As we mentioned in a previous blog on Addiction and Creating Healthy Families, drug and alcohol use comes with many negative side effects for families. Families coping with addiction can become dysfunctional in their communication, understanding of feelings and ability to feel empathy. The good news is that this is fixable.
The Top 5 Rules for creating a healthy and functional family life are:
- Be kind: No matter what else you do, have the intention and focus on being kind.
- Apologize: If you do or say something wrong or inappropriate, admit it right away. No excuses, no “yeah, but’s” and no avoiding. Just say you’re sorry so everyone can move on.
- Be loyal to those not present – no gossiping: Unless you’re saying something complimentary or wonderful about someone else in your family, do not speak about them. If you have a question or concern, speak to that person directly and don’t gossip.
- Make and keep promises: Be willing to make a promise and then hold yourself to it, every time.
- Forgive: Holding on to resentments and anger helps no one. Make forgiveness one of your primary activities and you will find your world opening up.
There are three primary “laws” of love that should also govern all your actions in your family. Focus on:
- Acceptance rather than rejection
- Understanding rather than judgment
- Participation rather than manipulation
If you consistently do all these things, you’ll find yourself building trust (again) within your family and starting to feel confident and fulfilled in all your relationships.