Tag Archive: Communication

  1. Repairing Broken Family Relationships in Recovery

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    Repairing Broken Family Relationships in RecoveryAddiction is a family disease and a destroyer of relationships. When one person in the family is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the foundation of the family is often rocked to its core. Addiction not only interferes with normal family life and routines, but it adds extreme stress and an unstable – sometimes even dangerous – environment. When the addicted person is an adolescent or teen, the dynamic of the family can change even more dramatically.

    Depending on age and circumstance, not everyone in the family may agree with how the child’s addiction is being handled. Some family members enable their loved ones, still providing money, phones, and other resources despite their substance use. Others may refuse to admit there is a problem until it becomes so bad it’s undeniable. When family members disagree about the best way to deal with their loved one’s addiction, conflict often ensues – dividing the family even further.

    It can be a heartbreaking experience, but there is hope. Many recovery programs make healing family relationships a high priority, because family support is so critical to success – especially for young people who need a safe haven to return to. There are many ways to repair the damage caused by addiction if a family is willing to work together to try.

    Set Realistic Expectations

    A newly-sober teen may feel very positive about the progress they’ve made and eager for a fresh start in a relationship. An excited parent may consider their child “cured” and want to put the entire ordeal behind them. It’s very common to avoid wanting to re-address the past, which is likely full of upsetting memories. But these issues cannot be resolved immediately, even if the teen offers a sincere apology for past actions.

    The process of healing takes a lot of time. A family can view any action taken toward rebuilding the relationship as a victory, and these small steps need to be celebrated. Rushing the situation will only cause frustration and threaten your child’s newfound sobriety. Make a concerted effort to take this journey together, one step at a time for as long as it takes.

    Work to Rebuild Trust

    Someone who is addicted to drugs and alcohol will betray their family’s trust, no matter what age they are. Whether it’s lying about their using or larger betrayals like stealing from their loved ones, a family with a child in recovery is likely facing broken trust that may take a long time to mend. Try to understand that someone who is living with addiction will always put their disease first.

    Your child’s addiction and their past actions do not mean that they are bad people, or that you are bad parents. On the contrary, some addicts come from very loving homes but still succumb to addiction for other reasons. For your child to maintain sobriety, and for your family to live harmoniously, trust will eventually have to be re-built. Again, this is a process that will likely take a long amount of time.

    Learn Healthy Communication Methods

    In recovery, your child will learn a whole new way of communicating their thoughts and feelings. Now that they can no longer turn to drugs or alcohol, they must learn to cope with their emotions and find healthier ways to communicate with others. Families must learn a new way of communicating with their loved one as well.

    Communication is a two-way street, and it includes both talking and listening. Many times, when we listen to someone else speak, we aren’t really hearing what the other person is saying – we’re simply waiting for a break in the conversation so we can make our point. Your family can improve communication by showing empathy, listening intently when someone else is talking, respecting others’ viewpoints, and diffusing any heated conversations before they escalate. Yelling, interrupting, or storming out of the room do nothing to improve or heal a family’s relationship.

    No More Codependency

    Some family members may take on a role where they “need” to look after the person in recovery. They likely filled the same role while their loved one was actively in addiction and tried to shield them from the consequences of their actions. Once your adolescent or teen has moved into recovery and is learning to take responsibility for their own actions, there is no need to make excuses or enable them anymore. The codependent family member may need counseling of their own to learn to break this pattern.

    Live in the Here and Now

    We cannot change the past, no matter how much we want to. All we can do is look to the future, and live in today. If your child is in recovery, that’s a wonderful thing. Any treatment program would be incomplete without including families, so take every opportunity to heal alongside your loved one. This is an ideal chance to not only heal the family, but perhaps make it stronger than ever.

    Sustain Recovery provides adolescents a positive and loving environment where they can address their addiction and mental health needs. Family members are also actively involved in their loved one’s recovery. By providing support groups of their own and other therapy programs, we embrace families and help them move forward. To learn more, contact Sustain Recovery today at (949) 407-9052.

  2. Family Involvement in Youth Addiction Recovery

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    Family Involvement in Youth Addiction RecoveryUsing drugs during adolescence and the teenage years can directly impact the development of a child’s brain. These changes are usually long-term with very slim chances of reversing the damage, potentially leading to learning deficits or health problems later in life. It’s essential to talk to your children about the risks to their health when they try drugs. But what about the kids who already have an addiction? What will happen to them?

