The question of whether counseling works is always a struggle. It should be intuitive that counseling works because you’re vocalizing the problems and concerns and then talking through them in a productive and non-confrontational setting. However, there has been so much stigma and issues around counseling and mental health that it’s all too easy for people to say that they don’t need or want it. The fact is, any presence of addiction in your family or home life has affected you and the people around you. You may not have a normal level of trust, or you may feel that you’re not really worth attention and care that you should have received from that person in your life. These are normal elements of addiction for families affected by drug use.
Counseling for Individuals and Families Affected by Drug Use
Drug use can have an impact in economically damaged areas as well as suburbs and metropolitan areas with affluent families. Addiction can strike any family at any point, and with the opioid epidemic still ongoing, it’s likely that addiction is present somewhere in your family or friend circle.
So how does this affect everyone around the addict? For families, there’s a general sense of obligation to protect or shelter this person. Unfortunately, paying an addict’s rent is different than helping out your kid that is between jobs. Just the same, taking your sister out to lunch because she’s in town is very different than giving her $40 so she can go score.
Family counseling focuses on the abuses, the manipulation, and the enabling elements of addiction. The person that you love is capable of using that love to get what they want, and it’s the nature of addiction.
In Individuals counseling a person hurt by addiction can learn how they did or did not contribute to the addiction. For example, if two siblings experienced the same trauma of abandonment by a parent as children and one did not succumb to addiction, then it’s common that there would be some guilt. It’s common but not reasonable.
Individual and family counseling can both be beneficial to those who have people struggling with addiction nearby.
“Counseling is for the Weak” and Other Defeatist Attitudes
When you have multiple generations involved in solving a family problem, you’re sure to run into various points in the spectrum. While some of the family might be open to pursuing therapy together, others may not be so thrilled. Older generations will typically see therapy as something that mentally ill people need, and possibly that mental illness is a choice.
There’s also the defeatist mentality that counseling is just talking, and the family does that all the time. To address some of these concerns, counseling as a family is different than individual counseling in that you have a mediator to help bridge communication gaps. That person can help you all learn how to communicate and how to build healthy relationships.
Will Counseling for You, Fix the Addict?
Even counseling for the addict can’t fix the addict. What happens when an addicted person goes to therapy is they are learning skills, coping mechanisms, and tools to handle difficult situations. When a family member goes, they’re working on themselves too. Families affected by drug use work on setting healthy boundaries and keeping those boundaries respectful and loving but ending manipulation.
Additionally, family members can learn to understand their role in enabling and to stop those behaviors. That means that ultimately your counseling will help the addict. You’ll stop enabling them. You’ll learn how to build healthier relationships within your family and how to protect yourself from manipulation.
Rehab Carolinas Offers a Full System for Families Affected by Drug Use
In Fayetteville, NC, you will need a full system of support if you’re serious about the person in your life getting clean. You can no longer enable them, but also you need help yourself. Addiction has a family presence because it engages the people around the addict in unhealthy ways too. Having someone stand up and say that the addict needs to get clean isn’t enough. The whole family needs to look at the trauma and damage done within the family unit.
While Rehab Carolinas specializes in addiction treatment and rehabilitation, our goal to provide long-term recovery. That means that we often work with families collectively and individual family members to help them through the recovery process as well. Not only can your family learn more about addiction, but you can understand how their addiction has affected your life.