Treatment for substance use is finite, but families are infinite. We attend treatment and learn the skills to move forward in our lives, and then we return to our families. If we do not include our families in our treatment and recovery, we are missing out on an opportunity for a long-term, built-in support network. Families rejoice with us in times of success and are there to pick up the pieces when we are broken. Why is family so crucial? Because of the power of their unconditional love.
Let’s be fair, probably not even Norman Rockwell himself had a perfect family. The chances of us even having a functional family is lowered exponentially when we have used substances. Perhaps our family would be completely unwilling to even meet with us in treatment, but even in dysfunctional families, there is enough love there that they could be willing to try if they are even remotely able. Even if our family is less capable than we are in our crisis, extending the olive branch and attempting to expose them to what we are doing and learning about in treatment can benefit everyone. Certainly, right now, we can use all the support we can get.
The Power of Knowledge
There is a reason that most recovery programs seek to involve the family in our treatment: Our families are our worlds. When we leave treatment with our shiny new skills, we go home to… yes, you guessed it… family. They need to know. They need to know about you, about your substance use, about the changes you are making in your life. They need to know that they are needed.
Knowledge destroys stigma. There is likely a fair bit of stigma in our families about us, our substance use, and now this treatment thing we are doing. Allowing our families the opportunity to come to treatment and learn about our pain, our past, and how we got here humanizes us and our condition. It helps them to understand us better, to understand substance abuse better, and to take a vested interest in our recovery.
That is just the tip of the iceberg, though. They can learn about communication, family dynamics, the different types of therapy, and the most important ways that they will be able to support you going forward. Knowledge is power, and when we give our families the power to support us, we are unlocking a treasure trove of power to bless us now and throughout our lives.
The Power of Support
Anyone who has ever played a sport, performed in some way, or otherwise put themselves in front of a lot of people knows that having some of those people be on our side is everything. In this way, our family is like our own personal fan club. We know that they will be there for us when we win, or even in the event that we should fall flat on our faces. This kind of support is crucial to keep us going, to keep us taking chances and making the effort to live courageously.
Our families can do more than cheer us on, though. They can be our partners in wellness, our emotional support animals, and our in-home life coaches. They can help us maintain our self-care, practice our skills, exercise, eat healthily, and more. They can be our inspiration to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and our daily reminders of why we are working so hard to be a better person.
Sometimes family members may even be inspired to support us by emulating the change they see in us. Whether it be giving up a habit such as coffee or smoking, or simply exercising more, eating healthier, or joining us in yoga or meditation, sometimes the support comes in the shape of a chain reaction of change. Whatever way our family chooses to support us is up to them. But support in any form is a blessing in our recovery.
The Power of Love
The words our families say to us may not always feel like unconditional love. Yet there is no other love like familial love. Whether it is family that we have chosen, such as a partner or spouse, or family we were adopted into or born into, there is a love there that is not like any other in our worlds. There is power in this love, no matter how crazy our family is. Knowing they are there, and particularly knowing of their support on any level they are able to give it is a healing bond in our lives. Even just knowing there is another human being out there with familial DNA fortifies us in ways that other relationships cannot. For families who can express their love, the healing is that much more powerful.
Regardless of where our relationships stand with our families right now, we can invite them into our recovery process. When we do this, we stand to gain the power of love and support that only family can bring. By giving them the knowledge to understand and support our journey, we give ourselves a force field of love and protection that will help us be successful in our recovery. Why is family so crucial? Because they hold the knowledge, support, and unconditional love that we need to heal.
Learn about the healing influence of family by calling AToN Center at (888) 535-1516. Heal yourself and mend relationships for your future.