Helping families understand and deal with a loved one’s substance use disorder is critical. Substance abuse affects families in many different ways, but without exception it is a painful and emotional experience. Feelings of frustration, anger, guilt, panic, fear and denial are very common, and family members often become so emotionally entangled in their loved one’s problem that it begins to control their lives as well.
The roller coaster of coping with a loved one’s substance use disorder can leave families emotionally “strung-out”, and in dire need of help themselves. Above all they need hope and support, to know they’re not alone and that there are ways they can help. We help them understand the problem and what their loved one is going through, address how the problem has affected them personally and how they’ve reacted to it, and give them practical, effective advice for coping with the problem and supporting their loved one before, during and after treatment. We firmly believe in a nonjudgmental approach to working with clients and their families, where everyone is encouraged to look at how their own behavior could be affecting the problem or the chances for a successful outcome.
Family therapy can also be effective at preventing problems, such as when there is a family history of substance abuse. Breaking the chain of abuse and addiction that so often runs through families is hard work; it takes awareness, preparation and self sacrifice. It’s one of the greatest things a family can do for itself, and it’s never too late to start.
Even if their loved one is not ready to get help, family members can and should seek professional consultation and treatment. We provide education, counseling, support, and intervention services to family members (including children), friends and significant others, and we strongly encourage involvement in community support services like Al-Anon/Alateen.
To learn more about Al-Anon/Alateen, try the following link: http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/