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What Is the Role of Family in Addiction Recovery?

Addiction directly involves one person abusing a substance, but addiction touches each family member. Therefore, the role of family is paramount, affecting the success and longevity of the addict’s recovery and long-term sobriety. A solid and dependable support system is critical to successful recovery. The family that actively participates in the treatment program of their loved one can learn how to heal while supporting the addict. But what exactly is the role of family in addiction recovery?

Addiction is A Family Disease

The role of family in addiction recovery is crucial to address the effects of addiction on each family member. Any family dysfunction that transpired before and during the addiction period contributed to the family dynamics. The addict’s behaviors have a wide range of effects on each family member, and each member owns their coping mechanisms. The goal of treatment with family participation is to create positive and healthy coping mechanisms for all while adding a supportive dynamic for the addict.

The Five Dysfunctional Roles Family Members Play in Addiction

The role of family in addiction recovery involves dealing with various degrees of dysfunction and the effects of addiction on each member. Yet, unknowingly, the family members have adopted dysfunctional behaviors when addiction occurs. Identifying the shades of dysfunction and educating the family to recognize negative traits aids in healing for everyone. In addition, family participation in recovery aims toward learning healthy relationship habits and the best supportive measures.

The Hero

Every family has a shining star considered the family Hero, who never lets anyone down. Often in denial of the addiction, the Hero covers up the shame and helplessness within the family dynamic. The strives to maintain a high level of esteem for the family. Putting considerable pressure on themselves, they draw attention away from the negativity of addiction. 

The Mascot

In every family, the family Mascot appears to be happy, animated, and comforting amid challenging situations. The role of the Mascot seems to be offering comedy as relief from the stress of the addiction but unearthed as directed towards the addict. A negative coping mechanism, this form of clowning around is hurtful and sad. Such comic pretense can heighten fears and hide insecurities. Humor is a defense mechanism for the Mascot. 

The Lost Child 

This family member avoids conflict at all costs. Suppressing their emotions and feelings, they are internally distraught. The Lost Child will never rock the boat and speak out about what is churning inside. Characterized within the family as non-being, introverted, shy, and quiet, the Lost Child does not participate in any family activity. They appear lost in the family’s drama while their needs remain neglected. Over the long term, the Lost Child will resent the family for being neglected. As a result, they often grow up feeling isolated.

The Scapegoat

Scapegoats are present in every family. This family member is the source of other problems and difficulties and tries to draw the family’s attention from the addiction. These masters of distraction might also be labeled “the problem child.” The Scapegoat is trying to protect the addict’s family members from intense feelings of guilt and shame. Taking the blame for the addict’s behavior, the Scapegoat seems stable and emotionally healthy. Family members blame the Scapegoat for not alarming the unit about the addiction. The role of the family in addiction recovery is to remove the belief that the scapegoat is guilty by association. 

The Enabler

Most people are familiar with the role of the Enabler. This family member insulates the addict by overlooking or excusing the negative behaviors. The Enabler avoids shame and embarrassment and attempts to smooth over difficulties until they disappear. Unfortunately, the addict is not held accountable for the responsibility of addiction. The role of the family in addiction recovery must resolve the Enabler’s behaviors for successful recovery.

What Role Does Family Play in Addiction Recovery?

Addiction recovery requires a stable support system for the addict to recover successfully. The role of the family in addiction recovery is to strengthen the family unit to be that needed support system. Education on dysfunctional habits and behavior changes will make the family unit positive and healthy. Working together to support the addict in recovery, the family must resolve the previous dysfunctional behaviors for a healthy environment for all

How Beneficial is Family Therapy in Addiction?

Support from the family is vitally important and increases the success percentages for treatment for the addict. Prevention of relapse is the primary goal. The role of the family in addiction recovery is to support the addict in therapy. If family dysfunction remains, support will not be practical and could cause additional problems. Establishing a healthy family dynamic can result from family counseling

Family Support Groups for Addiction

Support groups are available for families to educate and rehabilitate their dysfunctional behaviors and learn to support their loved ones in addiction. After evaluation, family members may participate in individual and group therapy. The role of the family in addiction recovery is vital. The following support groups are available for families. 

  • Al-Anon
  • Nar-Anon
  • Codependents Anonymous
  • Adult Children of Alcoholics

Find Help Today in Atlanta

Families interested in supporting their addicted loved ones have had success with the programs we offer at Retreat of Atlanta. We encourage the family to participate as an active support system for our patients. Feel free to reach out to us now to learn more about your important role in recovery. The role of the family in addiction recovery is vital to success in recovery. Contact us now for more information.

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