We know that addiction is partially genetic and partially environmental regarding its origins in a person. What if you have both? In many families, there is a propensity for substance abuse due to genetics as well as the learned habits of familial drug or alcohol use. Along with domestic substance abuse comes negative behaviors and dysfunction, creating a powerful cycle that is difficult to change. How can you break the cycle of substance abuse in your family?
The Challenges of Treatment for Addiction
You may face many challenges as you seek addiction treatment. Women in particular face even more barriers to treatment, including childcare, financial issues, and increased stigma. Research and treatment programs have been disproportionately aimed toward men, ignoring the particular needs of women. These challenges are specific to women seeking treatment and are in addition to the traditional challenges of addiction treatment.
When you are trying to break the cycle of familial substance abuse, you face another level of challenges. Many in this situation face a lack of family support and may even face backlash from family for becoming healthy. No matter how painful it may seem, remember that those truly capable of loving you will always have your best interests in mind. You are like a pioneer in the field of sobriety in your family.
The First Generation of Recovery
Being the first at anything is rarely easy. Women have a long history of fighting for their needs and rights. You advocate for your right to sobriety, wellness, and peace with yourself. Unfortunately, your family may be one of the biggest obstacles in your fight. However, you only control your own choices, emotions, and reactions. Seeking treatment is all about taking back control of your life from the substances you have seen harm your family for generations.
One of the ideas that you can focus on as a first-generation member of your family in recovery is that you are paving the way for future generations. You are bringing a new concept of health and wellness to your family tree. Whether or not anyone chooses to follow in your footsteps is also their choice, but you are showing them a new way to live.
Creating Healthy Boundaries With Family
As you begin to heal, you may need to set healthy boundaries with your family. You likely know well enough the behaviors and unhealthy relationships that addiction can create. Families can easily trigger you, not just by using substances in your presence but also by how they interact with you. In order to build a successful recovery, you will need to have the best chances for success. Unfortunately, that may or may not include your family.
Some of the boundaries that you may need to set with family members are:
- No drugs or alcohol in your presence.
- You deserve to be treated respectfully.
- You deserve open, honest communication at all times.
- You have the right to say no to anything you are uncomfortable with.
- You have the right to hang up or leave any situation that triggers you.
- You deserve the right to be heard when you communicate.
- You have the right to rebuild trust at your own pace.
- You have the right to sever relations with your family when and if dynamics become toxic.
Seeking Support Outside Your Family in Recovery
Unfortunately, whether or not your family is a part of your life in recovery, if they cannot support you being clean and sober, you will need to create a sober family. These are people who support and respect your recovery and who will be there whenever you need them. A sober family is a version of family that you get to choose.
Support can come from many different sources, including:
- Peers in recovery
- Members of church or other groups
- Those with similar interests, such as a book club or other group
You Can Successfully Break the Cycle
No matter how hard it seems to turn away from toxic family traditions, you have the power to take your own life back. Your choices are your own and should be respected. You can be your own advocate and carve a new path in your family’s history. Who knows? You may even inspire previous generations to seek treatment when they see how much you have changed. Seeking treatment is the first step. As you become more assertive in your recovery, you can take further steps to break the cycle of addiction and dysfunction in your family.
How can I break the cycle of substance abuse in my family? Taking the first step into treatment makes you a trailblazer, the first generation of recovery in your family. You may need to set boundaries with those still in active addiction and find support from other sources. You are fully capable of breaking the cycle and bringing health and wellness to your family tree. The Ho Tai Way – Recovery For Women understands the importance of family in the treatment and recovery process. We also know that not everyone has supportive family members to rely on. We are focused on helping you find the support you need during treatment and afterward. Our Costa Mesa, California facility is a peaceful sanctuary from the noise, chaos, and dysfunction of families with addiction. We offer residential treatment for women with substance abuse and co-occurring mental health diagnoses. Contact us today at (714) 581-3974 to break your family cycle.