Family members address and navigate through seemingly endless stormy waters once their family member enters treatment. Having a family member in treatment is demanding of our time and resources and most of all, it’s emotionally exhausting.
Our worry and anxiety fluctuate throughout the process and we often find ourselves in a constant state of “fight or flight.” This helps to keep us prepared to take action when dealing with a crisis or a threat. It is a constant state that keeps us striving to take “control” of the fear or worry. The challenge of taking “control” of a situation this way is that it really only works if we are in physical danger. When dealing with anxiety, perceived or real, our version of taking “control” becomes more of a problem…an emotionally exhausting problem.
There is no doubt that our fear is real, especially when our family member’s needs must be met through more intensive interventions. However, our tendency to allow our thoughts to create and exacerbate anxiety keeps us in this state of automatic response, constantly reacting to our perceived fears using ineffective tools to take “control.”
Below are 10 useful ways to manage your anxiety more effectively as you engage in this journey with your family:
10 Ways to have Long-Term Success with Managing your Anxiety:
Find control within ourselves to decrease the need to control “the situation”
Change negative beliefs
Cultivate new approaches to thinking
Increase awareness of thoughts and storylines that we follow, especially those that always increase anxiety
Learn how to stop replaying the past and rehearsing a dissatisfying future
Decrease self–judgment and blame
Distinguish between urgency and importance when it comes to situations that need addressed
Increase self-awareness and identify patterns that are impacting our success as a parent
Change language to change behavior to increase self-awareness
Learn how to decrease expectations and truly allow for acceptance
While it can seem challenging to change how we think and cope with difficult situations, we must also remember that a loved one is trying to learn an entirely new life without addiction. In our Family Program we can work with you and your loved one to create a new path together.
Jen Murphy, M.Ed., LPC is the Family Director at The Foundry, a rehab and substance abuse treatment center in Colorado, providing services specifically for Foundry family members to provide support and guidance throughout their family member’s treatment process. In our work with families we continually honor the family’s therapeutic process and creatively support the unique needs of each individual family. Jen Murphy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org