| Peter Cook
Programs that can help addicts and their families
Addiction is a family disease
Yes, it all started with one person who made a bad choice. He picked up a stone and threw it in the water. Unfortunately, the rock affected the water. The water rippled and touched lives far beyond that the addict could have thought. Addiction creates pain in families.
Families need help to work through the havoc that addiction brought into their lives. They need to learn how to rebuild trust and set healthy boundaries.
Look after your health
A drug- or alcohol addiction cannot be controlled. The addict must take responsibility for his/her own actions. But, family members need to look after themselves too.
What happens in families where a substance abuser is present?
- Families with substance abusers often have great financial pressure. Addicts can face job instability, unemployment and accidents or injuries at work. Someone must pick up the pieces.
- The likelihood of divorce is increased where substance abuse is present.
- Males often become violent when using. This causes stress to all family members and an increased risk of violent behavior towards a partner.
- Children are neglected.
It is an authentic fact: it is not only the addict that needs help. Families are hurting too.
Types of help that is available
For the addict
There are many different types of therapy and what works for one person, might not work for another. Someone who wants help to change their habits can find it in:
Breaking a bad habit can be dangerous. A detox program will help the addict to break addiction in a safe and controlled environment. It is usually between three to seven days long.
- Inpatient programs
In the scenario of a severe addiction, therapy and detox given in a specialized center over a more extended period can be more helpful than just a detox program.
In an inpatient program, the patient will receive a combination of therapies that will aim to address the underlying causes of his addiction.
How long a stay is in such a program, will depend on the individual. Some programs keep their patients for as long as needed, while others come to an end after one or two months.
- Outpatient treatment
Outpatient treatment can work for some addicts who are highly motivated to stop using alcohol or drugs. The advantage of this is the addict can still go to work or attend to personal responsibilities while in treatment.
Aftercare is very important.
No matter what type of rehab treatment you choose, aftercare programs prevent relapse and help addicts to succeed in the outside world. Aftercare plans can include 12-step meetings, support groups or even one-on-one counseling.
Help for families
Programs such as Al-Anon and Narcotics Anon do not only help addicts with a support network but can also assist families in coping with the challenges of someone else's addiction.
The main focus of these programs is to help people learn from the experiences of others who faced similar problems. Al-Anon has the "One day at a time" approach, and it can be applied to any complex problem.
Greater chance of success
Research has shown that addicts have a greater chance of success when supported by family members that are part of a family recovery plan such as Al-Anon.
Tips for finding the right support group for your family
- There are groups everywhere! Your doctor or addiction treatment counselor should be able to provide you with a list of support groups in your area.
- If there is no group in your immediate vicinity, a support group can be found online, or it is possible to phone someone from a prominent program.
- Support groups have different belief systems. 12-step programs believe that addiction must be healed physically, but also spiritually. Find a group that supports your beliefs.
At Largest Heart, we believe in the power of families!
Relationships can be healed, and the support that a family can give cannot be surpassed. Survivor programs give strength – for all those involved. Donate here today, so that we all can help to make a difference.