Why family therapy is so important when dealing with addictions

Why family therapy is so important when dealing with addictions

It is essential that the family is involved in an addict’s recovery, as addiction effects everyone in the family unit. Alcoholism in particular is often referred to as a family disease, as it has a profound impact on each individual in the family and the family unit as a whole.

Here at The Bridge Marbella, we believe that family engagement and therapy to deal with resentments and problems which have been caused by the addiction is fundamental to creating the support system that an addict needs to stay in recovery long term. It is also important that the family members get help with dealing with the impact of the addiction on their lives.  

Families need support too

If you have a loved one who is abusing drugs or alcohol it can put a huge strain on the family. It can lead to financial difficulties, a neglect of family duties, lying and secretive behaviour. Children of alcoholics or addicts often feel guilt or anger about their parent’s behaviour and don’t get the attention, care and positive routines that they need. This will understandably cause a lack of trust, anger and resentment, which can make recovery so much harder for the addict and is painful for the family too.

It is also hard for the family to know how to best support an addict through their recovery. They may question if they can drink at home, how they can help them to break habits and change behaviours that may have been going on for many years. They may also have questions about how to treat the addict, how much supervision they should give them, how to manage emotions in the home and generally be there for them at this very difficult time.

Getting over communication breakdowns

Some of the side effects of addiction include communication breakdowns, isolation and deception and so having the conversations you need to have can be tough. A spouse may be worried about anger, or even violence being sparked by a tough conversation, and not know how to broach the subject without causing more issues and driving the addict further away.

This is where family therapy comes in. The therapist offers a safe, neutral environment for communication and facilitates the conversation. They will help the family and the addict to get their point across and share deep seated hurt, resentment or issues which have been caused by the addiction. The therapist will also try and manage emotions and help everyone to find a positive way to communicate on these tough topics. These communication skills are highly useful to take away and use throughout the recovery process and beyond.

Re-building relationships

Family therapy is not all about the addict. The family needs help to get over their hurt and say their piece. They also need help with dealing with the pain that the addict has put them through, in order to be able to heal relationships and build them back up in a positive and truthful way.

Hearing the effect which their drinking or drug habit has had on the family can also be a big wake up call to the addict. Of course, it is painful to hear, but handled correctly, this honest sharing of feelings, struggles and worries can offer a strong motivation to stay clean over the long term.

The recovery journey at The Bridge Marbella

Here at The Bridge Marbella, we offer a residential recovery centre, which is a safe and private place for addicts to get clean and start their recovery journey. As part of this process, we offer a wide range of group and 1:1 therapy, as well as building up their physical and emotional strength and giving them coping methods for how to stay clean when they get out into the world and face temptations and triggers. We also offer secondary treatment and take a long-term approach to recovery.

As soon as the patient is ready, we involve the families, as they are so directly affected by the problem. We offer family liaison and support, as well as family therapy, to ensure that the difficult conversations that need to be had can take place in a safe environment, led by qualified professionals.

By starting this as early as possible, the whole family becomes involved in the recovery journey and is equipped with skills and tools to help the addict stay clean. They can share their fears, ask their questions and express their emotions without judgement and work through the pain to allow them to create a solid foundation for a strong and healthy relationship. If these relationships can be rebuilt and an informed support structure can be created inside and outside the home, this creates the best conditions for remaining strong and clean and turning their lives around, for the good of themselves and their families.

We’re here to help families to deal with addiction

If you have a family member who is suffering from an addiction please contact us. We are happy to offer advice and make recommendations on steps to take to help them to acknowledge they have a problem. Our team is passionate about helping addicts out of their cycle of addiction and can help you too, so please don’t hesitate to contact us by emailing [email protected], or calling or sending a WhatsApp to 683 381 369.