Addiction and substance abuse affect the entire family, not just the person struggling with dependency. Families are often broken down and torn apart, as a single family member’s decisions can have lasting impacts on their loved one’s lives. For many years, family programming has served to benefit thousands of those struggling with the hardships of alcohol and drug addiction. Through family involvement throughout the detoxification and rehabilitation process, a person gains a much higher likelihood of a strong and long lasting recovery. The benefits of family programming not only fall to the person struggling with substance abuse, but also have tremendous advantages for the entire family unit as a whole. Learn more about how family programming can benefit addiction treatment.
The Five Dysfunctional Roles Family Members Play
In the realm of family programming for addiction therapy, family members will likely fall into one of five major categories or dysfunctional roles. These roles serve as a baseline to help families understand how impactful their actions and presence can be, and how their influences can help shape a family dynamic. In addition, dysfunctional roles show the damage an untreated substance abuse disorder can do to a once-thriving family.
Helping families to understand their own dynamic is one of the big ways in how family programming can benefit addiction treatment. By allowing for shifts in perspective, many families walk away from family programming feeling more complete and happy than ever. The five major dysfunctional family roles are as follows:
Also known as “the hero,” the savior does everything in their power to strive for excellence. If the savior happens to be a child, they will often get involved in extracurricular activities, do well in school, and stay out of trouble. If the savior is more seasoned, they will likely work hard at their job and attain success. Usually, the savior’s dynamic in the family can be negatively affected by the dependent themselves. This can occur for many reasons, but often it’s due to jealousy or resentment of the savior’s success. Similarly, the savior may resent the dependent, as they view them as dragging the family down. Despite their outwardly successful appearance, the savior will often experience some of the worst emotional turmoil of any family member.
This role is often inhabited by the class clown of the family, cracking jokes to bring light to the situation. While other family members take the dependent’s substance abuse disorder seriously, mascots pride themselves on keeping things light during tense situations. Sadly, like the savior, the mascot’s outward appearance often masks an inner sadness or insecurity.
The Lost Child
Unlike the two previous roles, the role of the lost child is an inactive one. While mascot and savior go out of their way to show that everything is alright, the lost child is just lost. They feel uncomfortable getting involved and would rather view things from the sidelines. The lost child is a lonely role. It often manifests as a person who walks on eggshells or tries their best to stay out of dependents’ way. Known to turn a blind eye to the dependent’s actions as a means of self-preservation, the lost child is often neglected by the family. However, slowly but surely, they are consumed by the dependent’s substance abuse disorder.
The scapegoat is an unenviable position. Unlike the lost child who is forgotten in the shuffle, the scapegoat cannot catch a break. Oftentimes well-rounded and emotionally stable, the scapegoat serves as someone to blame. This can be especially true depending upon the nature of the dependent’s abuse. In some circumstances, the scapegoat will bear the brunt of the blame for the dependent’s choices. Scapegoats often themselves constantly shamed, even if their actions merit the opposite response.
Also sometimes known as “the caretaker” the enabler often manifests him or herself as the spouse of the dependent. They are at the mercy of their spouse’s substance abuse disorder, and therefore have codependency issues. They fears that if they try to get their loved one the help they need, then their loved one will leave. Living around the addiction, the enabler may know what is best for the dependent but chooses to cater to their misguided desires.
What Role Does Family Play In Addiction Recovery?
The role that family plays in addiction recovery can often mean the difference between a successful recovery and continued suffering. A cohesive family unit can better band together to give their loved one the support they need. In conclusion, having a family’s support during this difficult time can make all the difference. Likewise, if abandoned by the family, recovery is made more difficult. After all, people always suffer an emotional toll when lacking the support of loved ones.
How Family Programming Can Benefit Addiction Treatment
By identifying their respective dysfunctional roles, family members can come to terms with how their actions impact their loved ones. Opening one’s eyes to another person’s perspective can make a big difference in the fight against addiction.
Family Support Groups For Addiction
Viewing addiction as a family problem is the first step in reshaping how a family operates. By seeking family support groups for addiction, a family can reconnect in ways they never thought possible. Family support groups for addiction have grown in popularity in recent decades, as more people are seeing how family programming can benefit addiction treatment.
Find Relief For Substance Abuse Disorder In California
Here at Ocean Hills Recovery, we want to help you in every step of the recovery process. With locations in Orange County, Los Angeles, and Southern California, we are your one stop shop for drug and alcohol treatment and recovery. There has never been a better time to regain control over your freedom and your life. Contact us through our admissions page and take the first steps in your individual recovery journey.