6 Ways Family Therapy Helps Teens Overcome Drug Abuse

Quality Addiction Treatment Includes Family Therapy

It’s common for parents to want to do everything they can to help their struggling teen stop abusing drugs. However, many parents are unsure how to help. What can you do as parents to help your teen struggling with drug abuse or addiction? How can family therapy help?

Quality teen addiction treatment programs take a multi-therapy approach to treating drug addiction in teenagers. More here on how family therapy can be successfully used as a part of the treatment process. At the end, we invite your questions and try to provide a personal and prompt response to all legitimate inquiries.

Family Therapy For Your Teen Addict

Participating in family therapy is a great way for parents and the rest of the family to provide the support their teen needs to recover from drug abuse. Family therapy is about healing the family as a whole. It is also a way for families to work through any issues caused by the teen’s drug abuse. However, this type of inner work comes at some cost.

It’s important to know that family therapy can be a major time commitment on both the part of the parents and the siblings. In addition, difficult issues often come up during these sessions that may be painful, at first. Although going through family therapy together does take hard work, the results are worth it for helping teens overcome drug abuse while also providing ways for both parents and their teens to heal.

6 Main Benefits of Family Therapy For Teen Addiction

Still considering the investment in time and energy? Here are 6 ways that family therapy can help you overcome teen addiction and drug abuse. We invite your additional questions in the comments section at the end.

Benefit No.1: Help Teens Understand the Impact of Their Addiction

Teens do not live in a vacuum. Their drug use and/or addiction affects everyone in the family system. Staring at the effects of drug abuse face-to-face with those who are impacted the most is important for teenagers. This can sometimes be one of the toughest parts of family therapy. However, letting each member of the family share the negative consequences of the teen’s addiction gets everything out in the open.

But looking at the hurt of the past can compel us to counter attack. How do you maintain a positive outlook during family therapy?

During family therapy sessions, a professional counselor will make sure that sessions do not turn into a public shaming of the teen. Instead, they will encourage these thoughts to be shared in a way which allows the teen to gain awareness of how their decisions impact the entire family. For example, they might hear that a little brother was scared when they were arrested or that a sister cries at night when they don’t come home. This can be a sobering experience for teens who may not have realized how much their loved ones care about them.

Benefit No.2: Strengthen the Emotional Health of the Entire Family

Everyone knows that a team is only as strong as its weakest member. When a teen struggles with drug abuse, it is common to discover that there are other issues happening within the family…perhaps a parent struggles with alcohol addiction or a sibling has depression.

How can you get to the bottom of the family’s problems and challenges? In family therapy, you gain a professional assessment of your family dynamics that can shed insight into how each member’s emotional and physical health impacts the rest of the family. If there are issues that need to be resolved, then you will all be guided toward finding a resolution that benefits everyone involved.

Benefit No.3: Correct Codependent Behavior

It is common for parents to think they are doing everything right to shield their teen from the negative effects of his or her drinking or drug habit. Perhaps you gave your teen money out of the hope that they would really buy clothes even though you knew they’d probably spend it on drugs. Alternatively, you may be permissive out of the fear that they will run away. Siblings may also unwittingly make it easier for your teen to abuse drugs if they lie to you about your teen’s whereabouts out of a misguided sense of loyalty.

How do you stop codependent behaviors? Family therapy helps to bring these behaviors out so that everyone can learn new strategies to prevent codependency that makes it easier for your teen to do drugs.

Benefit No.4: Establish Positive Communication Patterns

Parents of teenagers know all too well how quickly a simple conversation can escalate to a heated argument. From battles about curfew to laying down the rules about bad grades, you are going to encounter more than a few disagreements before your teen reaches adulthood. Unfortunately, addiction and poor communication go hand in hand, and it can take some real work to relearn how to communicate as a family. The good news is that going to family therapy is the right step toward learning positive communication strategies.

