Speaking to Your Family – Advice from therapist, Heidi Fistick
An important part of your recovery may involve having your family and loved ones involved.
Part of the recovery process will be to speak to family about your recovery. Shame and guilt are often feelings that can be unbearable at times to cope with. Faced with having to speak to loved ones you have hurt while in your addiction may seem like a difficult challenge. Communicating effectively with your loved ones can help diminish feelings of guilt and shame but also help your loved ones understand where you are coming from.
Addiction is a systematic problem which means it impacts all members of the family. If your loved ones are supportive their involvement can only enhance your recovery. Family therapy sessions while in treatment have proven to be beneficial as families are able to see what you have been working on and lines of communication have been established.
Suggestions to help start those lines of communication are finding the right time. Most of the time, it will be spontaneous, however at times if you can schedule to meet your loved ones for lunch that would allow you some uninterrupted time to talk about your recovery. Or maybe it comes up unexpectedly when someone asks you where you’ve been for the past several weeks, why you moved away … or why you don’t hang out with certain people anymore. Finding the right words, and having something ready in the back of your mind to say when responding to questions spontaneously is important. You might find yourself in the grocery store and be caught off guard by running into an acquaintance or neighbor who starts asking you questions.
By having something prepared to say in response can help relieve any anxiety or fears about how to respond. It is also important to know your audience, not everyone needs to know what’s going on. Avoid arguments or details with your loved ones. It’s important to consider that your loved ones may not understand addiction or how to necessarily help you at first. Don’t try to convince them or educate them on addiction. You need to remember, that most likely they are not going to believe you or believe what you are telling them. You may have stolen or lied to in your past making your loved ones have a harder time trusting you again.
Encourage family to seek help as addiction affects the family as a whole. By suggesting family members attend ALNON or NARANON could help educate them on addiction, and learn the best way to support you through your recovery. Just as it took time for you to accept that you needed help, it may take your loved ones time to accept that attending a support group could be beneficial to understand your addiction and recovery process.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the White Sands Treatment Center at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.