Having a healthy family language is crucial in recovery. Some individuals are not familiar with recovery language or understand what it means to have a healthy family language in recovery. However, the language used about recovery or someone on their recovery journey is important as it affects them personally and the recovery world.
Individuals who struggle with substance use disorder (SUD) or mental health disorders can have hope and assurance of a better life. Making the change and seeking treatment and recovery is a huge first step and adjustment in one’s life. Not only does your loved one’s life change in recovery. In order for this change to gracefully manifest, the people who love those in recovery most and support them through this journey must experience some level of change as well.
Helping a family member struggling with recovery requires more than just telling them that they have your support. Developing a healthy family language offers you as a family the ability to navigate your loved one’s recovery in a healthy manner. In doing so, you help to solidify the foundation and success of your loved one’s recovery.
Power of Words: Having a Person-First Language
Have you ever heard the saying, “Words have power?” Or “There’s power in the words you say?” These are old but very accurate sayings. Even if you heard as a child that “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” you quickly found that to be false. Words can sometimes do more damage than any stick or stone that comes your way.
There are already a plethora of misunderstandings about SUD and mental health conditions. Therefore, there are various words that can be used incorrectly when individuals are not properly educated on how to speak in terms of recovery.
When acknowledging the recovery community, one must use person-first language. This language requires those who intend to speak it properly to see the person, not any label attached to them. The damage that can be done when there seems to be an inability of the world to look beyond one’s symptoms of addiction or mental health challenges is insurmountable.
For example, if you see a man sleeping on a bench, your first assumption is that he is homeless. While this may be the case, he is still a person outside of his circumstances. Many would see the circumstance over humanity and refer to him as a homeless man. He is aware that he is homeless, and being called such can be offensive and hurtful.
How to Develop a Healthy Family Language
As a family member supporting someone in recovery, you must have an understanding of person-first language and apply that knowledge when speaking to or about your loved one. Support persons of individuals in recovery play a pivotal role in the journey.
Communication should be the first point of building a healthy family language. Adjusting your own verbiage may be a challenge you did not see coming. However, you want to be conscious of the change that is taking place in your loved ones’ life that is also embarking on one for yourself.
It is important to do your research to get a better understanding of what they are struggling with. Get to know the terminology. Seek out resources for family or loved ones supporting someone in recovery.
Be open to learning and understanding their wishes for recovery. Your loved one may have trigger words or labels that they do not wish to be associated with. If you are not sure what to say or how to speak to or about them, just ask. It is much better to inquire versus taking the risk of offending them or the recovery community.
Getting an understanding from your loved ones themselves is essential. After having a conversation with your loved one, the family can come together to ensure that everyone is clear on what is necessary for their healthy family language. Doubling down on this new understanding by joining family support groups can help you navigate the changes you need to make more smoothly.
A Health Family Language Helps the Entire Family as a Unit
People are people. Before anyone is anything other than a human being, they are simply that. Not a boy, girl, doctor, or lawyer. Just human.
When a family comes together and chooses to support a loved one through their recovery journey, it is beautiful. However, it can become a beautiful disaster if there is no healthy family language and dynamic set. Having an openness to changing your language in support of your loved one can make a world of difference.
This is not solely to help the person in recovery, but it builds a happy, healthy family environment for you all. It reduces the chance of mishandling your loved one and their condition. It causes you to change your perspective on those who struggle with substance abuse and mental health disorders now that you can better relate. Ultimately you will see the person first, which is conducive to the overall mental health of the family unit.
Lantana Recovery’s Family Program
Families go on the journey of recovery just as the individual recovering. As we know that a network of loved ones is very important for an individual in recovery, we extend services to all. Family members require just as much support as they are supporting their loved ones.
Lantana Recovery offers resources through our family program to help families learn how to communicate with one another in healthy ways. It also helps families understand these changes that are now being experienced by the family as a whole. You can only give what is within, and we help you gain the knowledge to properly support your loved one while we support you.
Recovery from addiction or mental health disorders can be a challenge. Taking the first step in acknowledging powerlessness to a substance or recognizing symptoms or poor mental health is a lot. That is putting it simply. However, the challenge that one experiences in recovery can be broadened by a lack of understanding or education on addiction or mental health disorders. There is a right and wrong way to address topics of substance and mental health disorders. In pursuit of the right way, it is important that a healthy family language is developed in support of a loved one’s recovery. Call Lantana Recovery at (866) 997-2870 for information on family programs that can help you understand the need for this adjustment.