Addiction is a severe mental health condition that not only impacts the individual, but also those around him or her. These impacts can range in intensity, however often lead to issues such as divorce, loss of child custody, jail time, financial problems, unemployment, and homelessness. And while these effects of addiction might seem to only impact the addict, those caught up in the disease along with him or her suffer, too.
For example, addicts have mothers, fathers, siblings, spouses, children, etc. Each one of these individuals can experience serious emotional and psychological distress due to the behaviors of the addict. In fact, the pain can be so unbearable that relationships become broken and unable to be reconciled.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry reports that one in five adults in the United States has lived with an alcoholic relative at some point during their young lives. Today, young individuals are continuing the pattern by living with alcoholics and addicts. When this occurs, children and young adults are at risk for suffering emotional and behavioral problems, as well as issues at school. Frequent absences, poor grades, and negative behaviors at school can become common in someone living with an addict or alcoholic. Additionally, these young individuals might develop feelings of embarrassment, anger, or guilt surrounding their loved one’s substance abuse. One of the greatest concerns about those who live with alcoholics or addicts is that they are at increased risk for abusing substances in the future due to the environment they lived in while growing up. Also, if these relatives are blood-related, young individuals have a genetic link to substance abuse that also increases their odds of becoming addicted at some point in their lives.
We at CPE take great pride in not only treating each one of our clients but also providing resources to their families. We recognize that addiction impacts the entire family and not just the addict, which is why we offer family programming geared towards helping the family begin to heal as a whole.
Family Therapy in the Men’s Professional Program
The team at our CPE program know that every male client who comes to us for care has a family and/or loved ones who might need some help during this trying time, too. Therefore, we offer all clients of the men’s professional program in-house relational therapy right from the beginning of their treatment. This means that the client’s significant other is included in therapy from the moment their loved one enters treatment.
The family therapy that is provided in the men’s professional program occurs on a regular basis and is designed to provide clients and their loved ones with effective tools needed to help reestablish healthy relationships through positive communication. During this time, the family is also educated about the disease of addiction and why it causes people to behave destructively even despite knowing the consequences of their actions.
The Women’s Professional Program and Family Weekend
At JourneyPure at the River, where our women’s program is located, we invite family members to join their loved ones for a family weekend. During this time, our team at the CPE program work to help these individuals understand what their loved one is experiencing by providing education and family resources. We spend a significant amount of time teaching about the disease of addiction itself to help promote a stronger understanding, as well as encourage loved ones to communicate through exercises that help them relay their feelings.
The deep emotional work that is conducted at family weekend is necessary for long-term healing between the addict/alcoholic and her loved ones. Family members are also afforded many opportunities to tell their loved ones how addiction has impacted them. This is done through guided exercises to help mediate effective communication and expression.
Outside Family Resources
While our programming is extremely beneficial to the loved ones of our clients, it is often most effective when paired with external resources, such as Al-Anon. Al-Anon is a nationwide program that serves as a support group for those who have loved ones who are alcoholics (or addicts). This program is a self-supporting support group that does not have any political or religious ties. Through Al-Anon, individuals can learn how to better cope with addiction and its effects by sharing their experiences and listening to those of others.
Al-Anon is a leading resource for families throughout the country; however visiting a therapist can also be extremely beneficial for loved ones of an addict. The mental health effects that can develop in response to an addict or alcoholic’s behaviors can be so overwhelming and powerful that professional treatment is often needed. Thankfully, many therapists provide therapy sessions that can significantly help improve the life of an individual who has been touched by addiction.