Sylvester Stallone joins the ranks of thousands of families fearing for the life of an addicted loved one, and now hopeful and supportive as the rehab journey commences. Blue collar, white collar, or even the glittering collar of a Hollywood Star equalizes on this common ground: addiction is a family disease.
Earlier this month Frank Stallone, younger brother of actor Sylvester Stallone, entered rehab for alcoholism. All news accounts make a point of mentioning Sly’s approval and support of this decision. But this seems rather bleak, as if something is missing. There’s no doubt that the decision to enter rehab must ultimately be made by the addicted adult, just as it is their decision to be actively engaged in the therapy process. However, it is also important for family members must also make the decision to be actively supportive, as opposed to merely paying lip service.
Addiction Is a Family Disease: How to Be Active Supportive
No one doubts Sylvester Stallone’s sincerity in the support of his brother during rehab. But for all families who are experiencing the rehab process, there are some basic ways to concretely help:
- Be open to family therapy, even if you have your own fears about this process
- Understand that recovery is self-driven, which means that you can’t “fix” the addiction for your loved one
- Recognize that each family has assets, strengths and resources that can be used to support the recovery of a loved one, but it can take a professional to help identify these
- Listen. A small word, but extraordinarily powerful.
- Remember that substance abuse and addiction is not the fault of the family
Resources for Families Dealing with Addiction
There are hundreds of resources to help families who are dealing with addiction, both during the addiction period, rehab, and during long-term recovery. Here’s a starter list of resources for families who have a loved one in rehab for alcohol or drug addiction: