While it would seem the addict in the family is the one to focus on and to help change their life, the rest of the family needs healing and help as well. In each family, everyone plays a role. For instance, there may be “the funny one”, “the kind one”, “the good kid”, “the invisible kid”, the “overworked parent”, the “martyr parent” and “the sick one” which is the role usually given to the addict.

In this well-tuned “family dance”, everyone knows their roles and everyone knows their steps. Healthy or un-healthy, the “dance” goes on. In a healthy family, when the children grow to an age where they start pulling out of their roles, the rest of the family instinctively allows them to move into their own space and create their own “dance”, and everyone else adjusts accordingly.

This allows for a healthy disengagement of parent and child. In an unhealthy family, instinctively anyone trying to pull out of the “dance” is drawn back in immediately. They are not allowed to heal or grow or move on. For them to pull out of this “dance” means the rest of the family will stumble and be unable to regain their rhythm. It also means that other family members will have to take a look at their own lives, behaviors and issues. For some families, this can feel intolerable and create fear and anxiety.

For the addict in recovery, whether it is in a Outpatient program or a inpatient program, this can create feelings of guilt and shame for all they have put their families through during their addiction. A long-suffering martyr parent can subtly create feelings of dependence for the addict trying to get better by driving them everywhere, paying all their fees, “taking care of” them even if their loved one is perfectly able to do these things for themselves. To the outside world, they appear to be a loving parent going the extra mile. To the person in recovery, they can feel weighted down with obligation and guilt. They may not move out of their parents’ house or emotionally disengage for fear of hurting them anymore.

It is hard for the family of an addict to recognize the role they played in their loved one’s addiction. After all, it’s their problem, they are the ones who used, not them! So many times, upon intake, the client will say they are the black sheep, that everyone was fine but them. Their family is 100% perfect. Down the road when the client engages with a therapist to explore those issues that drove them to an addiction we find that nothing could be further from the truth.

It is crucial for the family to be involved in the therapeutic process before their loved one returns home otherwise the same things will happen again and again within the family leading to more substance use with potentially fatal results. Our therapists are well trained in dealing with and helping to heal the family systems that our clients come from.

One awesome solution to this ongoing family dysfunction is our state of the art online therapy program. Our client’s family has the opportunity to either visit in person and receive multiple private therapeutic sessions one on one or they can enjoy HIPAA compliant online therapy and continue to be a part of our aftercare/alumni for many years to come. 

We understand that not everyone can visit their loved one while they are in our care. We also understand that healing is a life long process and our alumni are extremely precious to us. That is why we have implemented a way to stay in touch and therefore being able to continue the healing through online therapy. Call (949) 386-2715 to learn more!