Published June 24, 2017
The damage from drug and alcohol addiction reaches deep into families. If you’ve been living with a loved one suffering from the disease, you may have as much recovering to do as the person with the illness.
Addiction can cause major upheaval, fueling resentment, anxiety, frustration and disappointment. It deeply wounds those closest to the person with the addiction. And it has far-reaching effects on the health and wellness of the family and children.
Your unwell loved one may get well and it’s important to have hope. But it’s also important for you to try and focus on your own wellbeing even if your loved one continues to struggle.
Generally speaking, the closer we are to the person suffering and the longer the disease has gone untreated, the higher the probability that we are suffering our own physical, mental and/or spiritual disorders.
The disease of addiction causes chaos – changing relationships and roles and isolating the family from extended family, social and community support.
So family members need to go through their own healing process as well. The concept of “family recovery” is about the family – individually and collectively – regaining their health. This healing must happen for individual family members, for relationships within the family, and for the family as a whole.
For family members, getting well can mean many different things. It may start with forgiveness, compassion through a better understanding of the disease of addiction or focusing on healing following a loss.
Some families who are further into their journey have found that breaking the silence within and outside their family – usually by talking about their experiences – helps support their own process of getting well.
Our loved one coaches work with clients on their own wellness first so they can be a source of compassion and support for their unwell family member or friend.