When you’re the family member of a young person struggling with a substance use disorder, life takes on a very different look and feel.
We call addiction the “family disease” because everyone in the family is affected. Do you feel sad, angry, worried, frustrated, disappointed? Do you feel responsible for the pain your child is in, or guilty about the effect this might have on your other children? Do you feel ashamed, embarrassed, or alone?
These are all normal and natural things to feel, and you may feel all of these things at any given time. You and other members of your family might even have radically different feelings. There are no rules here.
When your son begins treatment at Voyage, he’ll immediately have access to a team of skilled and intuitive professionals.
As the person who has been the most profoundly affected by his substance use disorder, what sort of support can you, his family member, count on when he begins treatment?
Who can you talk to?
As your teammates down this rocky road, the various members of your family all want the same thing: a healthy, happy young man who lives up to his potential. However, the feelings that each of you manifest could be as different as night and day. One of you might feel angry while another feels sad; one may feel hopeless while another feels guilty and resentful. This is an important time to go easy on one another, and might be a great time to find someone other than members of your immediate family to process and talk about what’s been going on with your son.
Our family members and friends want the best for us, certainly. They have likely noticed your irritability, depression, or distance and want to help you be yourself again. Again, there are no rules, but people find that even their closest friends and relatives struggle with how to react or respond the information you choose to confide in them. This is totally normal, but it can be frustrating or disappointing when someone can’t provide the support and compassionate feedback you need at this tumultuous time.
Many family members of someone struggling with addiction find a lot of relief attending Al Anon, Nar Anon, or CODA — anonymous fellowships for the friends and family of alcoholics and addicts. Twelve Step groups can be helpful resources for finding support from other adults who have watched someone they love struggle with substance abuse. Members are invited to share their experiences, their strength and their hope, and you’ll be welcome to share at the very first meeting you attend if you like. These groups cannot, however, provide guidance or analysis of your situation.
If you would feel more comfortable with a personalized, hands-on approach to address your needs and your own recovery, an experienced therapist or counselor might really benefit you. Here you can look forward to professional guidance and personalized support. You’ll be able to share anything you choose with your therapist and they’ll help you analyze it, understand it, and grow from it.
At Voyage, we see the entire family as our patient. We know that addiction touches every member of the family. At the same time that your loved one begins treatment at Voyage, you, as his family, will have the support of our team of counselors. We begin with weekly calls, assignments, and assessments where we can address the particular circumstances and obstacles you’ve been facing.
In the second month, we’ll spend an intensive week together as we complete the Family Program at our treatment center in Hobe Sound, FL. This is an opportunity for you to address what has happened in your family, and to learn how to recover from it.
The nature of the clinical work we do with you and your loved one is protected by privilege. We don’t discuss with you the exact nature of our work with your family member and likewise won’t discuss with him the exact nature of our work with you. We’ll allow each of you to heal and recover and grow on your own, and to test the mettle of that growth during the latter part of your son’s stay with us.
Who you talk to and what you talk to them about is entirely up to you. You deserve support. Our team is here for you, your family, and your loved one seeking treatment from day one. If you’re not sure who to talk to or where to turn, we can help you find the right place.