Addiction is a family issue.
There is a family solution.
There is a family solution.
For many families, there comes a time when recovery and emotional capital is in short supply, and anxiety about the sustainability of the family is growing. Family members are even unsure of their personal futures within the family and as a leader, you are, stressed, anxious and losing lots of sleep.
You are not alone. Hundreds of thousands of families all over the world dealing with addiction/mental health are currently experiencing uncertainty about the direction of their family. They had built what they thought was a great, but then addiction/mental health seemingly dropped from the sky and blew the family apart. In the face of the chaos brought by radical change, they had not yet found their core strengths, so their communication efforts were inefficient and insufficient. More importantly, they weren't focused. They were often on different pages, with the co-parent as far as their future vision.
With guidance and a few relatively simple steps, you can begin to find your groove and turn the family around.
Here is how:
1. Be transparent.
When making changes, it is imperative you are straightforward. For the whole family not to jump ship, they need to trust you and your leadership, and that begins with knowing the hard truth. So, step one was to establish and maintain full transparency with everyone. Clarity is the best feeling in the world. Everyone wants to know where they stand.
2. Create a common vision.
You need to make sure everyone is on the same page. As a leader, outline how the family is going to jump-start the turnaround. The vision has to be shared, and more importantly, all the key stakeholders need to weigh in. I would engage not only family of origin but also anyone who cares about you and your loved one who is struggling. The result was everyone wanted to be part of the successful turnaround.
3. Fake it till you make it.
Real sustainable change takes time. But each day, week, the month that you are moving closer to achieving the goal of family stability, there will be important milestones hit. We use each one to celebrate our successes -- from declaring our self-care anniversary, supporting our loved one into treatment and continually striving for improving our connection with everyone in the family of origin and choice.
4. Wrap culture around your vision.
When times get tough, and people are struggling to change deeply engrained habits, culture plays a huge role in sustaining excitement around your family vision.
For your family, that could mean weekly breakfast meetings, special personal growth sessions focused on improving communication, a simple family member of the week campaign and maybe a family room re-painting party to brighten the environment and build teamwork. You CAN create a great place to connect with each other. In a fast-paced world, taking the time to intentionally provide an environment where you see and hear each other is so important.
5. Manage for long-term momentum.
Lead your family as you're not going anywhere and totally committed to your vision, and everyone will believe it and invest their time and effort to make it happen.
If you’re intentional, every day, about your self-care you will be successful in turning your family around. Keep in mind turning a family around is not an event, but a process, so stay with it and most importantly get yourself a coach to hold you accountable. Coaching is the sure-fire way to accelerate your family to sustainable change.
Timothy Harrington is passionate about helping family members of the addicted loved one awaken to their own power and purpose.