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Isolation is one of the enemies of sobriety, and returning a recovering addict to a family environment where there may be superficial support; however, extremely damaged relationship structures will not help the addict to maintain their sobriety for long.
The days in which addiction was considered an isolated personal weakness in an individual are long gone.

Scientific research has proven that addiction has multiple causes, including the physical biochemical and medical considerations that are treated as part of a drug and alcohol treatment program.  Mental health challenges should also be addressed during rehabilitation, particularly since anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and depression are all statistically linked with addiction behavior.  Addiction has always had an impact on more than just the addict. The measure of the tragedy that is carried through families in which addiction behavior has gone unaddressed is unimaginable. Today’s drug treatment programs not only allow for the multiple social and genetic factors that can create an environment ripe for addiction, but the best programs also allow for the involvement of family in the process of the addict’s recovery.

There are multiple viable reasons for including the family in the therapeutic experience. The addiction profile tells us that one commonality in the addiction experience is the feeling of isolation, rejection and removal from society. This can either start with the family or externally; but the profile usually leads to an addict’s withdrawal from the family structure. This isolation can be due to shame, guilt, depression or other varieties of insecurity. Isolation is one of the enemies of sobriety, and returning a recovering addict to a family environment where there may be superficial support; however, extremely damaged relationship structures will not help the addict to maintain their sobriety for long.

Empirical evidence that supports the principles of family inclusion in recovery therapy is broad. Studies have shown that where relationships and boundary problems can be repaired during drug and alcohol treatment, the addict will have more stable home environment to return to, at least psychologically. The support that is required during the period following rehabilitation is so important because the addict’s body will have given up the habituation to the drugs and alcohol that they were accustomed to during their active abuse. Unfortunately, most addicts do not remember this when they fall off the wagon after being in recovery. They start abusing again at a high level and this often leads to fatality.

Overdose, of course, isn’t the only reason to make sure there’s family support during the addict’s return. The family often plays an unknowingly instrumental role in creating the addiction; and therefore, will also play an instrumental role in recovery. In many cases, addiction is created as a symptom of a deeper problem that is derived from issues within the family. Addiction affects more than just the addict who is suffering from drug and alcohol abuse; it affects the entire family as a whole. When the family is involved in the treatment and recovery process, every family member gets the opportunity to recover from the damage caused by the addiction. The family must take advantage of the opportunity to understand, forgive the addict and make peace.

Distributed by Client Initiatives

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