Veterans of the armed forces face many challenges, and it is dangerous to ignore or avoid the real effects and traumatic experiences of one’s time in service. However, these traumas and experiences never solely affect the individual; military families as a whole are exposed to their trials as a result of one’s time in service.
Navigating recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to transition stress is a complex journey, and military families face these struggles together. Regardless of how isolated veterans may feel, healing as a family is crucial for overcoming the intense and lasting effects of military life. Dedicated family recovery programs can be the catalyst needed for a truly transformative approach to a healthy civilian life following one’s time in service.
The Effects of Military Stress on the Family
Serving in the military is a noble effort, and the bravery and strength it takes to answer the call to arms should be celebrated. However, responding to this call is a family commitment, and military spouses and children face drastic changes to their lifestyles as a result of dedication to the military. Families, from parents to spouses and children, all serve in their own ways and experience their own emotional tolls throughout one’s military deployments.
The stress of having a loved one in such a dangerous line of duty is incredibly stressful, and the uncertainty of what one may experience on tour is difficult to bear. Others face the stress of constantly moving around, finding it difficult to establish their personal lives, interests, or relationships in any particular place before having to pack up and move again.
Children also experience their own stresses. Changing schools or having a parent on deployment during important events, such as birthdays and graduations, all have a lasting impact on children.
Lastly, profound experiences while on tour—such as exposures to trauma and loss—rarely stay on the battlefield, leaving trauma and PTSD to follow veterans back to their civilian life. Navigating the symptoms of PTSD, the prevalence of addiction among veterans, and the lasting effects of one’s experiences all take a familial toll just as much as a personal one. Acknowledging the effects of military life on the family unit is crucial for taking the first step toward healing as a unified group.
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The Importance of Healing Together
Recovery from trauma and addiction is complex, but having to overcome personal challenges doesn’t mean that these things impact an individual alone. All family members have their own challenges to overcome, and a dedicated recovery program aimed at familial healing is crucial to creating the necessary dialogue and change for effectively addressing how each family member has been affected.
It is impossible to predict how and when traumatic experiences and stress will impact each individual. However, healing is always an interconnected journey, and addressing one’s experiences and symptoms in isolation can leave gaps in one’s coping strategies. Healing together, discussing each challenge and how it informs or involves others, and safely addressing them is crucial. This ensures that families are able to process any harbored resentments, difficult feelings, or other symptoms of stress and trauma that may be present.
The Benefits of Family Programs
Each family member will have their own needs throughout recovery, and dedicated family programs create a safe space to discuss these trials by developing communication strategies and giving each family member a space to voice their own feelings or concerns. By educating each family member on the effects and causes of trauma, stress, addiction, or whatever else may be impacting an individual, families can better work together. This helps everyone openly address and overcome these trials through understanding and compromise, all while providing each family member with the resources and strategies needed to lead their own lives.
What to Expect in a Family Recovery Program
Dedicated family programs can be intimidating as it can be challenging to tell a loved one how one has been impacted by stress, trauma, or addiction. However, family programs are dedicated to navigating these delicate conversations through education and acceptance, which ensures that one never feels like they have to choose between voicing their experiences and their love for another. Communication and understanding are the cornerstones of these programs. By backing each conversation with education and practical interpersonal therapies, family programs are dedicated to finding a place of understanding.
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These programs also provide crucial information and space to practice coping strategies, helping families:
- Learn to support each other
- Develop effective communication strategies
- Set personal boundaries
- Voice individual needs
- Develop self-care practices
These skills are instrumental in navigating recovery as a unified family, and professional care and education are essential in maintaining one’s health while addressing the familial impact of stress, trauma, and addiction with the best support possible.
Dedicated family programs are crucial for not just understanding and overcoming your personal challenges but also for instilling trust and support in those who matter most in your life. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we understand the important role that family plays in your recovery and are dedicated to helping you navigate your challenges while developing these relationships. With family programming and professionals to help you challenge addiction, trauma, and mental health disorders in tandem, Fwe are prepared to create a personalized plan for you to address your unique needs and goals throughout each stage of recovery. From proven therapeutic modalities to experiential therapies and spiritual practices, we believe in healing the whole person as well as the whole family for a healthier future. For more information on how we can help you navigate your recovery journey, call to speak to a caring, trained staff member today at (866) 390-5070.