Family therapy is one of the most beneficial and useful tools available to us in recovery. Addiction doesn’t affect the addict alone. It impacts the entire family, so much so that addiction is often considered a family disease. We can inherit addictive traits and behaviors from our families, and even when only one family member identifies as being an addict, some of the patterns we’re perpetuating as a family can contribute to the difficulties we face collectively. Family therapy can help us to learn some key emotional skills that can make all the difference in our feelings of togetherness and unity as a family. When we have the love and support of our families, we have a powerful advantage in our recovery.
One of the most important emotional skills we learn in family therapy is that of forgiveness. When we’re struggling with addiction and mental health conditions, we often have deep issues we have yet to address. Our families sustain losses and experience traumas that affect each member differently. We can hold onto anger, bitterness and resentment, from past experiences and current family patterns. We can find ourselves still reeling from the pain long after the incidents in question. Anger is a destabilizing force that can cause us tremendous anxiety and deep depression. When we commit to family therapy, we learn how to give the gift of forgiveness, not only to our family members but also to ourselves. We heal ourselves when we forgive others. We learn how to have self-forgiveness. Where our anger resided and festered, we make room for peace and tranquility. We give our family the opportunity to reconnect, to get to know each other again and to rebuild the broken bonds.
Another hugely important skill we develop in family therapy is that of communication. Addiction and mental illness can cause us to totally shut down. We stop talking to each other. We distance ourselves. Deep rifts are created in our closest relationships. Many of us have emotional patterns of suppressing our emotions, so we have a hard time allowing ourselves to feel them. We don’t understand them. We often don’t have the clarity to know how to express our feelings. Being unable to process and express our thoughts and emotions creates a barrier to healthy, effective communication. We don’t understand each other. We feel we can’t relate to each other anymore. Where we once felt close, we now feel distant. We feel like our connection will be impossible to regain. Learning to express our feelings, listen effectively and communicate consciously are hugely beneficial to the healing process. Being able to communicate can help our family to reunite and can allow each member to heal.
The family therapy programs at Bayview Recovery educate your loved ones about your addiction and help them learn ways to support you. Call us today for more information: 888-570-7154.