When an individual enters addiction treatment, he makes a self-affirming decision to do whatever is necessary to correct destructive behavior and learn new methods of dealing with stress, anger and frustration. Recovering from addiction is rarely an easy journey, and a support system of caring family and friends can often be critical in aiding him as he returns to normal life. Family visits during addiction recovery begin this process of developing healthy relationships that will be instrumental in supporting a sober lifestyle.
Healing Old Wounds
Addiction treatment includes family therapy to help heal the wounds that addictive behavior has caused in the past.1 During these sessions, each family member can air grievances and work through negative emotions that often result from living with or interacting with someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They may have experienced lies, manipulation, social embarrassment, theft and other negative behaviors that have left them feeling angry, exhausted and hopeless.
Family therapy sessions can help to restore understanding and trust between members, and a healthier family dynamic can be established for the future. Family members learn healthier ways of communicating and interacting that help to restore healthy functioning to the family system.
Establishing Healthy Communication
Family visits during recovery provide an opportunity to practice communicating effectively with other people, a skill that may have fallen into disuse during the period of addiction. Many individuals in recovery must re-learn how to speak honestly about their feelings, needs and motivations when engaging with others, and this ability requires practice.
Engaging in meaningful communication with loved ones helps individuals in recovery to understand themselves better and deal fairly and honestly with people who are important to them. In the process of learning how to communicate more effectively, individuals in recovery learn skills that can be applied in all other areas of life, making their re-entry into society easier and more effective.
Preparing a Plan for the Future
Another reason why family visits are so critical to the recovery of individuals overcoming addiction is that they provide practical help for creating and supporting a workable plan for returning to regular life after treatment.2 When family members understand the cravings and frustration that a recovering individual must manage, they’re motivated to provide more help in the form of staying in contact with the loved one, helping to arrange practical matters and encouraging them to get additional counseling or advice from a support group when frustration overwhelms them or when a relapse is imminent.
These efforts can make the difference between resisting a relapse and falling back into another round of drug or alcohol use. Family members can help the individual plan employment, living arrangements, education and the many other details that go into restoring a productive, healthy lifestyle.
Real Recovery offers a supportive, motivated community that helps young men reclaim their ability to chart the course of their own lives after addiction. Family visits benefit addiction recovery by providing the support system that these individuals need to maintain sobriety as they resume their normal activities.