Family involvement is often discussed as an important aspect of treatment and recovery. However, it is important to understand the reasons behind this statement.
If you have a close relationship with your family members, the importance of family involvement may seem obvious. Alternatively, if your relationships with your family are lacking, you may not understand this importance and feel that it doesn’t apply to you.
Of course, for some people, family involvement may not be a healthy choice at this time or even a possibility. Working with your treatment team and therapists can help you determine how much family involvement is appropriate for you. They can also help you set any boundaries that may be necessary.
Potential Benefits of Family Involvement
For people who can safely include their families in their recovery journeys, family involvement can be very beneficial.
The following are three key benefits of including your family in the treatment process. While these benefits can be achieved through other means, family involvement can be the key aspect in achieving them for many people.
#1 Improved Engagement
When your family is informed of your treatment progress, you likely will feel more engaged with the process yourself. Disengaging from treatment can cause conversations with family members to be more difficult, as they likely will expect an update on your progress. This extra form of accountability can go a long way in maintaining engagement through the rough patches of recovery.
#2 Increased Rates of Retention
With family engagement, the rates of retaining the knowledge gained through treatment improve. You have your family support to back up your success and remind you of the skills you have developed. Retention is essential in recovery to maintain sobriety through your lifelong journey. These skills and techniques are not something to temporarily get you through treatment but to be utilized throughout the hardships of your life.
This improved retention can greatly reduce the risk of relapse as the skills you gain become more solidified. You will have a higher level of confidence in applying these skills. When a situation for relapse presents itself, you will be set up to properly manage the situation with the support of your family.
#3 Greater External Support
Family can provide an external level of support through your recovery journey. You may initially seek support through friends or peers in treatment. Family can be an additional source of external support that will, in many cases, continue helping you long after treatment.
Gaining the support of your family can help you feel supported through all the hardships that are to come. Knowing that you have their support can be highly encouraging and motivational.
How to Incorporate Family Involvement
It can be difficult for clinicians to incorporate family into the recovery process if the client or family members are disengaged from the process. Obtaining mutual agreements on both ends regarding the role of the treatment plan is not always an easy task. It is important to remember that family members are not legally required to be involved with the process. Clinicians may want to inform them of the negative consequences that may occur from their refusal to engage.
Assess the Relationships
It is important to understand the family dynamics at play. If your relationships with your family members are strained from the effects of substance use disorder, you may need to make reparations with your family to get them involved. Understand which members of your family you are the closest to and which relationships need improvement.
Some individuals may find that specific individuals in their family relate to traumatic memories. This can be a difficult concept to overcome as the negative emotions involved are valid. Discuss with your therapist what you want that relationship to look like going forward and what needs to happen for it to feel safe for you. You may need to disengage with that relationship or radically transform it through setting and maintaining boundaries.
Understanding the relationships that currently exist can give you a clear starting point of how to incorporate your family into your recovery process. From here, you can work to mend, improve, or change the relationships with your family. This can set your support system up for success.
Teach Family Members
While you may be willing to include your family in your recovery journey, they may have differing opinions. Teaching your family about the benefits of their involvement and the influence they can have on your success can help them recognize the importance of their involvement.
Encouraging them to learn about the aspects of substance use disorder and the recovery process can help open their minds to this opportunity. You may find that your family tends to believe in the stigmas around addiction. Help them to learn the truth behind these stigmas and notice your efforts put forth to overcome substance use disorder.
If you are unable to do this on your own, discuss options with your treatment team. You may wish to engage in some family therapy sessions to express the importance of their involvement. While they have to be willing to attend these sessions initially, they may develop the recognition of the importance and influence they can have on your success moving forward. It may take time to get your family to a full state of involvement. Discuss this potential with your treatment team to gain the benefits of family involvement and improve your relationships with family members moving forward.
Involving family in treatment and recovery is not always an easy task. There may be many circumstances that are blocking this engagement from occurring. Your family may lack understanding of substance use disorder, you may have negative relationships with your family, or there may be a lack of engagement between either party. Regardless of the reasoning behind this, some practices can be implemented to encourage family involvement. Learn about the benefits involved with engaging your family in this process. Understand what you can do to help get them involved and maintain a healthy support system within your family unit. To learn more, reach out to Dream Recovery today at (949) 732-1960.