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Families Affected by Substance Abuse

Everyone whose life is touched by substance abuse experiences the fallout from this confounding illness. Whether you’re the person using alcohol or drugs, or their spouse, child, parent, sibling, or loved one, you know first hand the pain that is caused when addiction begins to wreak havoc on one’s life.

Common Issues

  • Avoiding co-dependency
  • Rebuilding trust
  • Setting boundaries
  • Coping with fears
  • Knowing your role in their recovery
  • Practicing self-care
  • Responding to lying & manipulation
  • Managing expectations
Options for Treatment

It’s important to know that not all drug or alcohol problems are the same. Addressing a substance use issue, therefore, is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ process. More than ever before, we now know that there are multiple viable pathways to recovery from addiction. For some people it involves 12-step recovery programs, but for many others alternative approaches can be more effective.

These may include alternate mutual-help groups like Smart Recovery, mindfulness-based approaches, trauma-informed therapy, moderation management strategies, and in some cases medication may be an effective component of recovery. It’s important to work with a knowledgeable counselor to identify what your options are and what routes might be best for you. We can help you determine the best level of care, including making referrals for inpatient or intensive outpatient if needed, or weekly individual therapy with one of our experienced addiction counselors.

Options for Members of Families Affected by Substance Abuse

When you’re not the one using substances but you care about someone who is, therapy can also be helpful for you. We often work with family members to understand their role in helping their loved one, while also ensuring they practice the self-care needed to maintain their own wellbeing. When you give the right amount of attention to your own self-care you are more prepared to use your empathy, energy, and optimism to walk alongside the loved one you’re concerned about.

Parents, for example, are often at a loss over what to do about a teenager experimenting with drugs. Helping often begins when empathy starts and fighting stops. It can be extraordinarily difficult, however, to know how to untangle the family dynamics that have developed in the wake of a teenager’s lying, manipulation, and behavioral changes. Especially when a parent’s concerns over those changes can feel immobilizing.

In addition to boundaries, self-care, and tough love, there are strategies and skills that you may not have tapped into yet that may influence your loved one’s motivation, provoke behavioral change, and reinforce expectations that make for a functioning family and successful future.

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