How Can I Get My Family Involved in My 12-step Treatment?
It can be much easier to stick with a 12-step program if your family members support your decision to attend meetings and are generally involved in the treatment itself. While it can be difficult to get this sort of involvement from your loved ones at first, there are ways in which you can help them to better understand the program and your need for their participation.
Talk to Them
Especially if you haven’t discussed the program with them up until this point, it can be extremely beneficial to just talk about what you learned in your most recent meeting or what the program has been able to help you with so far. You can tell your spouse about your journey to find a higher power that reflects your recovery or your impressions after attending your first meeting. More than likely, they will be pleased to see that you have found a program that makes you feel connected to your recovery and ready to make a positive change in your life.
Bring Them to a Community Meeting
Usually about once every month, 12-step programs have community meetings where members can bring friends, family, or other loved ones, and non-members can see what the program is like. At these meetings, members are often comfortable answering questions, and the focus is mainly on the program itself so that others can begin to understand it a bit better. This could be a perfect time to introduce your family members to the program, which could prompt an important conversation about how it is helping you.
Suggest They Attend an Al-Anon or Nar-Anon Meeting
These programs are actually designed specifically for the loved ones of addicts. Nar-Anon is for those whose loved ones are addicted to illicit or prescription drugs, and Al-Anon is for loved ones of alcoholics and alcohol abusers. Members often focus on several things while attending meetings:
- Members read the 12 steps and attempt to abide by them in their own lives.
- Members listen to one another discuss their lives with addicts and try to give everyone ample time to speak.
- Members do not judge, nor do they give advice, but instead seek to listen as a means of helping the individual get feelings and frustrations off their chest.
- Members keep everything that is said anonymous so as not to disrupt the individual’s daily life.
These programs actually help bring addicts and their family members closer, especially if both are learning about and attempting to go through the 12 steps of recovery.
Seek a Professional
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, many therapists and counselors for drug addicted individuals practice 12-step facilitation therapy, which is “an active engagement strategy designed to increase the likelihood of a substance abuser becoming affiliated with and actively involved in 12-step self-help groups.” A counselor who practices this type of treatment would likely be very helpful in explaining the program to your loved one and dispelling any myths they may have heard about it.
Want More Advice About How to Involve Your Family in Your 12-step Program?
Call 888-905-9004. We can discuss 12-step programs with you or your loved ones, and even help you find Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meetings in your area.