Addiction can interfere with every aspect of one’s life. One of the most important elements of an individual’s life is their family, and substance abuse can impact the people a person cares most about. It is important to intervene early before addiction affects one of the most fundamental aspects of family life: trust.

Why Is Trust Important in Families?

Trust is the foundation of all meaningful relationships. It sets acquaintances apart from friends and family. Trust is the attribute that allows us to feel comfortable with other people. With trust, we are confident that we will not be hurt by the other person. It also allows us to be our authentic selves with other people because we know that we will be accepted. When we trust someone, we know that we can rely on them. 

Trust allows families to function. Family members need to know that they can depend on one another. They need to know that everyone is unified and that each person cares about the well-being of other individual members as well as that of the group as a whole. Trust allows for closeness and intimacy and creates the foundation for security.

How Does Substance Abuse Affect Trust in Families?

Substance abuse interferes with a family’s function, so it is no wonder that it can gravely damage trust. This damage can come from the generally secretive nature of substance abuse. If a family member is hiding their substance use, it can cause a rift when it is discovered by other family members. Not knowing something that important about your loved one can make you question your relationship.

It is often the case that a person’s family will implore them to stop using substances. This request to abandon substance use generally comes from a place of love and compassion, but it can cause the person with the addiction to feel blamed and ostracized. An uncomfortable conversation like this can be a blow to their sense of trust and security in the family. The rest of the family may also suffer from a loss of trust if their loved one does not choose to stop using substances at that point. Even if they do attempt to stop, having a relapse might catalyze that sense of trust being broken.

Recovering as a Family

When trust is damaged due to addiction, it might feel like it can never be recovered. Incidents that damage trust can trigger feelings of betrayal, which can be hard to shake. In these circumstances, it might be hard to imagine how your relationship can ever be the same. Putting your trust in someone and having it damaged can be a jarring and disheartening experience. You might be skeptical when you consider how you could depend on your loved one after their addiction. It might even feel at times that you no longer recognize your loved one because the person they are when on substances is not the person you know and love. 

Family Recovery Program

As much as you love them and believe in them, those feelings can linger. These feelings can even remain once your loved one is receiving treatment. This is natural, and it is an important aspect of your experience to address during the healing process. As your loved one learns coping strategies to manage their substance abuse during treatment, the family as a whole needs to seek help as well. This is why finding a service provider that offers a family recovery program can help your family.

These programs offer both individual and family therapy designed to repair family bonds. Family therapy helps families to recognize unhealthy patterns of behavior and communication. These dynamics can inadvertently reinforce addiction and exacerbate the situation. Acknowledging and addressing these patterns creates the opportunity for positive change

A family therapist can help you and your family identify areas where trust has eroded. You will have the space to discuss incidents that have caused this degradation of trust, and you can speak about those instances candidly. Processing those events as a family can help you to reach closure and identify a way to remedy the issue and prevent it from happening again. Everyone can tell their side of the story and contribute to the plan moving forward.

Sober Monitoring

In addition to offering family therapy, another hallmark of an effective program is a sober monitoring program. Sober monitoring requires an individual to complete several non-invasive tests throughout the day to check for substance use. Having this as part of an established routine encourages continued abstinence and removes the ambiguity that can make trust so difficult for family members. Everyone will be on the same page, and no one will be left in the dark.

Furthermore, accountability is a significant part of trust. Sober monitoring empowers your loved one to take accountability for their actions, and this honesty and responsibility can help trust to flourish once more. It is important to remember, however, that a relapse does not signal that a person is not committed to treatment. Even the most motivated individuals can experience a relapse, and this does not mean that they are choosing to abandon treatment or their family’s expectations. Working with a licensed professional to plan for these circumstances can help everyone prepare for the difficult emotions that will come up in the event of a relapse. 

If your family is coping with the damaging effects of addiction, you know that life looks different from how it used to be. Your family relationships have most likely changed, and it can be hard to imagine how you will ever get back what you once had. One of the hardest changes to cope with is the loss of trust. Substance abuse causes a person to act differently and often unlike the person they truly are. This makes trust hard to maintain. Fortunately, you do not need to accept this as the new normal because help is available. Family-Centered Services offers a Family Recovery Program as part of its comprehensive array of services. Call (509) 991-5822 today to learn more.

Originally posted 2023-01-12 06:00:00.