, frustration, hurt, disappointment, and mistrust from family members. Once trust is lost, it is hard to regain.
- Secrecy. Because of guilt, shame, and fear of judgment, individuals with SUD often turn to secrecy and deceit, further injuring relationships and damaging trust. They may lie about their substance use, who they are with, where they are, and what they have done.
- Physical and emotional abuse. Living with SUD puts everyone on edge. Simple disagreements can quickly escalate. Emotional abuse is a given, and physical abuse often follows. Domestic violence is common in families affected by SUD.
- Enabling. It is common for one or more family members to become enablers, meaning they begin to make excuses, accept blame, and minimize the negative impacts of the SUD. They may take on their loved one’s responsibilities or support their addiction financially.
- Codependency. Typically, codependency and enabling go hand-in-hand. Codependent people sacrifice themselves to keep their loved ones placated. They maintain loyalty and commitment despite a lack of reciprocation. The relationship between the addicted person and the codependent person is highly enmeshed, and they feed off one another.
Family therapy in recovery is especially critical for children. Living with substance abuse and addiction has profound impacts on children’s development, self-confidence, mental and physical health, social development, and risk of battling SUD themselves.
The Benefits of Family Therapy for Recovery
Family is a vital and influential force in our development. Family relationships are the first ones we form and are often the strongest. The impacts of SUD cause disruptions in even the most close-knit families. The primary goal of a family therapy program in Florida is to help manage the issues that impact the functioning of individuals and the family unit as a whole.
Some of the benefits of family therapy in recovery include:
- Learning to share thoughts and feelings in healthy ways
- Developing and learning to maintain healthy boundaries
- Facilitating communication and cohesion
- Identifying and changing dysfunctional roles
- Providing education about substance use disorder
- Offering a safe space for everyone to speak their truths
- Developing sympathy and empathy
- Improving coping skills and problem-solving skills
- Rebuilding trust
At Gulf Breeze Recovery, we understand that addiction is a family disease where each member plays a part. Our family therapy program helps clients and their families identify patterns and systems that need to be modified rather than emphasizing one person’s part. Strong and healthy relationships are crucial to the family’s overall well-being and long-term recovery.
Reach Out to Gulf Breeze Recovery Today
Addiction does not occur in a vacuum. It impacts the lives of all involved, especially within families. The importance of family participation in recovery cannot be overstated. At Gulf Breeze Recovery, our family therapy program provides clients and their families with support in healing relationships, rebuilding trust, and helping replace unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones that promote recovery.
Contact us today at 833.551.2304 to learn more about the benefits of a family therapy program for addiction recovery.