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Family Therapy for Addiction


Drug and alcohol addiction recovery is for more than the one wrestling with addiction – it’s also for their family. Family therapy is one way in which an addict’s family is involved in both his or her recovery, as well as their own.

What Role Does Family Play In Addiction?

Family can play many different roles in the life of a loved one struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. These different roles differ from person to person among family members, depending on the relationship they have with the addict, the history between them, and even personality and temperament. An understanding of these roles can help make the right adjustments and set the right boundaries for supporting the recovery of their addicted loved one.

What Are Family Factors Of Addiction?

Dysfunctional family relationships and environments, especially those that involve aggression and conflict, can lead to mental health and substance use disorders (SUDs). 

If parents themselves have issues with anxiety or depression, there is the potential that a child may also struggle with similar issues and run the risk of self-medicating and acquiring an addiction. 

Also, parents who especially are struggling with addiction themselves increase the likelihood of passing it down to their children.

What Are the Family Roles of Addiction?

When a loved one has an addiction, different family roles emerge, typically unconsciously, out of an attempt to manage the hurt and harm resulting from the addiction.

The following are the most common roles:

  • The Addict: The person with the addiction.
  • The Caretaker or Enabler: Typically a spouse, parent, or child seeking to maintain family functioning even by covering up the negative aspects of the Addict’s behaviors, making excuses, or even taking responsibility upon themselves on behalf of the Addict.
  • The Hero: Typically an older child striving for perfection for the sake of normalcy and family achievement, taking on adult responsibilities pretty young.
  • The Scapegoat: The one who diverts attention from the Addict’s problem for their own misbehavior, often blamed for many of the family’s problems.
  • The Lost Child: The middle or younger child is often overlooked as they withdraw from the family conflict and chaos, avoiding attention and spending much time alone.
  • The Mascot: Also known as the ‘clown’ or ‘entertainer,’ this family member uses humor to defuse tension, typically as a coping mechanism for their own pain.

What is Family Therapy?

Family Therapy is essentially the family’s participation in the recovery process of their addicted loved one. Interviews among the family members will help establish what is truthful when gathering information directly from the client with the addiction, and ongoing contact between the family and counselors helps in communicating recommendations and ongoing recovery.

Family group meetings are also offered if recommended by the client’s primary counselor.

Why is it Important to Involve Family in Addiction Treatment?

Addiction is just as much a family problem as it is for the client struggling with it. Regular family involvement in surveys, interviews, meetings/calls, etc., allows for accountability and awareness of the client’s progress and how to support their ongoing recovery.

What Is The Best Family Therapy Approach?

The best family therapy approach involves the family both in the recovery process of the client as well as their own recovery, as addiction is a family issue. It should also prepare the family for reintegrating the client into life outside of and after treatment.

Into Action Recovery Advocates for Family Involvement in Addiction Recovery

Our people-first approach to recovery fosters recovery for both the individual with the addiction as well as their family. We’re here to give you or your loved one the best treatment for lifelong sobriety, and family involvement is important.

Call us today at 844-303-3969 for more information about our treatment programs, family therapy, and support groups.

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