More about the 'Family Illness'
We believe that there is little point in removing the alcohol or drug dependent person and treating him or her in isolation of the family system. To do so would be to leave him or her vulnerable to relapse on his/her reintroduction into the system, because families usually have a state to which they return if events knock them off balance, which is known as ‘homoeostasis’ – their system has been developed over many years to unwittingly “support” the still-drinking alcoholic and not the recovering alcoholic. A counsellor will, therefore, encourage families (all family members) to view the ‘problem’ differently – not in isolation, but as part of the whole; and to help shift responsibility for change from the one individual (usually the alcohol and/or drug dependent person) to all involved in that system or family.
At the very least, members of the family need to understand this and to appreciate the need for change. Getting the family members to communicate and to start examining and reviewing who carries responsibility for what is, quite often, a large part of the initial recovery process for a family.