On Your Radar podcast: Living in recovery as a family

Navigating addiction and mental health disorders can feel lonely and isolating for both the individual affected and the friends and family supporting that person. These are truly family diseases. However one defines their family, we all go through the journey together, at any stage of recovery or stage of life.

Parents in particular ride a rollercoaster of emotions. Guilt that they did something wrong. Grief over extreme changes in behavior, missed milestones, or estrangement. Joy during the good moments, but often followed by the fear that bad news is always the next phone call away.

If you’re a parent, you might blame yourself, but you’re not at fault. If imperfect parenting led to substance use issues, then every child would have them. You might want to fix the problem like you would a leaky faucet, but you can’t. But there are things you can do to help yourself and those you love.

The experts at Rosecrance will tell you that compassion, communication, and connection are all key. Create a safe space for all to talk openly and honestly—small and big things alike. You might sometimes lose your temper—we’re all human—but resist temptations to shame or criticize. It’s important to keep self-esteem up, but in a way that’s authentic to your relationship, or it can come across as pandering. At the same time, hold everyone accountable and enforce your own boundaries—not as punishment, but because it’s what’s best.

Peer support can be invaluable. The experts at Rosecrance provide support groups where people speak openly and emotionally without judgement and share their experiences, struggles, and yes, even their happiness. You may even form new friendships from these fellowships. Recovery may be an ongoing, sometimes bumpy journey, but when we go through it together, we have so much more hope.

If you know a family, including your own, going through recovery for mental health or substance use issues, check out series 6, episode 4 of the Rosecrance podcast “On Your Radar,” which covers how the whole family lives through recovery.

Download “Living in Recovery as a Family” series 6, episode 4, HERE.