When a person struggles with substance abuse, psychological disorders, or an addiction of any kind, their problems can become a massive weight on the family. In some cases, this weight becomes a financial burden as well as an emotional one. The strain leads to fights, hurt feelings, and an inability to solve anything.

In those cases, the addict’s family may benefit enormously from hiring a neutral mediator who can work as a compassionate third-party between the family members, including the person dealing with addiction. Never heard of mediation, especially in terms of family conflict? Here are the things you need to know, as well as benefits of turning to a mediator.

Why Mediation Can Benefit You in Recovery

1. What Exactly Is Mediation?

Some people consider a mediator to be more of a counselor while others think the role is closer to that of a judge. In reality, both are somewhat right and somewhat wrong.

A mediator’s job is to come into a family dispute and show respect to each side of the argument. They make everyone feel comfortable and supported, but they also help steer the conversation towards a fair agreement. The mediator does not impose a decision. Instead, they help the family members come to a settlement that everyone feels is just.

What Exactly Is Mediation

Meditation is a common tool used in situations like divorce proceedings and couple disputes. It’s much easier than hiring a lawyer to help people come to a middle ground, and in general, it’s a much more pleasurable, less stressful experience.

Some compare a mediation to an intervention, but in reality, that’s not exactly true. With an intervention, everyone is coming together to express concern about the addict’s problems.

In a mediation, there is a process in which one neutral person, who is not involved in the addict’s life and who does not have previous experiences with them, helps every side be understood, including the opinion and thoughts of the addict.

According to research, mediation is especially helpful for drug addicts because it seems like less of a punishment and more of a tool for recovery.

2. What Happens During the Actual Mediation?

What Happens During the Actual Mediation

Don’t think of this as a sentencing or court case. It’s much less rigid and intense than that. Once an appointment is arranged, the mediator will meet with the addict and their family. They will then spend some time getting to know the situation and listening to everyone’s thoughts, either as a group or privately. Then, the mediator will walk you through the process of deciding on a fair settlement for everyone involved.

If an addict or family member were to hire legal representation in order to secure a settlement, this would be a much more difficult process. Instead, mediation forces everyone to be present and open in the discussion.

3. How Does It Benefit Families Dealing With Addiction?

How Does It Benefit Families Dealing With Addiction

When dealing with an addict, hundreds of painful, pointless arguments can ensue. Most family members have tried sharing tips for staying sober, encouraging the addict to go to rehab, offering tips for detox diets, and so much more. However, after a certain number of failures, the family will most likely be ready to bring in an impartial volunteer to help settle the disputes.

Mediation is a much healthier, simpler process for families to resolve conflict than going to court. Instead of appealing to a judge who will dole out a final decision, the family and the addict are able to come to a decision that they all agree on. Therefore, the power stays within the group and does not lie with an outsider, even though a stranger is present.

Furthermore, mediation can be a healing process in a way legal battles can never be. Everyone involved gets the chance to speak their minds and be heard, and more often than not, people leave mediation feeling much better than they did before.

That’s why it can be such an important part of an addict’s recovery process: they get to solve conflicts with others and finally come to a solid agreement with them in terms of money and unresolved issues.

4. Can Mediation Save My Family Money?

an Mediation Save My Family Money

In almost every situation, hiring a mediator to help with an addict and their family is substantially more affordable than hiring a legal representative to remedy the situation. Not only will the entire process be more pleasant, but you’ll also walk away without wasting thousands of dollars. Because recovery can already be so expensive on the part of addicts and their families, this makes mediation a much more viable option.

5. How Can We Find a Mediator to Help?

If you or a family member is struggling with drug abuse and you are looking for a mediator to facilitate communication, ask for recommendations from trusted sources such as rehab centers, psychologists, and doctors. Then, interview several candidates to find a mediator who seems to be a good fit for your family.

Remember to take your time and do your research while making this important decision.

Mediation can be scary and challenging, but overall, it’s one of the healthiest, most effective ways to begin a drug-free relationship with someone overcoming addiction. It can solve financial and emotional issues and give the addict a clean start with the people they love most, so don’t be afraid to ask for help during your family disputes.

(Last Updated On: October 23, 2018)

A senior academic researcher, reviewer, and editor, Dr. Declan Pouros is also an internationally accredited psychotherapist. He earned his PhD in Psychological Counseling and Guidance, and in the years since, he has taught in the Department of Psychological Counseling and Guidance himself.He has also authored papers that have gone on to appear in such world-renowned journals as the European Journal of Psychological Assessment, Psychological Reports, the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. Asia Pacific Psychiatry, and Computers in Human Behaviour.

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