Addiction is one of the hardest things a family can go through. If addiction is impacting someone in your family, it is most likely impacting everyone. It puts strain on relationships that can be difficult to withstand. Loyalties are tested, and difficult emotions like anger, grief, and fear run rampant. You might feel as if you don’t even recognize your loved one because of their addiction. Their behavior does not match up with the person you have always known, and this is confusing and frustrating. It might feel impossible to get through this time, but family strengths can provide hope and guidance.

Identifying Family Strengths

Your family strengths are the core tenets that promote stability and resilience. They provide the firm ground in which each member is rooted. When things go awry, these strengths keep everything from falling apart. Each family is defined by a different set of strengths because of the various experiences they have gone through. If you are seeking to define family strengths, the following questions can provide guidance:

  • What are your family’s core values?
  • How does your family spend time together? 
  • When your family is not getting along, how do you all come to a resolution?
  • What does your family agree and disagree on?
  • How would you describe your family’s communication?
  • What sets your family apart from other families?
  • If a family member is in distress, how do the other family members respond?
  • How does each member contribute to the unit as a whole?
  • In an emergency, how does your family react?
  • What are some struggles your family has overcome?

Reflecting on these questions can help you identify situations that exemplify your family’s strengths. You might recall your brother’s selflessness when he dropped everything to help you when your car had a flat. Your mother’s generosity may have been demonstrated when she helped your sister financially after she lost her job. Maybe everyone came together to help your grandfather when your grandmother passed away.

It can also reveal areas where your family is not as unified. For example, you might find that your family disagrees on some political or religious aspects. Perhaps your family becomes stressed and distant during a crisis. Additionally, some relationships within the family might be stronger than others. Just as you have strengths and weaknesses as an individual, your family has to balance those same attributes and obstacles.

Family Relationships and Addiction

Your family is a powerful force in your loved one’s recovery. This is why identifying and utilizing family strengths is so important. Providing support to your loved one during treatment is essential to their well-being and success. 

Social support, in general, is linked to better mental health outcomes. This is because of the importance of feeling a sense of belonging and security. Mental health is connected to substance abuse and its treatment, as poor mental health can complicate recovery. When treating one, it is important to consider the other, and social support can play an important role in this process.

Family relationships are a powerful form of social support. They can provide a sense of self-worth in addition to promoting positive decisions regarding health. Due to the tremendous influence family relationships possess, it is important to be mindful of the way negative elements can have a detrimental impact. Part of leaning into strengths involves being mindful of weaknesses and correcting them to avoid those negative effects.

Using Family Strengths in Recovery

Addiction can make it feel like your tight-knit family is coming apart at the seams. It is during these tumultuous times that your family strengths are the most important. Rather than writing them off because they did not prevent your loved one’s addiction, you should lean into them. With all of the negativity in the air, it can be difficult to tease out your family strengths amid the problems. This is where a professional can help your family.

Utilizing the expertise of a licensed clinician is the best way to augment the power of your family strengths. It is not an admission of defeat or failure. Instead, it is an opportunity to increase the effectiveness that your family is inherently capable of. Choosing a program that prioritizes the family in treatment can ensure everyone is healing throughout the process. A mental health professional can help your family start the process of recovery through an intervention. An intervention capitalizes on your family strengths and relationships to encourage your loved one to seek treatment. It is designed to create a plan moving forward that keeps everyone on the same page. 

Once your loved one enters treatment, family involvement should continue. Engaging in family therapy can help identify and disrupt unhealthy patterns of behavior and communication. Family therapy is not merely about calling out issues, however. It utilizes family strengths to develop strategies to restore functioning and well-being while promoting the good qualities underlying your family’s relationships. Family strengths can help compensate for weakness during rough patches and help your family come out stronger and more cohesive in the end.

While addiction is challenging, it is not insurmountable. Your family has faced adversity in the past and made it through, and this time is no different. Your family’s unique set of strengths can guide you toward the path of healing and recovery. Working with a professional can facilitate this process, but choosing the right match for your family can be a challenge. This is why Family-Centered Services is dedicated to getting to know your family’s specific needs and goals and developing an appropriate treatment plan. We offer individual and family therapy, a family recovery program, comprehensive case management, and much more. Call us at (509) 991-5822 to learn how we can partner in your family’s journey.