Posted by Steps to Recovery on March 2, 2013

Addiction is a family disease. The fact is that the addiction does not only affect the individual with drug or alcohol dependency, it affects the entire family in a number of ways. Loved ones and friends of the addict will suffer from the person’s addiction, and especially children will be deeply affected and changed when they experience the addiction of a parent or loved one.

When the addict decides to seek out help and begin their journey of recovery, they receive a lot of guidance and support from their treatment program and the recovery community; however, often times the family is overlooked when they need support just as much. Not only will the addict have to adjust to the new lifestyle they have chosen, so will the family, and it can be really difficult to make those changes without the proper support and guidance.

Sometimes the family becomes dysfunctional due to the addiction, and sometimes the addiction is related to the dysfunction of the family. Either way, if the family does not receive support in the recovery process as well, they may remain in those dysfunctional roles even as the addict is making progress. This can be problematic, because the addict needs the support of the family, but if they are still stuck in the dysfunctional roles, it can be a recipe for relapse for the addict. This is how addiction is a family disease.

Since addiction is a family disease, there are treatment programs that have great opportunity for family recovery. Family recovery refers to the process by which the loved ones of the addict return to proper functioning family roles following addiction. Although in most instances only one member of the family will have been a substance abuser it will have likely impacted everybody, so it is important that everyone receive support and the help they need to get back to appropriate behavior.

Family recovery is said to pass through a number of key stages which include:

  • In the first stage the family member will still be abusing alcohol or drugs.
  • In the second stage there will be the transition from substance abuse to sobriety.
  • Early recovery is the third stage – this can be a difficult time for the family as everyone adjusts to the new situation.
  • The final stage is on-going recovery. By this time the family will usually have adapted to the new conditions.

Recovery for the whole family is important for the successful long-term recovery of the addict, as well as for the family to function supportively and lovingly. Family recovery is offered by many treatment programs, and Steps to Recovery is happy to help you find the one that is right for your family. Addiction is a family disease, and recovery is a family process, contact us today to find out how we can help your entire family recover from the horrors of addiction.