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Family Dynamics and Addiction

Family Dynamics and AddictionWhether a person has a wonderful relationship with his family or a seemingly interminable series of painful past experiences with them, family dynamics play a massive role in the onset of addiction and, even more, in recovery from it. This article discusses how to utilize the strengths in one’s family relationships to overcome addiction, even if those relationships currently leave much to be desired.

How Family Dynamics Contribute to Addiction

Addiction can infiltrate any family, even (and especially) those that appear perfect from the outside. In families that teach abstinence from addictive substances without fully explaining the consequences of drug use, children may become curious about what these taboo substances do as they grow older. When a young person takes his first drink, discovering in the following days and weeks that his life is not in shambles as his elders told him it would be, it emboldens him to try more and stronger things — especially if the acceptance of peers is involved. For those who grew up in families that pressured them beyond reason to be perfect, the accumulated stress of straight As, sports trophies, impeccable grooming, and leadership in other fields can drive them to drugs or alcohol out of desperation. When they find that these substances bring them a heretofore elusive relaxation, addiction slams into them much more quickly than they expect. Lastly, in an abusive or drug-infested home, young people often begin their drug habits at very young ages. Being born to actively addicted mothers creates withdrawal symptoms in babies from the moment of birth, starting them out in life at an extreme disadvantage; and once they are old enough to obtain drugs for themselves, the situation only disintegrates.

How Family Dynamics Contribute to Recovery

No matter how old one grows, one of the most powerful motivators in his life will continue to be the acceptance of his family. Those who have severed ties with their families after many years of hurt find this difficult to accept, but it is no less true. Even in these instances, the individual has usually developed a familial bond with one or more mentors and friends who function as emotionally surrogate parents and siblings, protecting him from the dreaded sensation of being entirely alone. Family relationships, whether biological or chosen, can be the key to a successful recovery process. Their support is often what keeps the patient going on days when his faith in himself has evaporated, despite the encouragement of therapists and fellow patients. If the patient does not have this kind of relationship with his biological family, it is still worth an effort to involve some of his most sympathetic family members in talks with his recovery therapist. This professional is often able to help them see how vital their role is in ways that the patient might not have been able to express on his own. One of the greatest joys of the treatment process is seeing family relationships mended through mutual honesty and willing participation in healing therapy.

Finding Family-Based Addiction Recovery

If you would like to know more about the role of family in addiction treatment, or if you need to talk confidentially with someone regarding your own struggle with drug abuse, you can call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline. We are ready to help you regain your dignity and restore your relationships with those you love most. Please call us today.