How to Deal with a Family Member’s On-and-Off Recovery

How to Deal with a Family Member’s On-and-Off Recovery

Addiction in the family is one of the hardest things to deal with. Not only is the peace of the household disturbed, but it also creates stress and emotional drain.

This is particularly true when members of the household have to deal with a family member frequently relapsing. Sometimes it can seem like a never-ending cycle. You may feel overwhelmed at times – enduring these ups and downs while staying resolved to support a loved one’s sobriety is sometimes hard to accomplish. However, there are specific ways to deal with these issues while keeping a positive attitude.

Addiction in Family and a Collective Effort for Recovery

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, addiction is a family disease. Family engagement, when it is constructive and active, helps to heal the impact of addiction as a whole. This is true even when relapses are a serious problem at the beginning of the recovery efforts.

Addiction relapse is a setback in the recovery of the patient and an emotional impact on the rest of the family. Sometimes this impact can make the rest of the family feel like recovery is not really possible, and that addiction will always be a problem. This attitude is detrimental because it can cause others to feel like their efforts are not having any results.

However, the results of treatment are often not as noticeable in its first stages. But being able to identify them can help a family to continue having hope in recovery while keeping their collective effort strong.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that certain periods of abstinence could be indicators of sustained recovery. According to the findings, after one year of abstinence the odds of recovery increase and become more stable. These same odds rise for every year of abstinence, reducing the chances of further relapses..

But there are more subtle indicators of improvement after relapse. One of those is the attitude of the one in recovery. Recognizing that you have a problem is one of the first steps of addiction recovery, and when the addict relapses and recognizes that mistake more openly, it is an indicator that he wants to improve.

After experiencing a relapse, the family can also take this opportunity to learn more about the problem and the possible triggers that might be causing relapses.

For example, it has been found that stress has a direct impact on the chances of addiction relapse. An article published by the National Institutes of Health states that the risk of relapse can be assessed by the levels of stress of the patient and his surroundings. This is understandable if we take into consideration that many people seek drugs to cope with difficult situations or as an escape route from problems and responsibilities.

The whole family, perhaps with the help of an interventionist or another addiction recovery counselor, can make an evaluation of the relapse and its probable causes. By doing so, the family achieves a sense of progress and further efforts can be done along with the addict in recovery to improve the chances of long lasting results.

Therapy and family counseling is also encouraged to stabilize the emotional and psychological state of all the family members. This is of most importance when there are young ones in the household. Through therapy and counseling, all involved need to understand that addiction is a chronic disease, and that, in some cases, recovery could take much time and effort.

But understanding and accepting this should not be seen as something negative. A positive viewpoint is important to keep making the necessary efforts, and a good way to accomplish this is picturing the good results of staying strong and imagining how enjoyable life without addiction will be after the addict achieves sustainable recovery.

Addiction Intervention as a Long-term Project

The Psychology Today journal gives useful advice on how to have an effective intervention and how to select a professional interventionist. The article states that sometimes the success of the intervention is not measured by if the addict ends up in rehab or treatment, but in the changes that the family makes to encourage recovery.

Some interventionists that offer family intervention also offer constant support during the whole process of recovery. This means that, after the actual meeting with the addict, the interventionist continues working with the family and the addict (if advisable) as a sort of case-manager during the time that the addict continues treatment. This is very useful because, in the case of a relapse, the interventionist can be a source of advice on what action to take and what information to compile.

Additional Help and Free Support for Addiction Recovery

Call to our toll-free helpline with lines open 24/7 to receive assistance and advice tailored to your needs. You don’t need to leave your home to receive our help and you can call at your most convenient time. We have information regarding intervention services, medically-supervised detox programs, family counseling and support and much more. Call today and let us help you develop an effective plan for addiction recovery.