Recent surveys regarding Americans with addictions to controlled substances, puts the number above 21 million people over the age of 12. In addition to that are the unnumbered addicts who have not yet sought assistance for their recovery, or even yet identified their illness. It is apparent that addiction is a staggering issue facing families today, and likely that nearly everyone knows someone who is hurting or struggling because of addiction.
Thankfully today there are many options for individuals seeking to recover from drug and alcohol addiction. From intensive inpatient facilities, to ongoing therapy, to good old-fashioned twelve step groups, a willing participant can find and keep sobriety. But for many families, this is just the beginning on the new journey into recovery. Not only does the addict need to recover and heal from their physical and mental symptoms, but those closest to them and most affected by their disease will also have healing to do and may need to seek guidance and assistance to recover from the damage done by drugs and alcohol.
A good place to start is in educating oneself about the science behind addiction. Learning about some of the reasons that a loved one has behaved in such painful ways can be helpful in learning about how to heal that pain. The subject of addiction and substance abuse is getting more and more attention these days, so there is no shortage of options for reading materials. It may even be helpful to read first person accounts to give family members some perspective into the mind of the addict.
Many people also find strength in talking and sharing with others who have been through similar experiences. Bonding through shared experience is a very natural and validating human process and has been shown to be a powerful tool for growth and healing. Group therapy or meetings such as Al-Anon are excellent ways to seek guidance, encouragement, and advice from others who have also been affected by addiction.
Of course, all of these options can be enhanced by close ongoing work with a therapist who is experienced and knowledgeable in the realm of addiction recovery. This is the most precise and professional assistance available and can be a truly irreplaceable tool in the rebuilding of your family after addiction. A family therapist also offers the opportunity to combine everyone’s healing into a group effort, building on the work that everyone can do as individuals.
The most important thing to remember is that there is hope. Addicts and the people who love them can and do heal and recover, and Stonebriar Counseling Associates can help. Please contact us for more information.