How can family therapy help improve your communication? Teens learn how to communicate in therapy…from discovering how to be an active listener to practicing how to resolve problems successfully, your teen will benefit from no longer feeling the stress of a yelling match triggering a craving. Instead, you will all learn how to keep your voices calm and even take a time out if things get heated so that things are said out of spite that everyone later regrets.

Benefit No.5: Teach About the Different Stages of Recovery

For those who have never struggled with addiction before, it is common to believe that recovery happens as soon as a person stops using drugs or alcohol. However, addiction recovery generally spans several different stages which all impact your teen’s sobriety. In therapy, you’ll learn that there are different systems of support in place for each stage of recovery. Educating yourself about them gives you more ways to provide support.

For example, your teen may leave a formal treatment program feeling stronger, but they will need ongoing support to prevent relapse. Your family therapy may be one of these types of relapse prevention support. Group and individual counseling may also be recommended.

How can you help in a time of need? Learning more about the different stages helps everyone to understand when a teen needs to attend a counseling session or has a need to speak with their support team in the middle of the night.

Benefit No.6: Help Find Fun Ways to Bond as a Family

During the teen years, it takes work to get everyone together to enjoy a group activity. Yet, bonding as a family makes it easier to get through difficult times. While your teen is in treatment, they are learning new ways to relax and have a good time without drugs or alcohol. They may have taken up acting or discovered a love for playing volleyball. Most likely, your teen now has several interests that they would love to share, and their siblings are also probably full of ideas for some sober family fun.

How is family therapy helping you have fun? Family therapy provides a place where you can plan new ways to spend time together now that everyone is committed to a life of sobriety.

Family Therapy is Excellent Recovery Support

The goal of family therapy is to strengthen the bond between teens and their family. It’s never meant to place the blame on anyone. Your family counselor will help you work out any issues that may have developed as a result of your teen’s drug abuse, such as a lack of trust. Attending therapy sessions together as a family will make it clear to your teen that they have your full support throughout their recovery.

Still Have Questions?

If you would like to ask anything regarding family therapy, or are wondering if family therapy is right for you and your teenager, please post them in the designated section at the bottom of the page. We welcome your feedback and try to answer all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly.


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from Addiction Blog http://addictionblog.org/family/6-ways-family-therapy-helps-teens-overcome-drug-abuse/

Loving a drug addict: Can a drug addict truly love?

No. A drug addict cannot truly love you.

If you’ve found this article, you might be searching for ways to repair a “broken relationship”. But the truth is, you’ve got to fix…you! Here, we’ll take a brief look at root causes for loving an addict. What gets you to this desperate place to begin with?

Then, we’ll challenge you to take action. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section at the end. In fact, we try to respond to all real life questions personally and promptly.

Getting to the Root of Co-Addiction

If you find yourself in the situation where you love an addict and you cannot let them go, then you need to get down to the root of your issues, not theirs. If you have found that you meet the criteria of a co-addict; it is time to look at how this situation developed.

Codependent and Co-addictive behaviors may have roots that date back to childhood. The behavior may be so severely suppressed that the co-addict does not even relate to or remember when they lost their sense of self. For example, if a young child faces:

  • sexual abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • verbal abuse
  • psychological abuse
  • neglect or abandonment by a parent

…they may have tried to resist. In this resistance they find that the abuser only becomes more irate. Their response to fight for their well-being gets them nowhere. Over time, the child may learn that their feelings are less important and become submissive to that person, parent and/or abuser.

Are You Becoming More Submissive?

The abuse or act of submissive behavior may even be mild; a controlling parent, a self-absorbed parent or a caregiver who abandons a child. Even if these roles are not as pronounced as what we think of as outright abuse, the child is still learning that their voice only angers this person and they develop a passive, submissive disposition.

