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Addiction recovery: A family illness

Published on the 16th September, 2018 | John

Addiction Recovery and the family

A middle aged man finds an addiction recovery centre for his partner and with a sigh of relief that his loved one is getting help, he leaves and  his involvement with the addiction recovery centre ends. 

The supportive therapeutic environment that an addict is enveloped by in rehab can lead to recovery, meaning that they can leave and start to live their lives free from the pain of drinking or using and the damaging consequences that follow.

A family illness              addiction recovery families

But what about the husband? The relief and new hope of a loved one getting help is powerful and I have heard many say that they had their first good nights sleep knowing their family member was safe, but the hurt, regrets, fears and resentments they have been living with often re appear when the person in treatment comes home. When the home  environment is toxic with unresolved harm, the chance of relapse and or family breakup is high.

Many rehabs will give the one in treatment a lot of useful information and guidance on relapse prevention, but how many actively invite the family to consider that addiction is a family illness and that they might need help?

Recovery coach

It would not be realistic to expect a rehab to facilitate the process of treating the whole family but perhaps a way forward would be to invite an interventionist/recovery coach to work with the family as a part of the treatment process. I have found that working with an addict is most effective when it includes all of those involved and have recently been invited to work more closely with people in rehab and their families. In doing so, the transition from rehab to home is made easier and helps the family to build on a foundation of hope.

As a recovery coach I have found that  continuing to work more closely with rehabs has allowed me to begin bridging the gap between residential addiction treatment and families trying to live in recovery. Of course not all of the people I work with have been in rehab, but nearly all of them have families and I always invite them to work together to beat addiction.