When we think about substance use disorders, the focus—understandably—tends to be on the person who is struggling with drugs or alcohol. After all, it is their life that is in danger of falling apart—or even of ending if they overdose or get into a substance-related accident. Obviously, helping a person realize they need help is a top priority.
But we should also prioritize the struggles and needs of those who love someone with a substance use disorder. Having a family member who uses drugs or alcohol is stressful. Relationships may be damaged—not just between a family member and the person struggling, but between family members who have different approaches to dealing with that person. Anger and resentment can easily take the place of compassion and concern under these circumstances. That’s not good for anyone—not for the person who is using drugs or alcohol and not for the people who love them.
Fortunately, many resources are available for family members who want to help but who are unsure how to do so in a positive, lasting way. In fact, if you are helping a loved one choose a recovery center, we would encourage you to consider what that facility offers in terms of support for family members.
What Does French Creek Offer for Families? We’re Glad You Asked.
At French Creek Recovery Center, we take the needs of family members very seriously. Our family program includes an educational program that includes one 90-minute session each week (usually on Saturdays) for four weeks.
In these sessions, family members will learn more about substance use disorders and their status as incurable—but treatable—diseases of the brain. Participants will also learn about the recovery process their loved one is experiencing, the importance of a strong support system built on healthy relationships for people in recovery, and the principles and practices of 12-Step recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous.
Throughout these sessions, the many effects of a family member’s substance use disorder on the family unit will be discussed. We will also provide an overview of resources for family members, including an introduction to Al-Anon, a support group organization devoted to helping those who love someone with a substance use issue.
Family Systems Therapy
For some families, these educational sessions and the resources they reveal may not be enough to help get the family back on track and ready to support their loved one on their recovery journey. In those cases, our therapists and counselors will encourage family members to participate in family counseling sessions. Many families may benefit from family systems therapy. Psychology Today offers a useful description of family therapy and its benefits:
Family systems therapy is a form of psychotherapy that helps individuals resolve their problems in the context of their family units, where many issues are likely to begin. Each family member works together with the others to better understand their group dynamic and how their individual actions affect each other and the family unit as a whole. One of the most important premises of family systems therapy is that what happens to one member of a family happens to everyone in the family.
Participating in family systems therapy can help family members understand one another better, which in turn can help them support one another more effectively. This process can benefit the family in ways that go beyond learning how to interact with a family member who is using drugs or alcohol. A whole range of relationship issues can be addressed and improved via family systems therapy.
We Are Ready to Help Your Loved One – And You
At French Creek Recovery Center, we understand the ways in which one person’s substance use disorder can impact an entire family. Our evidence-based, compassionate, and personalized approach to care ensures that your loved one will begin their recovery journey with the tools and resources they need to maintain their sobriety. We also want to serve your family by making sure each family member feels heard and is well equipped to move the whole family forward together.