Chemical Dependency and the Dysfunctional Family
Finding a Way OutThe Road To Recovery
The road to recovery is a difficult one, but it does not have to be a lonely one. Millions of people, including many teens, have survived the long journey back from addiction to a healthy and happy life.
Beating an addiction can be much harder for a teen in a dysfunctional family than for people who have supportive families. You may feel as though you have nowhere to turn and no one to turn to. It may seem as if you must not only beat your chemical dependency, but solve all of your family's problems, too.
No one can do all of this, however. Problems are best resolved one at a time. First you must solve your own problem—chemical dependency. After you're better, you will be better able to help your family. Taking care of yourself is the most important thing.
A drug addict must first find immediate safety, as Shaneen did in the inpatient program. In order to recover, Shaneen needed a place where she was physically and psychologically safe. Her unstable and chaotic home life would hurt her efforts to become sober. At the treatment center, she could get the security, support, and peace that she could not find at home.
The staff at the rehabilitation center helped Shaneen begin to face her family's problems. Shaneen also learned that some families cannot be repaired. When that happens, you must start building a support network of other people. The therapists at the program taught her how to build a support network by seeking out relatives, friends, and others who could give her support and love. When Shaneen was ready to leave, she also asked the staff for help in deciding her next step. She did not have to return home if she thought it would be bad for her.
Unlike Shaneen, Ray did not feel threatened at home, just neglected. As a result, he was able to stay at home during his recovery. During the day he received counseling through an outpatient center, and returned home at night.
As part of his recovery, Ray had to face his family's problems, too. It wasn't easy, but Ray managed to get his parents and sister to join him for family counseling sessions. Therapy taught Ray's family how to communicate openly, admit problems, and work together to solve them. They learned that they all had a lot of work to do. Ray had to work on beating his drug addiction and his parents had to learn to communicate with Ray. And their parents had to make their children a priority in their lives. All of themneeded to trust one another again. Ray's family is very damaged, but with family therapy they have started to heal.
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