Are you currently in a situation where you are struggling to balance addiction and family? Do you find yourself trying to hide the addiction from your family? Perhaps you want treatment but are afraid of how your family will react. Maybe even worse, you are already in a situation where a spouse or child no longer talks to you because of your addiction.
If you can relate to any of these examples, it’s important to know you are not alone. Fatherhood or being a husband, boyfriend, and son is challenging enough. Throw a substance use disorder (SUD) or behavioral addiction into the mix, and making it through the day can seem impossible.
We often forget that our struggle with addiction does not only impact us. It affects the lives of our family members and loved ones and can even run in the family. However, balancing your addiction and family obligations is possible by pursuing recovery today.
Addiction and Family
When we use the term addiction, we’re speaking pretty broadly. Addiction encompasses a myriad of SUDs, alcohol use disorder (AUD), behavioral addictions, and other mental disorders. An addiction – whether it’s to drugs, alcohol, or gambling – has a profound effect on the family. It can cause your loved ones to stop talking to you or your children to be taken away. It can also lead to a lot of distrust.
There is also a significant amount of potential psychological harm addiction can have on a family. Substance use can affect children socially and emotionally and impair their ability to communicate or set healthy boundaries later in life. It can also cause them to act out or behave erratically and even influence their struggle with substance use or other addictions. Addiction affects children differently depending on age, but the potential harm can be reversed through your recovery and attending family therapy.
People decide to attend family therapy for many reasons. Sometimes it’s because a child is acting out. Other times, it may be to improve communication skills and family dynamics or resolve conflict. Family therapy can also be effective in addiction recovery or when a family member struggles with other mental illnesses.
Some of the benefits of family therapy for SUD include:
- Improving overall mental health
- Providing education about how addiction affects families
- Increasing your family support
- Creating positive changes in the family, such as improving communication or developing healthy boundaries
- Promoting healthy family dynamics and reducing the risk of relapse
Discussing your addiction with your family can feel uncomfortable initially. However, it’s crucial to talk about your recovery with your family. That means discussing triggers, setting boundaries, and keeping other lines of communication as open as possible. Family therapy can help you initiate these conversations and mediate between family members. That’s the great thing about addiction treatment – you don’t have to go through anything alone.
Family therapy may look different from one treatment facility to the next. At Healing Pines Recovery, we implement CRAFT services in our family therapy. CRAFT stands for “community reinforcement and family training,” a method that helps a spouse or significant other support their loved one in treatment. CRAFT also prioritizes decreasing your addictive behaviors, motivating you to seek treatment, and illustrating the importance of self-care.
Can Addiction Run in the Family?
While researchers can not pinpoint a singular cause of addiction, it is believed that environmental, societal, and biological factors impact its development. That means addiction can run in your family. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), research indicates that about half of a person’s risk of developing an addiction depends on their genes. Nevertheless, genetics are not solely responsible.
Social scientists have had the “nature versus nurture” debate for years. Still, in the research above, NIDA believes it to be “nature and nurture,” stressing that “research shows that a person’s health is the result of dynamic interactions between genes and the environment.” Genetics and lifestyle are equally responsible for our overall health. That includes the likelihood of developing a SUD or behavioral addiction. For teenagers and adolescents, we have to consider the impact of peer pressure too. A teenager isn’t going to consider their family history before experimenting with drugs or alcohol. Peer pressure and societal norms have just as much influence as genetics and lifestyle. Social impact aside, how can you find a balance between your addiction and your family? The short answer is through recovery.
Balancing Your Addiction and Family
With effective addiction treatment, you can learn how to cope with triggers and cravings and how to make amends with your family. Treatment will allow you to be a better version of yourself and the husband, father, or son you want to be.
Being a husband, father, and son comes with many responsibilities. These responsibilities can become overwhelming, cause symptoms of mental illness, and maybe even lead to substance use. This can be dangerous, especially if you have a family history of addiction. As you experience the damaging effects of substance use, so will your family. Unfortunately, your loved ones are not immune to your struggle with addiction. However, you and your family can begin healing with treatment and family therapy. Consider seeking treatment and pursuing recovery not just for your well-being but for the well-being of your family. Call Healing Pines Recovery at (720) 575-2621. We can help you be the man you want to be for your family today.