In most cases, your significant other, your friends, and your family should all directly support you and build you up. It’s important that friends and family are there for each other, especially during the hard times. That said, there are some things that a person needs to do on their own. Addiction treatment is one of those things.
Reasons Why Friends and Family Should Not Go Through Treatment Together:
1. Individualism and Independence
In order for treatment to work, it needs to cater to the individual. It may be true that all addicts share the same disease, but that doesn’t make all addicts equal. On the surface, someone who is detoxing from heroin is going to need different treatment and monitoring than someone who is detoxing from alcohol. But the type of individuality that we’re talking about goes below the surface.
Each person who enters treatment at New Start will be given one-on-one sessions and their own case manager. These are the base tools that will help a recovering addict understand his problems and work towards bettering himself. That can’t really be done to its full extent if people who know the addict are there to witness, alter, or distract from the process. Especially given that much of the time, one person will be more committed to the recovery process than the other. Everyone has their own history and their own path. They need to be free to commit and progress on their own.
2. Space is a Good Thing
It’s entirely possible for friends to build each other up, but physical presence is not the kind of support that is needed during initial treatment. A person needs to feel safe during their treatment. And while detoxing with a friend or spouse may seem like the safest and most comfortable option, the freedom and confidence that comes with being away from the people who know you best will actually benefit you more.
It’s also highly likely that the people who were present during your addiction could be relapse triggers now. For example, if you and your significant other are both struggling with addiction, the presence of your partner can be a constant reminder of scrounging for money, getting high, and feeling depleted. It’s entirely possible that the relationship can survive if both partners are willing to get help, but that help can’t be done together. At the very least, you need a break from the struggles of someone else (even if they’re shared) and space to work on yourself.
3. Breaking Free of the Codependency Safety Net
Addiction treatment isn’t just about getting sober. It’s also about breaking all the harmful habits that grew during addiction and developing skills to move forward, healthier and happier. More often than not, friends or couples that want to enter treatment together are using together. They depend on each other to feed, support, and justify each other’s addiction. Depending on someone else for any reason during your addiction is incredibly unhealthy. So, as you can probably guess, codependency is one of those harmful habits (or rather, disorders) that need to be worked on during recovery. However, it’s not possible to do so when the subject of a person’s codependency is present during the process.
Furthermore, a person who struggles with codependency might also feel the need to support and take care of their friend or partner’s addiction, even if the person struggles with addiction themselves. The danger in this type of situation is heightened. Not only is the individual struggling with his own issues in addiction, he is also enabling his friend or significant other’s addiction. Participating in different detox or residential programs will help both partners by breaking that codependency routine. That’s not to say that addiction treatment will cure someone of their codependency. But it will certainly separate them from its outlet.
Hope for Friends and Family
It’s not recommended that friends and family attend treatment together. But that doesn’t mean they have to be excluded from their loved one’s recovery completely. Many residential and outpatient programs offer family therapy once the addict has a solid foundation in his own treatment program. This provides the family time to talk to the addict about his or her addiction and come up with boundaries together for the future. The addict is also free to talk to his friends and family about himself and his issues regarding others.
Family therapy is incredibly helpful in situations where both friends or relationship partners are recovering addicts. If both partners have graduated detox separately and are participating in separate residential or outpatient programs, they can still learn to cope and grow together in their recovery through family therapy.
Claim Your Recovery
“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”
Recovery will make you stronger if you’re willing to commit to it. But in that commitment, you don’t want to be brought down by the struggle of someone else. If you and a loved one are both struggling with addiction, you both need the opportunity to become stronger on your own if you want the relationship (romantic or otherwise) to strengthen.
Don’t suffer as the weak link. New Start can help if you are struggling with addiction. Call our addiction staff at 855-737-7363 or reach out to us on our live chat.