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Families Together Recovering Together

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Addiction does not only involve the addicted.

Having a family member experience something as difficult as addiction is a hard situation to handle. Once someone has a substance use/ abuse issue their dependency on that chemical occurs in their brain, making it hard to stop. Family members may inadvertently make hurtful or offensive comments without realizing what they say. Comments such as, "why try it to begin with?" or "you can get over your addiction if you just stop?" create guilt and shame for the person with addiction. Family members who understand substance use disorder (SUD) are better prepared and vested in recovering together. 

Speaking up is a step in the right direction.

Communication is key. Speaking to someone with SUD is tricky because what someone says could affect their misuse positively or negatively. Speaking up is scary. On the other hand, speaking up is the right thing to do. Many treatment centers offer treatment for family members for this purpose. 

Don't get mislead by the myths of addiction.  

Families that live with someone with an addiction see many different situations happen inside their household. It is hard enough to recognize someone has a substance issue, let alone handling the situation after that. Family members may run across many different misconceptions about them. Begin aware of these myths will help to help start or motivate the recovery process. 

If recovery is going to work, they have to want to recover.

Believe it or not, people who have an addiction understand that addiction is bad. They want to stop and quit the substance they are using, but the problem is they cannot. To stop using a substance is not as easy as someone thinks. Each individual has different way of reacting to substances in their brain, even when they know they have to stop. 

Trying drugs or substances one time gets you hooked.

This may be one of the biggest myths that people have about people who abuse prescription drugs, alcohol or other substances. There are times when people are experimenting with substances; however, a majority of drug addictions result in using drugs as a coping mechanism for something else. Some of the biggest reasons are emotional traumas, mental distress, pain, etc. The use of drugs likely continue to happen if these traumas and distresses continue to be untreated. 


"All you have to do is say is no".

This blind comment might be one of the most offensive comments you can tell someone who has a substance abuse. These type of comments only work for people who have never tried drugs. That is why these comment works very well with children. Children who have never been exposed to drugs might be soon, so teaching them to say no can be very effective. However, for people who abuse alcohol or substances, those comments can be inflammatory or triggering because if they could say no, they would. They have become dependent on that chemical.  They cannot say no due to physical, emotional, mental and behavioral reasons.

Incarceration helps fight addiction.

Many studies show that this is a trending topic here in the United States. People all over the United States believe that people who abuse drugs should get incarcerated. However, where does this get us? People who do get incarcerated for addiction get fear installed in them for doing something bad when they already know they are doing something bad. On top of fear being installed, they also get this stigma that people who have a substance abuse are also criminals. Two things that people with addictions do not need.

The root of addiction.

As mentioned before, emotional and physical traumas (such as PTSD or abuse) and or mental distress (such as depression, bi-polar and anxiety) are a major probability for addiction. However, it is a case by case situation.  As a family member of someone fighting addiction, you likely know them better than anyone. However, allowing a third party professional to fully diagnose your loved one is key for both of you.  First, they may uncover something medical you were not aware of and second, they can help you both to understand and navigate the needed treatment.  Allowing and unbiased professional to comment on the patients needs in an unemotional way makes it less contentious for all.  In addition, you can be provided necessary services to help all of you heal together. 

Recovering together is better than recovering alone. 

Families want the best for each other.  There are many ways families can become empowered to help each other through addiction. By realizing addiction recovery is a team effort, or speaking up, knowing myths about addiction, or even finding the root is the step in the right direction to recover together. Outpatient recovery treatment facilities are ideal for this as the patient can live and work, go to school, etc. while attending treatment whether medically assisted treatment (MAT) and/or Intensive Outpatient Therapy (IOP) which can include individual, group and family counseling. Together, families can learn to heal and recover from addiction. 


Symetria Recovery is available 24/7. www.symetriarecovery.com

Jesus Rangel
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