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The Importance of Family Involvement in Addiction Recovery

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Family dynamics are complex enough, but adding addiction to mix makes it much more complicated. We’ve all heard the expression “the first step is admitting that you have a problem.” But this is as important for family members as it is for the addict.

When one family member is spiraling out of control due to substance abuse, the rest of the family is consumed with fear for their loved one’s health and safety. Admitting that there is a problem within your family is difficult, especially if you are in denial, aren’t sure how to fix it, or don’t want to stir up any conflict for fear of making matters worse. But because addiction affects everyone in the family, it’s essential for the family to be involved in the recovery process.

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Understanding the Role of Family in Addiction Recovery
Addiction can cause feelings of resentment, anger, distrust and depression in members of an addict’s family. Relationships are compromised as a result, and family members struggle with how to be supportive without enabling.

Patients in treatment often report that they have no family, but that usually isn’t the case. Typically the family is aware of their loved one’s situation and wants to help–they just don’t know what to do.

Once an addict is ready to seek treatment, it’s vital for the rest of the family to get on board and be supportive. Seeking treatment as one unified group shows the addict that they have their family’s support, which ultimately determines their long-term success.

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How Family Therapy Improves the Recovery Process
One mark of a quality addiction recovery center is that it offers counseling for the entire family. It’s important for every member of the family to learn about addiction, manage stress and support their loved one in a healthy way, which is useful for any family members who have enabled the addiction.

Family therapy is an incredibly useful tool that can help the entire family heal. It helps people adjust to difficult changes, address past conflicts and trauma, establish healthy behaviors, and understand how addiction has disrupted the family dynamic. Although having these types of conversations is difficult, it’s a necessary step toward a full recovery. Shunning the addict and pretending that underlying issues don’t exist only increases their risk of relapse once they’ve completed treatment.

Therapy is also particularly useful for children and teens living with substance abuse in their families. A stressful family environment is a risk factor for early substance use, so it’s important to include children in the process by openly discussing what’s happening within the family and asking them to express their thoughts and feelings.

Guardian Recovery offers a robust family therapy program that incorporates family-intensive workshops. Trained professionals provide action-oriented counseling that aims to rebuild healthy family interactions, heal wounds and break co-dependencies. Other topics covered include:

• Understanding substance abuse, dual diagnosis and mental health disorders
• Family roles and restructuring
• Improving relational communication
• Setting healthy boundaries
• Confronting triggers
• Planning for aftercare

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Helping Families Heal
We understand that every client is different and needs to be treated differently. The same goes for families. Guardian counselors take time to understand your family and how addiction has affected each family member.

The critical role families play in addiction recovery can’t be said enough. At Guardian, we help families understand how they can support their loved one during and after treatment. Our primary goal is to restore unity and peace within the family as their loved one continues on the road to recovery.

If you or your loved one is struggling with substance abuse, Guardian Recovery can help. A better life and more united family is just a phone call away. Contact us today at (888) 693-1872.


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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.


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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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