Spouses, siblings, and parents of addicts often absorb many of the consequences of their loved one’s substance use. Many people have a hard time talking openly about the behavior that’s harming them, so they say nothing. Family members can also become emotionally detached and distant as they are tired of bad behaviour and fighting with their loved one. They may blame themselves when the addiction persists or blame the addicted person for their unhappiness.
These silences and blame games can hold a family back from getting help. Family members may not have the tools on their own to assist someone in active recovery and they may not have the energy to help themselves.
Family therapy sessions are helpful to break down guilt and distrust by giving everyone a chance to feel heard. It can help family members understand themselves and each other, and work through conflict in a healthy way. Families that were once defined by anger and addiction can grow into tight-knit units that are able to support one another through honest communication and healthy boundaries.
Family therapy can take time, and it can be tempting to skip a session — particularly for families with a number of conflicting appointments and agendas. However, this work is vital to the mental health of everyone involved, so meetings should be attended whenever possible.