Families struggling with addiction face an uphill battle. When one member has an addiction, the entire family goes through the roller coaster as well as the substance user. Family members devote much of energy and emotions trying to get their loved one to stop drinking or drugging and get help.
Most programs blame the family for the drug or alcohol problems of one of their members, but Saint Jude’s doesn’t because family dynamics didn’t cause the problem. Similarly, Saint Jude’s doesn’t consider other family members to be co-dependents or in any way to blame for the problem. No one is responsible for the problem other than the substance user. Therefore, other family members shouldn’t feel responsible or guilty.
There is also no such thing as a “family addiction.” When people begin to have a substance use issue they are typically quick to blame others who have also had substance use issues in the family. Their theory then becomes that they got the problem from someone else in the family, they may even claim they genetically inherited alcohol or drug use problems. This of course is not true and just takes the responsibility once again off their shoulders. There is no genetic disorder in the brain that causes substance use problems.
The only reason why there might be similarities in one family is because drug and alcohol use is a learned behavior. This simply means that a person may learn growing up that drugs or alcohol can help them cope with stress, anger or life issues. Likewise, another person may learn from their family that alcohol is a necessity at family gatherings or holiday parties, because everyone having fun is drinking. Soon that learned behavior is passed on to children as they grow up or other adults, however a person always has the choice to begin or stop using substance.
Many treatment centers at mentioned before will bring families into the problem. They make family members feel responsible for a substance user’s decision to use and also try to convince the family that they are all genetically diseased. This is extremely counterproductive to everyone’s healing as a whole. It’s important for family members of a substance user to move on dependently in their lives. While it’s hard, family members should understand they are not financially obligated to help their loved one time after time.
The St. Jude Family Program provides the family with research-based information about addiction and substance use problems, helps the family improve relationships with each other, and shows the family the most effective strategies to help their loved one overcome their substance use problems.
Families gain a greater understanding of their loved one’s struggles and why treatment and rehab may have failed them in the past. The Family Program also helps family members learn how they can most effectively help their loved one achieve a gratifying life free of alcohol or drugs, while moving on with their own lives and happiness at the same time.
If you would like more information about the Family Program at Saint Jude Retreats call 1-888-424-2626 today!