The Role of Family Therapy in Successful Addiction Recovery

Addiction does not just affect the person struggling with substance abuse but their loved ones as well. When a person abuses drugs or alcohol, their family and friends often experience a ripple effect of negative consequences. The communication breakdown, betrayal, neglected responsibilities, financial strain, and emotional & physical turmoil can strain relationships, erode trust, and create a significant rift between family and their loved ones. Family therapy is an important component of addiction treatment for these reasons.

Sadly, these effects can linger even in addiction recovery. Family members may continue to carry the emotional wounds and resentments caused by addiction. Trust may be fragile, and they may struggle with ongoing communication challenges and unresolved conflicts. They might not assume healthy roles and behavior to encourage and support recovery in this state. That's why family therapy is important. 

What is Family Therapy? 

Family therapy, also known as family counseling or systemic therapy, is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on improving the functioning and well-being of a family unit. It addresses the interpersonal dynamics, communication issues, and relationships among family members, with the aim of healing relationships, enhancing understanding, and promoting positive change. The therapy process involves all or most family members attending sessions together, although sometimes individual sessions may also be included.

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Practices in Family Therapy

Family group therapy rebuilds rifts between loved ones. A therapist may use different therapy models, including:

Why is Family Therapy Important in Recovery?

Family therapy plays a significant role in recovery by providing support, education, and intervention for individuals and families facing various challenges.

Education and Awareness

Therapy can play a vital role in addressing misconceptions surrounding addiction. One common misconception is the belief that addiction is solely a moral failing or a result of weak willpower. Family members may harbor judgment or blame towards their loved one, perceiving their addiction or relapse as a character flaw rather than a disease.

Education and awareness about addiction as a disease help family members overcome stigma and judgment. They come to recognize that addiction is not a choice but a medical condition that requires treatment and support. This understanding promotes empathy, compassion, and patience within the family system.

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Addresses Co-Occurring Issues

Co-occurring issues are mental disorders that often co-exist with substance use disorders. According to studies, 53% of drug and 37% of alcohol users also have at least one serious mental illness. And family plays a big role in mental health and addiction, so this type of therapy becomes crucial in addressing these co-occurring issues.

Utilizing this type of therapy can help family members understand the impact of family dynamics on mental health and addiction. This can, in turn, encourage families to create a nurturing and empowering environment for their loved ones to recover and thrive.

Encourages Family Involvement 

One of the key principles of family therapy is the encouragement of family involvement, which means involving all family unit members in the therapeutic strategies. This approach recognizes that issues within a family are often influenced by the dynamics and relationships among its members, and therefore, involving everyone is crucial for effective intervention and healing. These therapy sessions will encourage family involvement through family sessions, active participation, collaborative problem-solving, psychoeducation, and homework assignments. 

Improved treatment retention

Family group therapy helps create a supportive environment where family members actively engage in treatment. Their involvement and support can significantly enhance an individual's motivation to stay in addiction treatment and work toward recovery. Knowing that their family members are invested in their well-being and actively participating in therapy can give the individual a sense of purpose and support, increasing their commitment to the treatment program. Besides, family members can provide ongoing encouragement and reinforcement, positively impacting the individual's commitment to treatment and overall recovery.

Creates a Supportive Environment

Therapy with family present can also emphasize the importance of their support in the recovery process. It helps family members recognize their role in supporting their loved ones, providing them with tools and resources to create a nurturing and conducive environment for healing. This supportive atmosphere helps individuals feel understood, validated, and less alone in their recovery.

Improves Communication and Conflict Resolution Skills

Addiction or mental health issues can strain relationships, create misunderstandings, and lead to unhealthy communication patterns. Therapy provides a structured and supportive environment to address these challenges effectively.

During therapy sessions, family members learn valuable communication skills that foster understanding, empathy, and active listening. They also learn how to constructively express their thoughts, feelings, and concerns. This allows them to express their support better, establish boundaries, and navigate sensitive topics related to their loved one's recovery. 

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Safe Space for Family Members

This type of therapy provides a safe and supportive space where family members can express their emotions, concerns, and experiences related to addiction. It allows them to openly discuss the impact of addiction without fear of judgment or repercussions. Family members can share their struggles, frustrations, and fears and gain insight into their loved one's experiences and challenges. This safe space encourages open and honest communication, fostering understanding, empathy, and emotional healing within the family unit.

Preventing Relapse and Sustaining Recovery

Family support and involvement are crucial for preventing relapse and supporting sustained recovery. In family therapy, family members can learn about addiction, its triggers, and warning signs of relapse. They can also develop skills and strategies to support their loved one's recovery, such as creating a structured and supportive home environment, understanding relapse as part of the process, and encouraging healthy coping mechanisms. Family group therapy helps families become active in the recovery journey, increasing the chances of long-term success.

