If you have a family member with a substance use disorder, you might wonder if this means you will develop one as well. While this inquiry is valid, it does not mean that you are destined to carry on the cycle of addiction. Instead, you can be the reason that this cycle ends in your family.
Understanding the Risks
Even though you can put an end to this cycle, it is important to acknowledge the risk factors you might be experiencing. Since you have family members with a history of addiction, this can put you at risk of developing one yourself, which can occur for a number of reasons. For example, seeing or hearing about drug or alcohol use might have been normalized in your family. Once such behaviors are normalized, they may become more tempting to engage in for yourself.
Being around substances of any kind makes these more accessible for you to use, thus putting you at risk of developing an addiction. Watching your family member turn to substances can become a learned behavior for you as well. You may have been conditioned to believe that turning to substances in certain circumstances, or many circumstances, is something you should do.
Being aware of risk factors such as these can help you understand how addiction can occur in the first place and how to end the cycle in your family. Once you realize what risk factors are prevalent in your life, you can begin taking actions that ensure you do not fall into the same destructive habits.
Things You Can Do to End the Cycle
Ending the cycle of addiction is no easy feat and requires a lot of hard work on a daily basis. Despite this hardship, there are actions you can take in order to make sure that you do not turn to substances.
Some of these actions include the following:
#1. Surround Yourself With Sober Friends
Ensuring that you have individuals outside of your family that commit to their sobriety is essential. This can help show you that living a happy, fulfilled life that does not involve the use of harmful substances is possible. They can offer you support and guidance that may be hard to find in a family that has individuals struggling with addiction.
The people you surround yourself with throughout your life can significantly influence your daily decisions. This means that, if you only ever surround yourself with family members who use substances, you might also become tempted to use them. While this does not mean that you have to cut your family members off completely, it does mean that spending time with friends outside of your family is a contributing factor that can help you end the cycle of addiction.
#2. Find Meaningful Hobbies
Having one or multiple hobbies in your life that you feel connected to can help you mitigate the temptations to use. Since they mean something to you, you will feel driven to invest in your hobbies rather than in addiction. This means that, even if you do feel the temptation to use substances, your meaningful hobbies can help you not give into them. They can promote these decisions by creating a passionate drive inside of you. For example, if you love to paint in your free time, you might have the goal of selling a piece of your artwork someday. In order to do this, you may need to invest your time and energy in your craft, not in substance use.
Using substances can be a way for your family to distract themselves or give them momentary releases from their struggles. Regardless of what you go through in life, there will be times when you go through difficult things. If you have alternative healthier ways of achieving these distracting effects, you will feel less tempted to turn to the use of substances. Engaging in meaningful hobbies can also help distract you from when your family member might be actively using around you.
#3. Define Your Values
Values are what help you make decisions in your life that are meaningful and desirable. In other words, they help bring much-needed clarity to your life, even when everything seems to be falling apart around you. Some examples of personal values can include:
- Personal health and well-being
- Financial stability
- Connections with yourself and others
- Social justice
Defining your values is vital when it comes to ending the cycle of addiction in your family. Having two to three values for yourself can help guide your decisions in life. This helps you end the cycle of addiction because living a life guided by any healthy, meaningful values means not using substances. Addiction will prevent you from living out your values, so defining your values and making decisions that are based on your values can help you live a fulfilled life apart from addictive substances.
Just because your family has a history or pattern of addiction does not mean that you have to continue in this cycle. By understanding the risks you are presented with, you can better understand how to navigate and cope with your situation. Once you do this, you can try surrounding yourself with sober friends, find meaningful hobbies, and define your values. These actions can help remind you that you are not destined to continue your family’s cycle of addiction. Since cycles of addiction are complicated, you may want to reach out to professionals to seek further assistance and support. At West Coast Recovery Centers, we want to help you end your family’s cycle of addiction. We will provide you with knowledge, skills, and support that caters to your specific needs. Reach out to us today to ensure that you end the cycle at (760) 492-6509.