Addiction from substance abuse, gambling, eating, shopping, social media, gaming are just a few addictions that cause havoc within a family structure and can take the family hostage causing social and emotional damage to those caught in the web of addiction.
Addiction thrives in chaos and conflict and as the addiction progresses consequences have less influence. The addictive family member does not think in a rational and conscious way, the addiction has distorted their beliefs and manipulates their thinking.
Addiction is a neurobiological issue. Certain brain functions of those who have developed an addiction become hardwired in a manner that allows the addiction to thrive. Certain individuals are more genetically predisposed to develop addictions than others. Recovery is an incremental process and expecting immediate change is not realistic.
Addiction is a family disease as it affects everyone in the family structure. It effects the brain and particularly the neural pathways that control reward-seeking behaviour. It is not a moral failing or a weakness, and it cannot be treated as such. People struggling with addiction can’t just quit, and “tough love” approaches can exacerbate feelings of social isolation and result in one’s sinking deeper into addiction. The emotional damage is one of shame and the family can play an important part of the structure in learning how to manage the culture of addiction and work towards a culture of wellness.
In order to shift the focus to a culture of wellness families are encouraged to attend family group meetings where all voices within the structure are heard and where families get a better understanding of how to implement a healthy structure.
Communication guidelines invites productive participation from each person in the structure that aligns with the intention.
In this way it increases awareness, quieter family members have the opportunity to express how they have been impacted and family members start to take action towards recovery and healing. The family structure is presented with a focused intention and guidelines that support the intention to move towards a healthy structure around any addiction patterns.
The end goal is to move forwards with clear and concise communication and unified strength which is a gradual and incremental process. All members within the structure have to recalibrate and change the old defensive behaviours from enabling the addictive behaviour to one of enabling health and wellness.
Expecting immediate change is not realistic, “It takes a village to raise a child,” if this is true then we want that village/family to be a strong and cohesive one within the community/ family where every one of its members has the opportunity to flourish within the structure.