    It may seem daunting to prepare your child for recovery. It can also be very stressful on the family unit, but it is vital that your child feels supported throughout the process. Family involvement in rehabilitation for children is a pivotal factor in their success. There are many beneficial ways that your family can become involved in a loved one’s addiction recovery.

    Learn About Your Child’s Addiction and Recovery

    Understanding why your child chose to use drugs can be very hard on parents or siblings. Sometimes, parents feel like they may have done something wrong, but this is not true. There may be many reasons why your child chose to try drugs. A person’s environment, psychological traits, and stress levels all play significant roles in the use of alcohol or drugs.

    For young people, who they spend their time with and how they handle peer pressure can also be major factors. Learning about your child’s addiction is key to helping them – and understanding their position also contributes to a non-judgmental attitude. When it comes to addiction in adolescents and teens, getting help for them as soon as possible is very important. People who start using drugs or alcohol early in life run a higher risk of becoming dependent.

    Research suggests that children experiment with drugs based on their perceived risks of using. It would be a good family exercise to learn about drugs and their long-term negative impacts on health. Learning the details about your child’s recovery is also essential because it allows you to give support. It’s hard to be a positive influence if you do not understand the process they are going through.

    Participate in Intake and Treatment Plans

    Participating in intake and treatment is another way to understand your child’s recovery process. Here, you can ask any questions you have about what your child will experience. By helping to create a treatment plan for your child, you can show them that you are supporting their recovery and they are not doing it alone. Children need to feel secure, and addiction recovery often makes them feel very vulnerable. Parental involvement can help them feel comfortable with the treatment, which is vital to success.

    Practice Open Communication

    An open flow of communication is critical in any relationship. Having open communication with your child is also critical to their recovery. Free channels of communication mean that your child may come to you with issues they may have tried to hide before. When this happens, a non-judgmental attitude is necessary. If a child feels like they will be judged or given harsh punishment, they may keep difficult issues to themselves.

    There has to be a foundation of trust. Open communication while in recovery is also essential to make sure your child is getting the best care possible. A person needs to feel comfortable with their therapist or counselor to be honest with them. Kids view adults as authority figures, and sometimes that leads to less trust.

    Your child will likely feel vulnerable during this time, and you must communicate that it is okay to feel that way – your child needs to understand that their feelings are real and valid. Explaining to them that you also struggle with emotions and urges is an excellent way of showing that what they are experiencing are normal human fears and concerns.

    Attend Family Group Therapy

    Families may find it challenging to adjust to the person who is in recovery, who now behaves differently than before and needs lots of support. Even after a family member begins treatment and recovery, other family members may continue unhealthy behaviors. This is why family group therapy is so beneficial.

    Often, people are not aware of how their actions affect others – and this is especially true for parents and their children. Young people are very impressionable, and many look to their parents or siblings as examples. If family members are engaging in negative behaviors, it can influence the child. Negative behaviors that remain in the family may also make your child feel that it’s okay to take recovery less seriously.

    If a family member has problems and they do not seek treatment or healthy solutions, your child probably won’t take recovery very seriously either. Family therapy helps show your child that their family is supportive of their recovery in all ways. If the whole family chips in towards living a healthier lifestyle, it may influence your child to do the same.

    Give Non-Judgmental Support

    We’ve talked a lot about non-judgmental attitudes while dealing with your child’s addiction and recovery. This may seem a lot easier said than done, but the benefits for your child’s recovery are well worth the effort. It’s important to create an atmosphere of acceptance and loving compassion for your child.

    If they fear they will be ridiculed or looked down upon, they will be less likely to attend treatment or engage in open communication. The same goes for their peer group. If your child is attempting sobriety, they may be ridiculed by their friends and peers. In that case, it’s even more critical for your child to have a safe space where they can be mindful of their recovery and feel less vulnerable – and that safe space can be the family.

    If you or someone in your family is struggling with addiction, you don’t have to go through it alone. We can help you all get through this experience together. Contact Sustain Recovery today at (949) 407-9052.

I first met Sayeh in November of 2013 just after my 15 year old daughter had been admitted to a residential treatment program. As part of the program I was required to attend 2-3 AlAnon meetings a week. Sayeh attended the same AlAnon meetings as well as Alumni events as I. It soon became apparent to me that Sayeh had a heart for recovery, program, and God. When I was encouraged to get a sponsor I didn’t hesitate. Dependable, respectful, kind and generous of spirit, she exudes an inner peace that I hope to achieve with her loving guidance, as I work my own program. She is patient, & full of wisdom that she is always happy to share with her sponsees and fellow parents. I am so grateful our journeys brought us together.

Megan
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