The Role of Family Support In Overcoming Addiction

Courtesy of American Addiction Centers

Firefighters are men and women who work under very unique circumstances everyday. Therefore, when a firefighter is in need, therapy should be specialized to treat his or her unique issues. Therapists and addiction professionals should be equipped to get to the root causes that specifically apply to this group of professionals.

No hero should be lost to the devastation caused by mental anguish and trauma. When a firefighter loses control to his or her substance abuse, family members and loved ones also play a major role in the recovery process.

It’s crucial that therapists work with the family to help loved ones understand the firehouse culture. Most spouses of firefighters already know much of this culture well, because it’s a huge part of a firefighter’s identity – but not all family members may be aware.

Mike Healy, 42-year-member of the fire service, substance abuse professional, and fire consultant at American Addiction Centers, says, “Because so much is done as a company, both at work and at holiday parties, award dinners, and even funerals, families of firefighters are typically very aware of the firefighter culture – but if not, it’s very important to familiarize loved ones with what these men and women experience outside the home on a daily basis.”

Benefits of Family Therapy

Open communication is made possible
Deception commonly shows itself in the face of addiction, resulting in feelings of disappointment in family members. In 2010, a former firefighter was hurt on the job and soon developed an addiction to the widely abused prescription painkiller Oxycontin. His addiction took such control that he began stealing money from the station where he previously worked.

During family therapy, loved ones are able to verbalize how the drug abuse makes them feel, and in a way that is still forward thinking and positive.

You can begin the healing process
The wounds that drug abuse can create aren’t limited to an addict – they can be inflicted on loved ones just by virtue of the love and consideration they bare for a person fighting substance abuse issues.However, with a qualified and trained professional experienced in working with firefighters and public safety officers, individuals can begin to sort through their feelings of pain and anguish over the physical, mental and emotional toll that alcohol or drugs have taken, and develop a healthier outlook.

If you or a loved one needs immediate help with an issue such as substance abuse, depression, or psychological trauma, please call the National Fire Services Member Assistance Program at 1-888-731-FIRE (3473).