Addiction and the Family

family recovery

“I remember the day very clearly. I woke up to text messages from my friends at six in the morning letting me know that they saw my brother on the news. I had no idea what was going on so I quickly turned on the tv. Sure enough there was a story about 4 local robberies that had occurred over the weekend.
The police were asking for assistance with identifying the suspects on the surveillance footage, one of which was my little brother. The news story made it seem as if he had violently assaulted two people which was a shock to anyone that knows him.
As I watched the news report over and over again I was able to see that they story was a combination of two different suspects and my brother was not the one that assaulted the gas station attendant. This provided some relief until I realized that most people were not going to take the time to make this observation.
I woke my mom up and showed her the news report. She was devastated. My little brother was arrested the next day and his picture was plastered all over the tv and internet along with the misleading news report that made him look like he violently beat someone.
We all knew that my brother was using drugs and that his use was increasing. He was living with my parents and they were starting to find drug paraphernalia. They had tried to talk to him numerous times but he would deny it and become very angry. I know that his anger scared my mom at times. We all spent so much time wondering what had happened to my sweet little brother.
After the news report was aired, my mom started to receive phone calls and texts from people asking her how she was doing. She did not know what to say or what to do at this point. She worried about what people were thinking about my brother, what they were thinking about her and my dad as parents, and what they were thinking about all of our family.
She knew that the news story looked really bad and she wanted everyone to understand that he did not hurt anyone. My mom experienced a depression that was new to her. She would not leave the house or go to family events because she did not want to see people. She did not want to know what people were thinking about her little boy. She did not know what to do. She felt helpless and in shock. Luckily she was able to pull through her sadness and moved into a phase where she did not personalize what people thought about him. It took some time though and a lot of tears.
This type of story happens all over the country on a daily basis. Addicts and alcoholics are arrested, become homeless, lose their families, learn that they have damaged their bodies, and much more.
With every addict and alcoholic, there is a system of individuals that are also suffering and don’t know what to do. There is no manual that can break down the do’s and don’ts for each person’s experience with addiction. One of the hardest parts is not only the lack of availability for all addicts and alcoholics to receive quality treatment but also the lack clinically supportive groups for family members.
Even for those individuals that are lucky enough to get into treatment, there is little support for the family members to also receive help. My mom stated that her experience with my brother’s arrest could have been so different with a therapeutic support group. She would have liked to have a group of individuals that knew what she was going through and would not judge her. She would have liked to know that good people become addicted to drugs and alcohol and that there is hope for everyone.”

The reality is addiction a family disease. Its symptoms impact all members of the family, and its just individuals who needs treatment. At Brighton Recovery Center there are multiple resources for families who are struggling with a loved one in addiction.
Intervention and Support. Our admissions team works directly with families in confronting the issue of addiction and helping the family find tangible steps they can take to start the process of recovery.
Community and Family Support. Every Sunday at 2 pm we offer a therapist facilitated family support group for any individual that has a family member or friend that is struggling with addiction. This group allows families to have a place for them to go to receive their own healing and learn from others what steps they took in being involved in recovery as a family system.

  • Weekly Family Education. All patients at Brighton are encouraged to invite family to attend a weekly educational group with their loved ones about addiction and recovery.
  • Monthly Family Programming. Once a month families are invited to come for two full days of programming and learn about the disease of addiction and what is needed for lasting recovery.
  • Family Therapy. All patients are encouraged to participate in family therapy in addition to individual therapy as part of treating the whole person.

If addiction is a family disease, recovery is also a family process. Those who have family involved in their treatment show stronger success rates and report more fulfillment in their recovery. Healing is not just for the person struggling. There are resources available to everyone impacted by the devastating consequences of addiction, as well as the rewards of a life in recovery.

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