It is hard to be in a family when one of the members is struggling with addiction. It puts an unbelievable amount of stress on the family as a whole. It’s hard for them, and it’s hard for the family. It might be your mother or father. It might be your child. Or grandparent. Or close friend. Families come in all sorts of varieties.
Typically, a lot of arguing goes on in families when addiction is a problem. It is common to have a lot of nagging, pleading, fighting, losing hope, and despairing that things will ever get better. Trying to help the person is often hindered by huge amounts of frustration and anger. Communication is reduced to anger, fighting, and tears. Your loved one may even have come to expect the fights, the arguments, and the scenes that happen when they come home drunk or high.
If someone’s drinking or using has eaten away at you, you’re not alone. This is a common result of loving someone with a substance use issue. People whose lives feel out of control automatically look for something or someone to blame. The more they lose control, the more they need someone to blame. Unfortunately the easiest target for blame is the person closest to them. Undoubtedly you have heard things like “You don’t understand” or “I am handling the problem, you are the one with the problems” Month after month, year after year these wear away at you.
When addiction happens, it is extremely common to not know what to do. The way you and your loved one interact is a well-rehearsed routine based on your natural style, their natural style and the impact of the drugs or alcohol on their brain and behavior, and the interaction of all of these elements. What you need to learn is how to help your loved one move towards sobriety and a rewarding life and to improve your quality of life, regardless of whether they ever give up drinking or using. The key is to figure out how you and your loved one affect each other and how that pattern may be modified to achieve different results.
This is where we can step in to teach you the skills needed to help your loved one, and yourself, regardless if they stop drinking/using or not. Some things you should know, to start:
- The opposite of addiction is connection. YOU are the one who knows your loved one best.
Connection + Relationship = Influence
- You have a lot of power here, although it probably doesn’t feel like it most of the time.
There is significant evidence that people with addiction (also referred to as a substance use disorder) choose to seek treatment due to the direct influence of concerned family and loved ones. You can be a collaborator in your loved one’s recovery.
It’s time for your quality of life to become less dependent on whether your loved one is sober or not, or in a good mood or bad, home or not home. The objective of moving your loved one toward sobriety, believe it or not, is also helped by improving your quality of life independent of their behavior. As your stress level decreases, you will be able to deal with your substance-using loved one in a calmer, less reactive manner, and your relationship will improve.
Most families want the same things. For their loved one to stop using and live a healthy life in recovery. Better finances, if your family member can get back to work. More fun and family social activities again. Few problems with the children, sharing parenting responsibilities again. A better relationship with less conflict and a more effective problem-solving style. Feeling less overwhelmed, anxious, sad, or ashamed, and life-changing back to the way it was before the problems became overwhelming. For your loved one to get the help they need.
And also, more enjoyable activities for YOU, with or without your family member. Increased self-esteem for you. And serenity, peace, and confidence for you.
We can help you learn how to help them.
What we can teach you in our Family Support and Education group is how to relate to your loved one in a constructive way, and how to positively encourage them to seek help. You know your person best, and we want to help you learn how best to help them. We will also be available in between sessions to consult with you, to check-in, and offer support. You won’t be doing this alone.
Here are a few of the things you will learn:
- Understanding what triggers your family member to use substances
- Positive communication strategies that don’t end in arguments and tears
- Positive reinforcement – rewarding non-using behavior
- How to allow natural consequences to happen and how this can help
- Problem-solving and conflict resolution techniques that are simple and work
- Self-care for you and the importance of taking care of yourself
- Domestic violence precautions and keeping yourself safe
- Getting your family member to a point where they are willing to accept help
- What to do if a relapse occurs
- Know the signs when a loved one is using
- How to set and maintain healthy boundaries
- How changing your behavior can help change theirs
- How to take a close look at what hasn’t worked in the past, and what might in the future
The biggest thing you will learn though and the most important is that you’re not alone. There is help, and there is hope. We can work with you to help get your family back into balance, and end the chaos.
Upcoming program dates will be announced soon. Look for a virtual session to be held via Zoom, as well as an in-person program available in the fall at Arbor Place in Menomonie. Fill out the form below and select your preferred course option, and you will be notified of the start date soon.
The full cost of the program is $120. If this cost is a barrier for you to participate please reach out to us to see how we can help.
For more information or to inquire about dates for our next in person or virtual session, please fill out the form below