Family Matters IV
By Judy Terry-Blount, LCDC, CART, Counselor
Substance Abuse Treatment:
“For me, being around my family is like being under a
warm blanket in the winter.”
The Importance Of Family
The feelings I have when I think of family are “warm
fuzzies.” I had so many different thoughts about families when
I was asked to write this article. Were they asking me to
write about the importance of family? Or were they asking
me to write about “Family Matters--what happens in the
family?” I don’t know, but either way I come to you from my
heart. My family matters to me. I think it is an important
factor in everyone’s life. I could not imagine not having my
family, children, mother, siblings, aunts, uncles, and friends.
All of us have ancestors. Fortunately or unfortunately, there
is no getting away from them. They are there, good or bad.
As mental health professionals and
substance abuse treatment
counselors, we work in a field where we see the very essence
of family. Families can give us hope or take that same hope
away. We want our
to be involved in our own treatment
and of course we want our patients to have the support of
their families. But that doesn’t always happen. Addiction
takes away trust, boundaries and self esteem. We learn to
cope with shame and guilt. I am sure some family members
pray and feel that no one hears these prayers. Counselors
are dedicated to doing their best to give hope to the family
and the addict. We have found families which are engaged
in the substance abuse treatment process have a much better success rate.
When everything else fails, families can stand like soldiers.
The very thing needed to survive (love and acceptance) has
been there all the time wrapped up in our family.
Families do matter! Most of us have been given love; maybe
not the way we thought it should be, but love none-the-less.
What we needed was encouragement...understanding...
hope...comfort...advice...values...and morals. Most of us were
taught something about faith. Faith gives us something to
hold onto through the good times and bad. We can now be
taught to laugh at our mistakes. We could be just a little
proud of learning from our families, whether what we learned
was “how to” or “how not to.”
In treatment, we are taught to enjoy life and to appreciate
the beauty of everything. We learn by watching the
examples before us. We’re told to try out new things, to
laugh and enjoy being alive, to try harder or try again, to
appreciate what we have, to help those who are less
fortunate, to make friends, to be a friend, and to honor
God. Through substance abuse treatment
and the recovery process, the
thing that matters most is family and with that our hope
and faith are restored. We learn family does matter even
if it is our own AA or NA
family. The realization and
acceptance of that can be our greatest asset, the wisdom to
know family does matter.
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