More specifically, with a co-addict, the development of submissive behavior might be a result of a childhood relationship with an addict. For example, if a child’s parent/s or caregivers are addicts then the child may learn early on that they must put their parent and their addiction first. They are naturally going to come second to a parent’s addiction so they lose their voice, their sense of self and learn to grow up taking care of an addict parent or family member. This behavior can become something that is ingrained and will be carried out into all other areas and relationships in their life.

Do You Value the Addict More Than Yourself?

It is also possible that the adult co-addict or codependent is aware of the abusive relationship they endured which imprinted their lack of sense of self. In either case, the adult codependent is a person who puts more value on the person they love then on their own welfare. A co-addict or codependent may lose their identity. The only identity they create is through the person they are codependent on.

Addict and Co-addict: A Perfect Match

Don’t you find it strange that most addicts marry codependents or co-addicts who end up putting their addiction and problems above their own?

This relationship is actually a pretty natural one. Co-addicts need to hide behind others and be submissive and addicts need someone to take care of them and put up with their behaviors. An addict is naturally attracted to a codependent or co-addict. In fact, being in any type of relationship with one is how most addicts survive and continue their addiction as long as they do.

The Challenge: Are You Ready to Look at Yourself?

If you can look at your past trauma, childhood relationships and experiences, you may start to uncover why you chose an addict as a partner. Being with an addict or a person whose needs are put above yours may be comfortable for you, familiar, and feel like second nature. If you can understand why you are in this type of relationship and unravel the life events which helped you get here; then you can start to work on your part which contributes to this troubling relationship dynamic.

How can you fix the relationship and the dynamics of it if you do not understand why it happened in the first place? You cannot and that is why a co-addict must get down to the root of their problems and stop deflecting them with the addict’s problems. That is the only way for a co-addict to sort out and then make changes in their life.


Copyright © 2011
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The use of this feed on other websites breaches copyright. If this content is not in your news reader, it makes the page you are viewing an infringement of the copyright. (Digital Fingerprint:
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from Addiction Blog http://addictionblog.org/family/loving-a-drug-addict-can-a-drug-addict-truly-love/

How to find or become a mentor in addiction

Finding Rewards in Mentorship – How Teens and Addicts Can Benefit Most

By Jessica Kantor

On a daily basis, the average life is filled with confusion, angst, adversity, and more. These are impossible to avoid, even for a commonly positive person. Companionship with another individual often offers a sense comfort and stability to many that go through life’s worst tribulations. There is something calming about finding someone to confide your problems in and have them listen, offer guidance, or help direct you on the “right” path, whatever that may be.

Many times, we do not feel comfortable sharing certain things with family members or friends. One may not necessarily be embarrassed about it, or maybe one is, but you need someone else. A therapist? Not everyone who wants a therapist, can afford a therapist, or sees the benefits of a therapist (a different article for a different time).

Finding someone, sans family, friends, or therapy, to help one through hard times seems like a difficult task, but can become easier when you discover the world of mentorship. In this article, we’ll take a look at this important role. We’ll give you tips on how to find someone that fits your personality.

What Does a Mentor Look Like?

“Mentor” develops in the mind as a stuffy example. Someone that tells you what is appropriate to pursue in life and career and what is not; what to wear to work and what to say during a job interview. This is not an entirely accurate description of the mentorships available today. In fact, some of the strongest modern mentorship programs around are for teens and those interested in a sober lifestyle.

The teenage years are some of the most difficult. Not only is the individual dealing with bodily and hormonal changes but they’re learning about how the world works, some quicker and more harshly than others. Liz Hardy of Mentor: The National Mentoring Partnership says that the benefits seen by teens that are part of the program are diverse and plentiful.

“Mentoring helps young people succeed by offering consistent guidance, support, and encouragement,” says Hardy. “Mentors can help young people set goals and achieve them. It is a gateway to skill development and self-confidence, which is key to helping young people make the most of their future.”

Teens that have a mentor are more likely to graduate high school, enroll in college, and volunteer in their communities. They are also less likely to begin using drugs and alcohol, according to the 2014 report, The Mentoring Effect.

