Unfortunately, a lot of the time, friends and family of an addict or alcoholic don’t think family counseling is necessary. They basically just drop the addict or alcoholic off, expecting them to be “fixed” (not in the veterinary sense of the word), and have them back as good as new.
Family Counseling Is Mandatory
If it were that easy, then that would be great. However, it doesn’t work like that.
Ironically, usually the addict or alcoholic is the healthiest person in the family. That’s usually a hard thing to hear as a family member of an addict or alcoholic, but it isn’t a bad thing. After all, you can’t fix a problem if you don’t know that one exists.
Family counseling helps with issues that aren’t being addressed
The addict/alcoholic is the healthiest one because they are so acutely aware of what is going on within the family and their environment. They can see that there are huge issues within the family system that aren’t being addressed, and in many cases, that those issues are getting worse rather than better.
Drugs and alcohol are nothing more than an escape—whether it be from pain or reality altogether. That the addict or alcoholic felt that they had no where else to turn other than drugs and/or alcohol means that they could no longer reconcile the disparity between what should be and what is.
Please know that no one is to blame for an addict or alcoholic’s behavior. We are all responsible for the choices we make and the consequences that result. However, to expect that an alcoholic or addict will be “fixed” and sent right back into the same system which drove them to drinking and using in the first place is a recipe for disaster.
Especially in teen recovery programs, there is a much greater tendency to approach this problem as such. Many just assume that it is rebellion that has gotten out of control. For some, that may be true, but without the participation of the addict or alcoholic’s family, there is no way to tell. This is why family counseling is so crucial to the recovery and healing process of addiction.
Think about it: would you trust a drug addict or alcoholic to tell a counselor the whole truth about what they are doing and what is going on—especially when there may not be any interest in finding recovery? We doubt it because we’ve been there before ourselves. Even if they were willing to reveal everything to the counselors, they may not be aware of or remember key things that may be going on.
Alcoholism and addiction are a family disease. That means that it isn’t one person’s fault, or that one person is responsible for how things are. A family is a team that consists of more than one person, so it is highly unlikely that only one person is responsible for what happens within a family dynamic.
Fortunately, we have some of the greatest family counselors in the world, and they have dealt with seemingly hopeless cases before. It is a beautiful thing watching families who have been torn apart by drug and alcohol addiction and come back together, and we want everyone to have the best chance at success.