Dynamic Family Services Provide Hope for Families in an Addiction Crisis
When a family in crisis from addiction decides they are ready to seek help, it’s usually because they feel stuck. They’ve tried everything that has made sense to them and the situation hasn’t gotten better. In fact, often times it becomes worse. Not only is the person with the issue possibly in real danger, but relationships in the family are starting to implode. The family thinks they’re dealing only with an addiction problem, and it’s true that addiction is a big problem. But they’re also facing a relationship problem.
Because people adapt to and normalize dysfunctional behavior, by the time they seek help, the relationship problems are acute. They may love each other but when it gets to that acute point, there’s not a healthy relationship in the system. Of course, the primary concern is stabilizing the situation by getting the person with addiction the help they need. But the family also needs help. Here are some things a family should keep in mind as they face an addiction crisis:
Dynamic family services aim for a solution
“Why?” isn’t a particularly important question to answer. Many families need help understanding what addiction is and how it works. Some want to dive into the history of addiction in their family or in society. And it’s okay to spend a little time on that. But the real education comes when families understand that the why doesn’t matter. The fact is, their loved one has a problem and it doesn’t matter why. That allows us to focus on the solution instead of swimming in the problem.
Your whole family is the focus in dynamic family services
There needs to be a focus on the entire family system. When a family is in crisis, they’re often preoccupied with the person who has the substance use disorder. And while it is important to get that person help, family members need to quickly shift the focus back on themselves, because they also need help providing appropriate support and influence. It’s an old cliché but useful: “Put your own oxygen mask on first!”
Probably the best outcome for a family who’s reached out for help during a crisis is that they go home and say to their loved one, “We saw these people today to talk about the problem that’s going on with you. What they told us is that we’ve all got problems to deal with. We’re going to keep going to see them. You’re welcome to join us if you want.” The best we can hope for out of that first request for help is for everyone to realize they have their own work to do.
Been there, done that? Don’t give up.
If you’ve been there and done that and nothing has worked, there’s still hope. Many families have been through treatments multiple times. That’s a frustrating and scary place to be. Unfortunately, we find that many treatment centers only give cursory attention to the role of family dynamics in healing. Even families that have been through several family programs at treatment centers often don’t have a complete understanding of how critical is for them to focus on and maintain their own recovery. The good news is, what makes treatment different this time might be your involvement with a program that provides family-centric services.
Dynamic family services could spark recovery for you and your loved one
One of the most difficult things we often tell families: “You getting help for yourself is worthwhile whether your loved one gets better or not.” It’s true that your relationship with your loved one isn’t going to improve much until they decide to accept help and make changes. But if they get help and they get better, and you don’t, you’ve cheated yourself out of a truly healthy family because the damage to the relationships has not been resolved. And if your loved one decides not to get help, if you take care of yourself, you can get better whether they choose to or not. This makes it exponentially more likely they join you in recovery at some point. It’s the same work whether they get better or not. Either way, you’re going to learn appropriate support and good boundaries. And that will make your life better.