Addiction is a heartbreaking and difficult disease that can affect families for generations.

We know that addiction can be genetic and that it can create toxic family dynamics.

Often when an individual struggles with addiction, one of their parents, sometimes both, struggled with addiction.

The children of addicts are 8 times more likely to develop an addiction. One study looked at 231 people who were diagnosed with drug or alcohol addiction and compared them to 61 people who did not have an addiction. Then it looked at the first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, or children) of those people. It discovered that if a parent has a drug or alcohol addiction, the child had an 8 times greater chance of developing an addiction.(3)

Addictions and Recovery

In fact, about half of all addiction is genetic, but learned behavior and social influence can also increase the likelihood of it developing. This is why addiction is often referred to as the “family disease.”

Addiction also does not just affect the individual that is struggling with the disease– its arms reach throughout the network of family and friends who are closest to the addict.

It can be hard for those on the outside who want to help but have to tiptoe the line of support or enabling.

Loved ones can also reach a breaking point where they feel like they can no longer trust the person and have to remove themselves from their life.

That is why New Roads is a firm believer in family therapy and working to repair damaged relationships:

What is the Goal of Family Therapy?

When you seek treatment for addiction, the family dynamic issues don’t magically disappear.

Not only is addiction treatment necessary, but treating relationships, whether family or friends, is also vital to recovery.

Repairing trust issues and broken relationships will take time. With the help of family therapy at New Roads, not only can the individual help overcome their addiction, but the family can begin to heal.

An unhealthy family dynamic can be detrimental to an individual’s sobriety.

The main purpose of family therapy in addiction recovery is to get the family members talking to each other. Family therapy provides a safe area to establish communication, and talk openly and productively rather than placing blame.

Family therapy will give every member the tools they need for positive communication. This will make it so that even after treatment, families are able to properly communicate with one another.

Family therapy will give both the addict and the family greater insight into addiction, and help them to re-establish trust and understanding.

It can also make it easier for the family to communicate with the addict on how they can support them during their sobriety journey.

Developing these lines of communication and this new openness offers constructive ways of expressing anger or frustration as well as what the addict and family may be struggling with.

What To Expect from Family Therapy

When you think of family therapy you might be picturing something similar to an intervention setting– some members are crying, some are shouting, or some are even bored.

But we promise New Roads family therapy is rarely as dramatic as that. The environment created by New Roads Behavioral Health is a calm, welcoming, environment where individuals can speak openly and honestly.

However, family therapy also doesn’t have to be limited to family.

Many individuals will bring close friends, coworkers, or anyone they feel like their addiction has harmed, and to whom they want to make amends.

The length of family therapy will depend on the state of the relationships that are being repaired.

Some sessions will be one-on-one with the individual struggling and one of their loved ones with the assistance of a therapist. Some sessions may be in a small group setting.

It’s important to remember that this setting is designed for the family to learn to understand addiction better and communicate in a healthy way, not to gang up on each other or make anyone feel bad right?!

Family therapy can be an incredible resource to help repair splintered relationships.

At New Roads, families are encouraged to participate in treatment! Family members can receive education, learn skills, and develop insight through videos available on the website family portal. A two-day family intensive is offered about every six weeks!

It’s a vital part of the addiction recovery process. To learn more about family therapy at New Roads Behavioral Health, call 888-358-8998 and see how we can help.

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Written by: Nicole Weisbrich