Helping Families through Therapy

There are many doubts that one faces when getting help for alcoholism. It’s a big step to take, and people know that getting sober is a life-changing task. Some changes have to do with relationships with loved ones. For example, what if getting sober causes strain among family members?  Will your spouse or friends still want to spend time with you when you are sober? Spouses will sometimes hang on and stay around during the alcoholism or abuse, and then when things seem to be getting better, they say goodbye to the recovering alcoholic and walk out.

Sobriety Brings Changes

The concern may be valid. It’s true that abstaining from alcohol and going to therapy will change a person’s actions. It should change their priorities, who they hang out with, and how they spend their time. But the person will still be the same underneath, and most changes will be for the better. The anger, depression, violence, and confusion of alcoholism should be replaced by a calmness and peacefulness.  

But sobriety is difficult and will require a lifelong commitment. The road won’t be easy and setbacks or relapses are possible. It’s important for family members to be encouraging and supportive at this time, rather than bail out and leave.

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Family Therapy

One way to reduce tension among family members is to involve everyone in the recovery process. Family counseling is a great resource because it helps family members know what to expect, how to help their loved one, and how to protect themselves. Family therapy is offered at some of the best facilities in the country, and it is highly recommended by many treatment experts. Many family members just don’t know how to deal with a spouse that is sober, or struggling to stay sober. Therapy helps them learn techniques to use to encourage their loved one. They may learn that things they had been doing were actually destructive and enabling to the alcoholic.

It is true that some spouses or loved ones won’t be able to handle the change of sobriety. Some may not want the alcoholic to get help because they are used to the chaos, the partying, or the dependence of alcohol. These relationships themselves are unhealthy, and someone truly wanting to get clean would be better off without friends of family that encourage alcohol abuse.

Help from Family

But for those people that have a family that really cares and wants to do what is best for the alcoholic, family therapy should be considered. These families provide the foundation for successful treatment because the resources, the love, and the support they can give their loved one cannot be recreated or matched. There comes a point when you have to stop thinking of pleasing others, and start taking charge of your life. If loved ones are going to leave, you don’t need them. If they will seek help along with you, thank God for them.

Sources 

ALCOHOLISM: TREATING THE FAMILY AS A WHOLE

Treating the System or Symptom

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