Life After Addiction: What Does the Family Healing Process Look Like?

Cocaine addiction impacts every user’s family. It often ravages the financial and emotional security of a home, and it mixes chaos and uncertainty into the environment. In addition, addiction warps the behavior of parents and siblings: for instance, enabling (making it easy in any way for someone to abuse drugs) is a dysfunctional pattern that is typically part of a family affected by addiction. Enabling behavior leads to the following problems:

  • Worsens a substance abuse problem by mitigating natural consequences
  • Encourages the addicted individual’s denial
  • Minimizes problems
  • Protects the addict from pain

Common enabling behaviors include the following examples:

  • Controlling the addict
  • Calling in sick for him when he misses work due to substance abuse
  • Giving money to him, for any reason
  • Cleaning up the addict’s messes
  • Making excuses for him

In treatment, many families need help to discover how they have enabled the addiction, often unknowingly. Once dysfunctional dynamics have been identified, counselors then teach families new ways to relate to their addicted loved one.

Boundaries: The Foundation for Family Healing

Setting appropriate boundaries is the first goal of healing, and workshops during treatment teach users how to focus on their families and friends. Boundaries define personal lines, especially in the following three areas:

  • Physical boundaries determine who may touch you and under what circumstances
  • Emotional boundaries encourage people to take ownership of their emotions and disengage from those of others
  • Mental boundaries allow people to feel the freedom to have their own thoughts and opinions

You can set boundaries with an addicted family member in the following ways:

  • Set limits – Decide which behaviors you will and will not tolerate. Examples might include borrowing money, physical violence or damaging your property.
  • Establish a personal Bill of Rights – Identify your needs and feelings and demand to be treated with respect
  • Defend your boundaries – Hold your limits and do not cave into emotional pressure

Setting boundaries can hasten cocaine addiction recovery by removing circumstances that allow for denial.

Addiction Healing Through Community

It is pivotal for family members to realize that their addicted loved one is not the only person who needs help, but the next step is to take action. Find a nurturing community that can support you on your journey, perhaps through a 12-Step group or other recovery network, to find the following benefits:

  • Empowerment
  • Connection
  • Acceptance
  • Improved coping skills
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Practical help such as referrals

Pursuing personal recovery improves quality of life, regardless of the choices an addict makes.

Help for Cocaine Addiction

If you or a loved one suffers from cocaine addiction, we can help. Admissions coordinators are available at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to guide you to wellness and affordable solutions. Please call today to take the first step toward a life of health and wholeness.

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