When you are going sober, your relationship with your family and loved ones plays just as much of an important role in your recovery as your own efforts. In fact, healing broken or strained relationships with your loved ones is an integral part of successful recovery. So, apart from aftercare, luxury rehabs such as United Recovery Project in California offer additional counseling and ongoing support.
Addiction impacts families, not just an individual person. Undertaking the lifelong journey of sobriety and recovery from addiction is a difficult experience, not only for those suffering from substance abuse disorders but also for their family and loved ones.
With that in mind, it is important for families to undertake this journey together. As such, it is equally important for families to celebrate sobriety milestones together. Let’s learn how to do both successfully.
The Role of Family in Substance Use Recovery
According to the World Drug Report 2019, there are roughly 35 million people who suffer from substance use disorders (SUDs) worldwide. At the same time, substance use disorders have affected well over 100 million adult affected family members (AFMs) globally.
Indeed, SUD is often referred to as a “family disease.” This is not to incriminate family members as the cause for substance use disorders. Rather, it foregrounds how this affliction ripples through families, nurturing dysfunctionality within a family unit and perpetuating the cycle of addiction.
But on the other side of the coin, it emphasises the importance of involving family members in routine addiction treatment.
Think about it: persistent substance use will inevitably change the dynamics of your family. For example, you may start to alienate yourself from your parents, or your siblings might be enabling your SUD without even knowing it. Therefore, successful recovery is dependent upon the collective efforts of your family as well.
Several studies have shown family involvement increases treatment entry, enhances treatment completion, and generally leads to better treatment outcomes for people coping with addiction.
Tips to Navigate Early Stages of Sobriety With Family
The early stages of your sobriety journey are arguably the most difficult ones to navigate. For some, it can seem even more difficult with the involvement of family members.
Simultaneously, some AFMs may feel at a loss for how to offer their assistance and contribute positively to your recovery journey.
As such, here are some tips to help you and your family navigate through the early stages of sobriety:
- Family therapy: Family therapy involves equipping all family members with the proper tools to help themselves and their relatives suffering from substance use disorders. It helps explore the ways in certain cycles of interaction and family dynamics perpetuate substance use disorders. Ultimately, the goal of family therapy is to reduce unhelpful behaviours and increase effective behaviours during the recovery process.
- Stay connected: Staying connected with family members during your recovery process is crucial. Your family can act as your main source of motivation through a seemingly hopeless ordeal.
- Keep communications open: Staying connected with your family members can only get you so far. What really matters is keeping an open channel of communication with your family (and it goes both ways!). This means accepting feedback, establishing boundaries, admitting your slip-ups, and extending empathy.
Navigating Post-Addiction Life With Family
Completing a rehabilitation program is a major accomplishment — one that both you and your family should celebrate. That said, you have to remember that committing to sobriety is a lifelong process. Here are some tips for you to navigate post-addiction life through aftercare.
- Individual therapy: Individual therapy sessions will help you uncover the underlying psychological and environmental causes of your substance use disorder.
- Regular check-ups: It is important to have regular checkups with your mental and physical health professionals following rehab treatment. Regular checkups will help you track your progress and nip any health issues in the bud.
- Join support groups: Support groups, especially those that follow the 12-step models, will help you feel less alone in your recovery journey.
Ways to Celebrate Sobriety With Family
As a patient in recovery, it’s important to find ways to replace the act and experience of consuming substances with a healthier alternative. Here are some ways that you can explore the joys of sobriety with your family:
- Celebrate milestones together: It’s important to acknowledge how far you’ve come; even small progress is some progress. Whether it’s a week, a month, or a year of sobriety, milestones are an important part of the recovery process and should not be overlooked.
- Plan a family trip: Sometimes, a recreational retreat may help you refresh and rejuvenate and can keep you committed to sobriety. Family trips, especially outdoor excursions in nature, can help you rediscover the simple joys of life once more with your loved ones.
- Do a family activity: Joining a dance class, creating art, or even going to the gym with some of your family members can help give you a healthy recreational alternative to misusing substances.
- Express gratitude: Finally, remember to thank your loved ones for helping you in your difficult time and being committed to sobriety with you. Remember, a little gratitude and kindness can go a long way in repairing broken bonds and strengthening existing ones.
While navigating the recovery process may be a challenging process at first, your family can help you ease into sobriety.
Family plays a pivotal role in successful treatments for substance use disorders, and individual therapy sessions can help you identify and work on the underlying psychological and environmental causes of your substance use disorder.
Going to family therapy with your close family members will help make your recovery journey more effective and easier for everyone involved. When celebrating milestones, planning family trips and activities, and expressing gratitude, we are celebrating sobriety with your family.