Is There Alcohol and Drug Treatment Support for Families?

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Navigating alcohol and drug treatment can be unfamiliar ground for many families, and it can be difficult to know where to start. When one member of a family is affected by alcohol or drug addiction, it affects the entire family. For this reason, treatment programs often involve the family as well. Working together to support your loved one can be a very effective way of finding recovery for both the individual and the family as a whole.

Alcohol and Drug Treatment Options for Families

Family Therapy

Psychotherapy as part of alcohol and drug treatment was not always family-focused. It used to be focus on individual behavior and the client-therapist relationship. However, family therapy broadened our understanding of human behavior by incorporating a number of elements, such as social context and relationships. Certified family counselors can work with the family in different capacities, focusing on the entire unit or specific one-on-one relationship dynamics.

During family therapy, a therapist helps families resolve conflicts related to arguments, disagreements, divorce, death, and other trauma. Therapists address issues like drug and alcohol abuse in context with the family environment. Together, you can develop tools and methods for helping your loved one succeed during alcohol and drug treatment.

Group Counseling

Group counseling can help someone who is going through alcohol and drug treatment, even if their family members are not present. Groups typically have 7-12 participants, and one or more therapists may be there to facilitate. This type of therapy is an opportunity for a client to learn from his or her peers and discuss relationships with others in a similar situation. Clients can take what they learn from group counseling sessions and apply them to family therapy or even real-life situations. Group counseling is often conducted in conjunction with other therapy techniques.

Support Groups

Support groups are available for the family members of someone who is going through alcohol and drug treatment. These meetings are anonymous and confidential, a safe place where you can share the thoughts, feelings, and experiences that come with having a loved one with an addiction. You can share coping strategies with others and help to understand your loved one’s behavior. Keep in mind that many family support groups have a loose definition of the term ‘family member.’ You do not have to be a direct blood relative to attend or to help.

Friends and family members can play a huge role in helping someone recover during alcohol and drug treatment. This role can be positive or unintentionally negative. When everyone is involved in the treatment process, you can learn how to avoid enabling your loved one. You can look at how past actions may have influenced your current situation, and take steps to make things better in the future. A drug or alcohol user can gain a greater perspective on how his or her actions are affecting the family, and everyone can benefit. Family therapy, group counseling, and support groups are just some of the ways that people have found success in the past when undergoing alcohol and drug treatment.