“We believe that all young people can benefit from having a mentor, but those who may benefit most are those most at-risk for becoming disconnected from school, family, and work,” says Hardy.

Have a Mentor, Be a Mentor

Some of those teens that could have benefited from a mentor are individuals that now choose to lead a sober lifestyle. Nicole Vasquez, National Alumni Manager at American Addiction Centers (AAC), is a big proponent of both having and being a mentor, as she herself is both.

“I want to impress upon everyone the value of mentorship,” says Vasquez. “Whether you are in Recovery, or not, it is great to have somebody that you can bounce ideas off and go to when you need guidance. Sometimes you just need someone to listen. In your work space or home life, don’t wander around aimlessly. Others have experience that you can, and should, utilize.”

For those choosing sobriety, by way of addiction, having a stable support system is a life-saving choice. Chris Boutté, Alumni Coordinate at AAC, knows that he both needs a mentor and chooses to be one for others in need. Chris says,

“As an addict, my life is unmanageable and I don’t know how to live a proper life. I didn’t know how to live without drugs and alcohol because I didn’t know how to manage my feelings, good or bad. Having a mentor gave me the opportunity to learn a better way of living in all aspects of my life. Sayings that many hear in Recovery are ‘We keep what we have by giving it away’ and ‘We give back what was so freely given to us’ — Not only does [being a mentor] help me stay sober, but it’s given me a purpose in life. I feel like it’s the priceless debt I owe to the men and women who helped me in my early recovery.”

Boutté was amazed, when first in recovery, that he was getting such positive support and life lessons from someone without having to pay for it. He now understands the value of mentorship and wants to gift that to others.

Hardy speaks of the same gift for the adults that work with teens,

“We often hear that mentors feel they learn more from a mentoring relationship than their mentee does! Mentoring is a very accessible pathway to action for adults wanting to make a difference in a young person’s life.”

Mentoring as Rewarding Beyond Your Expectations

Vasquez shares the same positive message that being a mentor is just as rewarding as having one.

“I feel like [when you are a mentor] is when you need a mentor most of all. We will never have all of the answers to life, so you need others that you can reach out to in the event that you may need guidance for you or your mentee. Many times it is great to have a mentor who has a mentor who has a mentor. You get access to all of that wisdom up the line!”

Not only does Vasquez have a mentor in sobriety, but one in a leadership position as well.

“When choosing a mentor, find someone that you feel you can trust. What is so important about the mentor-mentee relationship is that you have someone that you can confide in. Essentially somebody that has what you want. For me, that was someone whose recovery I wanted to model, who was happy. That was very important to me. When I got clean, I looked for somebody who exhibited joy and happiness. You have to figure out what you yourself are looking for and find that in another person.”

This runs true for sobriety, relationships, careers, and more. Teenagers should find a mentor that represents, or are, something that they want to be. Those in Recovery should do the same. Boutté agrees,

“I wanted a mentor who had peace, serenity and sanity. I wanted a mentor that not only talked the talk, but they walked the walk too. I wanted a mentor who was someone I’d be proud of being myself, and that’s who I found and stuck with.”

Mentoring is a rewarding opportunity for all involved. Any caring individual, that has time and feels they have something to offer, should join a program for teens or those in sobriety.

“No matter what the situation is with each individual, I’m forever grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to potentially make a positive impact on their life and give them a little bit of hope that they can stay sober too,” says Boutté.

If you are interested in mentoring a teen, visit www.mentoring.org to learn more about their national programs.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, visit www.americanaddictioncenters.com to learn more about treatment and sobriety.


Copyright © 2011
This feed is for personal, non-commercial use only.
The use of this feed on other websites breaches copyright. If this content is not in your news reader, it makes the page you are viewing an infringement of the copyright. (Digital Fingerprint:
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from Addiction Blog http://addictionblog.org/recovery/how-to-find-or-become-a-mentor-in-addiction/