Why You Should Let Your Family Be Involved in Your Recovery

Why You Should Let Your Family Be Involved in Your Recovery

Many people instinctively attempt to retreat from friends and family when they begin the process of recovering from an addiction to marijuana or other substances. Some people attempt to manage their recovery on their own. Some blame members of their family for their condition. Some fear relational consequences if their loved ones were to truly know what was going on. The truth, however, is that your family should be involved in your recovery for a number of reasons.

Addiction Is a Family Disorder

Although addiction thrives on secrecy and isolation, it directly impacts and shapes the way family members relate to each other. Most addicts come from a family with a history of addiction. Whether due to a biological or genetic predisposition for the disease, or by learning unhealthy coping techniques by watching parents and siblings, substance abuse and chemical dependence rarely occur in a vacuum. And just as certainly as family dynamics contribute to the development of addiction, family dynamics can be a critical part of the recovery process.

At the heart of addiction is the process of coping with pain. Whether that pain is emotional or physical, the use of drugs or alcohol is almost always an attempt to create relief. The use of these substances, however, does not actually stop the pain. While it may relieve the outer symptoms of pain for a short time, escaping by getting high causes additional pain for the addict and everyone around him.

The impact of addiction on bystanders is commonly referred to as “codependency” in recovery circles. The following are some of the most common symptoms of codependent behavior in families:

  • Blame shifting
  • Denial
  • Minimizing the impact of the disease or its effect on others
  • Anger management problems
  • Verbal or physical abuse
  • Avoidance
  • Lying
  • Feeling a need to earn acceptance
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Impulse control disorders
  • Compensating for bad behavior with gifts

The addictive behavior of a parent has a direct impact on his or her children. The substance abuse of one child will change the way all siblings relate. The addict is often the last to understand how profoundly his actions hurt his loved ones. The dysfunctional ways an addict’s family relates to each other will not end simply because the addict stops using drugs. Lasting recovery requires healing for all members of the family. This often involves group and individual counseling and strong aftercare support.

As the healing of recovery transforms your family you will discover an incredibly valuable system of lasting recovery support and encouragement. Your willingness to dig in to the process with your family might even inspire other members to get the help they need individually.

Addiction Creates and Feeds on Shame

Shame is a powerful and unhelpful emotion that is a direct result of the psychological damage caused by substance abuse. It is this shame that often prevents addicts from allowing their family to be involved in their recovery. Opening up about your struggles, however, can accomplish several critical things:

  • You will see that your family loves and supports you more than you realize
  • Your self-esteem will improve
  • You will have the opportunity to understand and apologize for the pain you have caused
  • You may learn important things about your family history

Ending the pattern of shame and self-loathing that feeds substance abuse is a critical step in the recovery process and family support can be very helpful in that process.

What if My Family Isn’t Sober?

It is still important for you to involve your family in your recovery, even if every single member is an active addict. While you will need to find your recovery support elsewhere, the establishment of healthy boundaries and the opportunity for you to make amends for your own actions is important. Your family will continue to be your family for the rest of your life. You may have to learn how to relate to them differently, but they are a part of your story. It might even be that your willingness to embrace recovery will inspire others in your family to get the help they need.

Family Support Is a Critical Recovery Resource

Recovery is challenging. You will need all the help you can get. As messed up as many families may seem, they know you better than anyone and have loved you for a long time. The support of your family can be one of the most important resources for your long-term healing. Family members can hold you accountable to continue to work on your sobriety. They can encourage you to attend meetings and may even attend with you. While the primary responsibility for your recovery is yours, family members can definitely help.

24 Hour Recovery Helpline for Individuals and Families

If you would like more information about how to involve your family in your recovery from marijuana addiction, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our staff members are always available with confidential answers to your questions and immediate access to the best treatment programs. You are not in this alone. We are here to help you end your dependence on substances and to extend the opportunity for recovery to your friends and family as well. Call now.