A good treatment program involves the family in the recovery process.
“For people with developed substance use disorders, including adults, families remain the greatest and most enduring source of emotional, practical, and financial support. Excluding families is bad for patients, families, and clinicians who want to succeed,” wrote Lloyd Sederer, MD in The Addiction Solution. “For youth, even later in their adolescence, but certainly for those below the age of fourteen or fifteen, most (but not all) families remain great influencers of their children’s behavior.”
Using this influence appropriately is paramount. Active addiction typically sends families into turmoil—especially if the addicted person is a child. Parents desperately try to understand what happened to their child. Misconceptions about the causes of addiction and recriminations abound. The addicted person and their loved one all need to acquire a better understanding of addiction and its impact on the family dynamic.
“Addiction is a complex psychological, emotional, physiological, neurobiological, social, and spiritual process,” addiction expert Gabor Maté wrote in his new book, The Myth of Normal. “It manifests through any behavior in which a person finds temporary relief or pleasure, and therefore craves, but that in the long term causes them or others negative consequences, and yet the person refuses or is unable to give it up.”
It is an important element of their child’s recovery, that parents explore the deeper reasons why their kid is seeking temporary relief by using drugs and alcohol. Family counseling as part of a treatment program can help with that. With the right guidance, parents can acquire the skills to support the recovery of their child effectively.
In many important aspects, addiction is a relationship disease and not simply misuse of substances. “The idea that recovery should be wholly an individual journey reinforces the idea that addiction is solely a character flaw,” psychologist Kelly E. Green wrote in her book Relationships in Recovery, a comprehensive overview of the crucial role relationships play in the battle against addiction.. “That idea has been disproven by loads of research, and although individual recovery is critically important, so is relationship recovery.”
“Most people enter recovery for substance abuse problems hoping not just for improvement in their addiction but also for improvement in their relationships. That’s because the majority who seek treatment report having interpersonal problems and relationship distress,” Dr. Green writes, “in many cases, substance abuse has both caused relationship problems and become a way of trying to cope with them.”
As a parent, navigating the treatment options for your child can be overwhelming. It’s important to take the time to gain a clear understanding of the available options and their benefits to make an informed decision that best addresses your child’s needs.
Avanti Behavioral Health recently launched its intensive outpatient program (IOP) for clients between the ages of 13 and 18 in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Our mission is to provide comprehensive, holistic, family-centered, and trauma-informed care for your teen. We want to help each client find their version of what is known as “dynamic recovery.”
Dynamic recovery for teenagers can be understood as a positive approach to staying sober that involves finding enjoyment and fulfillment in life without the use of drugs or alcohol. It’s an approach that is focused on personal growth, self-improvement, and the pursuit of new interests and passions.
The family-focused approach at Avanti Behavioral Health recognizes the vital role that parents and loved ones play in the well-being of adolescents. We provide a range of family-oriented services and interventions to strengthen relationships, enhance communication, and foster a supportive environment. Through collaboration and education, we aim to empower families and create a foundation for lasting healing and growth.
The Avanti team believes that recovery from a substance use disorder (SUD) is a process that should involve the entire immediate family. We have developed an effective and highly involved method of family counseling. For more information about our IOP and family programming call us at (720) 753-4030.