Family therapy is widely recognized as a valuable component of rehabilitation services and recovery. It acknowledges the impact that addiction has on the entire family system and emphasizes the importance of family support in the healing process. At More Than Rehab, we understand this importance and offer family group therapy as part of our services. 

Family group therapy provides a supportive and inclusive environment where family members can actively participate in the treatment and healing journey. By involving the family, More Than Rehab acknowledges the vital role that family support plays in promoting lasting recovery. If you are interested in learning more about our specific approach to family group therapy and the comprehensive services we provide, contact us today.

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Holidays 2021: A Guide to Avoiding Relapse Triggers

The holidays are a time when most people reunite with friends and family to celebrate. It is considered a time to drink, eat, and be merry.

Unfortunately, the holidays can also be stressful for people in recovery, and the chances of addiction relapse are relatively high. Emotional relapse may make any recovering addict turn to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Some common holiday triggers are:

Holiday triggers can easily make anyone in recovery return to drug or alcohol abuse. Luckily, we have a few tips that go a long way in preventing relapse during the holidays. These tips will help you stay sober during the holiday season.

Wake up every morning with the decision to stay sober

Every morning, make a conscious decision to stay sober. Plan how to avoid any triggers you may encounter that day and what you’ll do if you get any cravings.

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Eat healthily

Ensure you eat healthy during the holidays. Staying hungry may result in low blood sugar, which may, in turn, make you more irritable. When you are irritable, you become impulsive and may end up relapsing. Be sure to have a snack with you when on the move and snack every few hours.

Avoid high-risk situations

Evaluate every situation and decide whether they are high-risk or low risk. 

If you are in early recovery, it would be best to avoid high-risk situations. If you must, try to leave early.

It would also help to know your triggers for you to avoid them. Some of the most common triggers are anger, loneliness, fatigue, and hunger.

Make a point of taking care of yourself both physically, mentally, and emotionally. Not doing so may lead to physical relapse or mental relapse, which may in turn, lead to alcohol or drug use.

Carry your own drinks to parties

Most office and family parties have non-alcoholic beverages. However, it wouldn’t hurt to bring your own non-alcoholic beverages. If the party you’re going to will serve champagne, you can carry flavored sparkling water to sip on as other people drink their champagne. Other alternatives are juices or sparkling cider.

Carrying your drinks helps you avoid the temptation of indulging in the alcoholic drinks that are often served at holiday and Christmas parties.

Bring a sober friend along

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If you’re lucky enough to have a friend staying sober during the holidays, keep them close. A sober friend can keep you in check. If you feel the need to drink or get high, your friend will talk you out of it. Additionally, you’re less likely to feel the pressure to indulge when both of you are drinking non-alcoholic beverages.

Have a schedule

You may notice that over the holidays, most therapists cancel their sessions during the holidays since they either want to go on vacation or be with their friends and family. When this happens, you may not have sessions as often as you are used to. 

Try making a schedule of fun things you can do in your free time to keep yourself busy.

Learn to say "no" (politely)

Sometimes, you may not be ready to share details of your recovery journey with friends or family. Therefore, you need to learn how to politely decline their offers without giving out too many details. Practice your responses in advance so that you’re ready when they question you. For instance, if someone offers you drinks, you can decline by saying that you are the designated driver.

Volunteer

Volunteering during the holidays is an excellent pastime for people in recovery. You can choose to volunteer at a local shelter, food bank, or senior living community. Other than keeping you busy, volunteering can help remind you of how lucky you are.

Don’t isolate yourself

Although avoiding holiday parties and people seems like a good idea, it isn’t necessarily. Don’t isolate yourself by staying indoors. Spending too much time in isolation may lead to a relapse.

Try to choose events you can comfortably attend and make time for your friends and family. Show up for office parties and family events, but ensure you don’t relapse.

Have a support system

As mentioned earlier, the holiday celebrations and stressors can be relapse triggers. Having a strong support system can keep you busy and accountable throughout the holiday season. Support system can be your loved ones or peers in groups like Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, these groups complement and extend the effects of professional treatment. If you don’t have a support group or if you have travelled to a different city or state for the holidays, check this site for organizations and support groups in your area.

When the craving kicks in, move past it

Cravings will likely kick in during the holidays. The trick is to stay strong and not give in since the urge will pass after a few minutes. Talk yourself out of it, move to a different venue, meditate, or even just take deep breaths. Do whatever you have to do to move past your cravings. You’ll realize that the more you beat your cravings, the easier it becomes in the long run.

