Sticky Relationships For Everyone

Sticky Relationships For Everyone

In today's world, the family remains the major source of bonding, nurturing, and socialization for humans. As a result, the impact of psychological pain associated with substance use disorders (SUDs) or mental illness on families and individual family members is worth considering. Addiction and mental illness may wreak havoc on family relationships. When communication is halted or limited, personalities can change. When trust dips, comfort or sense of ease together decrease too. At Solstice Pacific, we have a special way of doing things when it comes to family. We foster what we call sticky relationships. Here’s a short overview of sticky relationships: 1. Differences and similarities are a must. 2. Challenges and opportunities bring us together. 3. Room for imagination and anticipation requires space. Every thriving relationship needs these three. 

Sticky relationships are a combination of learning, shared experiences, respect and dignity. When individuals create community that centers around sharing wisdom, listening, taking time together without a screen, treating each other the way you want to be treated, it’s not just oxytocin that is created for each person. An invisible sticky force is born. Sticky relationships get through hard things. Sticky relationships ask questions, listen to ideas, want feedback, increase self-awareness, foster self-regulation and experience big gains in self-trust and mutual trust over time. Family is not about biological ties. It is about humans being vulnerable, teachable and present. Sticky is real. Sticky is good. Sticky lasts.

The consequences of a person's mental illness or drug addiction have far-reaching consequences. Psychological pain affects everyone and has a distinct impact on each family and each family member, including unmet developmental requirements, damaged connections, economic difficulty, legal issues, emotional pain, and even violence done against him or her. Untreated addiction or mental illness affect everyone who loves the person, whether it's a kid, parent, or spouse. Family members who have a loved one who is experiencing a substance use disorder typically go through a wide range of difficult feelings. The helplessness that loved ones experience as a result of substance use is equally frustrating. When a loved one is caught up in the throes of substance misuse, family members may feel hopeless and toxic, even deadly codependency patterns emerge. Untreated psychological pain can do a real number by making the family unit crumble and eventually break apart. 

Most families have little knowledge of how they should react to the damage and sense of impending doom. Our answer is to fight back, to rise up together, by consistently putting time and energy into the boundaries and shared experiences that create a sticky relationship. Questions arise about what role the family should take and how to create new habits. Sadly, in many cases, the family will only enable the situation and unintentionally make it worse. It takes steady, consistent boundaries and communication to build from what was lost and create something new: sticky relationships:

Get help

You may be bitter that you are having to deal with everything that comes along with an addiction or illness that is not even yours. While the circumstances are unfortunate, your loved one could use your help regardless of whether they want it or not. Whether you get help from a therapist, Celebrate Recovery, Al Anon, or here in our clinic, link arms with someone. Anchoring helps you look at 1. Differences and similarities. 2. Challenges and opportunities. 3. How and when to make room for imagination and anticipation. Without help, it’s likely to enable a loved one or to repeat familiar patterns of insanity (doing the same thing and expecting different results).

Ask questions

The only way you can learn about mental health is to ask whatever questions pop into your head. There are no stupid questions when it comes to saving someone’s life, regaining the balance in your life and changing generational patterns. The good thing about loss and disappointment are they push us to think and do things differently. Start with writing down a few questions about codependency, addiction, mental illness or communication.

Learn about mental health

Education can assist families in breaking free from the blame game. Rather than assuming that the person's psychological changes are caused by weakness, willfulness, or stubbornness, it may be more beneficial to understand the brain. Understanding a little more about addiction (obsession, compulsion) and disorders like Bipolar I, Depression or Anxiety make it possible to loosen the anger or resentment you may be experiencing. 

Join support groups

Many treatment facilities, community centers and churches provide support groups for families suffering from addiction or mental illness, in addition to family counseling. These venues remind us of our limits. We cannot want the “cure” or the chaos to end more than our loved one wants to see and work for change. Motivation is critical and if your loved one is not ready, make sure you are filling up your cup. It’s easy to contribute to problem behaviors or old, predictable patterns when you are sleep, nutrition or fun deprived.


We have a special way of creating community through sticky relationships. In our clinic, patients and their support system learn about attachment, acceptance and accountability. Learning, shared experiences, respect and dignity create the invisible force that keeps people together, sticky, always building trust, memories and courage. It's unpleasant, perplexing, and overwhelming to have a family member hurting. However, the situation is not hopeless. Solstice Pacific provides a number of treatment services for both individuals and their families, including family therapy and individual counseling. Please do not hesitate to contact us. Call or text us at (949) 200-7929 if you have any questions regarding our tailored treatment programs. You may also complete this brief assessment and verify your insurance.

When your life is directly and indirectly affected by mental illness or addiction, intervene for your own serenity and sanity. You cannot solve the problems for another person, but you can set a good example and set the tone for what happens next. 

Related Articles