Healthy, strong family relationships play an important role in both prevention and recovery from addiction
Drug addiction is, in most cases, a preventable disease. The ways it can be prevented vary in effectiveness and include education, encouraging abstinence, establishing laws and various social programs. However, there is an important factor that plays a significant role in preventing addiction and is found inside the household — healthy, strong family relationships.
A strong family is not only a source of protection and good social development, but also provides guidelines and incentives to make good decisions. For example, parents may spend long hours at work to make sure those who rely on them have everything they need. In a similar manner, a person with strong family bonds may wonder what his substance abuse can do to his family.
Family Relationships and Addiction
Family plays a preventative role, especially regarding the education that the young ones receive from their parents. Most parents, realizing the dangers of abusing drugs and becoming addicted, have meaningful conversations from time to time explaining valid reasons why even experimenting with drugs can be dangerous. But education is not enough, and adult children from even the most close-knit families can suffer from addiction.
Children with close attachments to their parents will hopefully follow their positive example. That is why parents can also plan for prevention by being a good example by avoiding addictive substances, including alcohol and tobacco. When the young ones see that a healthy life can be enjoyed free from harmful substances they will feel more inclined not to fall into substance abuse.
However, we now know that addiction is a genetic disease, and not a moral failing. Many people seek to self-medicate trauma and de-stress through substance use, and this is not necessarily preventable by parental example. A loving family can, however, help their loved one through an intervention. It is never too late to help prevent addiction or loss from addiction.
Working on Family Relationships Despite Addiction
Even when a family member is already addicted, it is never too late to work on family relationships and dynamics. Addiction treatment should actually be an opportunity to build up those relationships and perhaps create new ones.
A family intervention is a good opportunity to work on improving family bonds when someone in the household is struggling with drugs. This is an intervention (ideally orchestrated by a professional interventionist) in which the family of the addicted person work together to offer help and show their loved one how much better their family life would be without addictive substances. This strategy is not something done in just one day, but a continuous process that leads to the recovery of everyone involved.
And for those families that need some external guidance to know what the next step is, family addiction counseling is available with the assistance of a trained counselor or therapist. These sessions may or may not include the addicted member, but their goal remains the same — overcoming addiction while developing a strong family.