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The Importance of Family Support in Addiction Recovery

1. Family Support Makes It Easier to Get Treatment

Addiction affects all aspects of a person’s life, including their loved ones and communities. It is no wonder that these same loved ones and community members can be the most powerful sources of support.

The very first step of getting addiction treatment is recognizing that there is a problem. Friends and family members are often affected by their loved one’s addiction–and family members are best able to bring awareness to it.

With the help of their family members, people are more likely to realize they need treatment and get the practical and emotional support they need to start and complete treatment.

The process of finding high-quality treatment, working with employers and insurance companies, and arranging for travel can be overwhelming for people who struggle with addiction. Having family members who can step in and take on some of these challenges makes it possible–and more likely–for them to get started in treatment.

2. Family Support Reduces the Risk of Relapse in Recovery

The difference between lifelong sobriety and relapse is often the amount of support a person has once they complete rehab. Addiction is never cured. People must instead find ways to stay engaged and active in their recovery. It can be difficult to maintain this high level of commitment to recovery, and people who lose steam or face challenges may relapse.

Like many things in life, the challenge of lifelong recovery is made easier with the practical and emotional support of family members.

Some examples of practical aftercare support include:

  • Helping their loved one schedule appointments

  • Offering child or pet care during treatment

  • Reminding them about meetings and appointments

  • Working with the insurance company or treatment facility to manage payments

  • Lending money for treatment

  • Giving rides to and from appointments or treatment activities

Family members can also be an unmatched source of emotional support after treatment ends. Family members might:

  • Remind them of their reason for being in treatment

  • Offer a non-judgmental place to share

  • Learn about addiction and treatment to deepen their understanding

  • Reaffirm their love and care

  • Help their loved one focus on the future and forgive the past

Having family support makes it more likely that a person in recovery will get the help they need to form a good aftercare plan. It is also more likely that they will stick with the plan and be able to adapt it as time goes on. Research has shown that individuals who have the support and involvement of their family in treatment and recovery are less likely to relapse than those who do not have the same level of support.

3. Family Support Leads to Lifelong Healing

Addiction is a family disease. When one member of a family lives with addiction, everyone else is affected, even if it is not easy to understand in the midst of it.

One important aspect of family support during addiction recovery is working to identify and heal the places where the family isn’t functioning well. When the entire family goes through counseling or treatment, they get the tools they need to manage stress, stop their enabling behaviors, and unlearn roles that make it hard to heal.

Family therapy is often included as part of a person’s addiction treatment plan.

When the whole family gets the support and education they need, there are better outcomes, reduced family stress, and less chance of relapse.

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