Approximately 21 million Americans struggle with substance use disorders, and during the holidays it could be especially tempting. Due to holiday triggers, the relapse rate for people in recovery is typically much higher.

If you’re having a hard time staying sober during the holidays, know that you are not alone. It would help to reach out for extra support during this season. Try booking extra therapy sessions, going for extra meetings, or even starting a new course of therapy. This way, instead of relapsing, you’ll end the year on a sober note.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with substance abuse or experiencing a relapse, contact us for safe and secure addiction treatment. You can also call us at: 1-888-249-2191. We are open 24/7 and have several treatment programs approved by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to help you get back on your feet. Our supportive and caring staff will walk with you, every step of the way.

You can also look at resources on the American Society of Addiction Medicine website.

How Addiction Affects Family Legal Matters in Texas

For someone who is struggling with an addiction, even the threat of loosing their kids doesn’t make it any easier for them to quit using drugs or alcohol. For some people the threat of losing their kids is what will finally make them decide to get treatment for their addiction. Many Texans have already lost custody and visitation rights for their children and are desperately trying to make things right.

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Exhibiting a willingness to change and complying with the courts orders are your best chances to reunite your family. Texas family laws operate on a belief that parents should share custody. If the state has suspended your custody rights, the important thing will be to comply with any and all court orders. If you have been ordered to go into rehabilitation, comply with that order. Once you finish treatment, you can file a motion to get custody of your kids back. If you fail to comply with court orders however, you may have your parental rights permanently terminated.

Texas courts and family law concerning addiction.

When a court makes the decision based on the child’s welfare, it may take several considerations into account. If they are at least 10 years of age, the child’s preference on custody can help determine the ruling of the court. The family’s history of abuse or neglect, substance abuse history, the ability of each parent to care for the child and the physical and emotional needs of the child can all be taken into account when it comes to legal determinations of parenting responsibilities.

In all of this, the goal of the state of Texas is always to provide the safest environment for the child to be raised in. According to the same statute, Texas courts must always make opportunities for both parents to play a role in the child’s life, whenever possible. If one parent is unfit to care for the child due to endangerment from drug or alcohol abuse, the court may require that parent to undergo treatment at a drug rehabilitation facility before further considerations regarding child custody are made.

What happens when one parent lives in another state?

The Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act regulates interstate custody arrangements. It was designed to provide a uniform jurisdiction and enforcement mechanisms in custody and visitation matters that transcend interstate boundaries. The law was also created in an effort to deter interstate parental kidnapping. This has been an issue as America is a highly mobile society. People move across the United States for their job or family obligations all the time. This law requires state courts to enforce valid child custody and visitation rights made in other states. The UCCJEA guidelines help shape various aspects of Texas state law regarding families.

Conservatorship and the roles of parents defined in Texas state family laws.

The laws of the State of Texas consider child custody “conservatorship”. This definition outlines the rights and responsibilities of parents concerning their child’s welfare and best interests. The responsibilities include decision-making for medical care, education and other matters impacting the child’s life. There are two types of conservatorship in Texas:

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How parental drug or alcohol abuse affects determinations of child custody cases in Texas:

When one, or both parents are using a substance that negatively impacts their ability to adequately care for children, the State of Texas considers this to be a form of “child abuse” or “neglect”. In custody cases, parents have the right to file a motion to have the other parent tested for drug use. However, this accusation cannot come without supporting evidence regarding the claims. The supporting evidence can come from a variety of sources, third party witnesses, the parent’s own criminal records, social welfare agencies or medical records. Courts will typically grant these requests as it is in the best interests of the child to determine the parent’s ability to provide for them.

If you have been actively using drugs and you tested positive on the court-ordered drug test, it is taken very seriously by the courts in Texas. This will likely be a major factor in the court’s decision regarding child custody and visitation rights. Typically, a failed UA will result in the complete loss of custody and visitation rights. Sometimes you may only be allowed supervised visitation rights.  

If a parent has repeated failed drug tests, a court-ordered addiction treatment program may be required to regain your visitation rights. This program may be in conjunction with other forms of counseling and even parenting classes. Keep in mind that a positive drug test doesn’t necessarily mean a complete loss of your parental rights. Exhibiting a willingness to change, with the successful completion of court-ordered classes and treatment programs can go a long way to restoring involvement in your child’s life.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, odds are it is affecting their entire family. Consider the help available from More Than Rehab. We offer an extensive addiction treatment program for all types of drug and alcohol abuse.  We are located just outside of Houston, Texas with locations in Austin and Dallas coming soon. Our phone lines are open 24/7 and we are ready to help.

Call us today:

888-249-2191