The Role of Family in Addiction Recovery

If there’s one thing our recovery teaches us, it’s that we can’t do it alone. Successful ongoing sobriety requires a comprehensive support system of resources and people to help us establish day-to-day stability and rebuild our lives. There is, perhaps, no more vital component to this support system than family involvement. Our families are the people to whom we look for everyday support as we refine and implement our post-treatment recovery plan, this can include a variety of things, including giving us rides to therapy, acting as our de-factor sponsors during more vulnerable situations, or even offering sympathetic counsel to help us avoid relapse.

Family involvement often starts in patients’ actual treatment program. More and more rehab facilities are correctly recognizing the role of families in the recovery process, and are offering family therapy initiatives to provide patients’ loved ones with education regarding the disease of addiction and their continued role in the recovery process. Addiction affects each family in different ways. Some families are haunted by the disease for decades and through multiple cases, others are taken completely by surprise and find it next to impossible to mobilize and pull themselves together. The reality is that families are often the only thing standing between successful recovery and relapse.

Those of us who have been through the recovery process know all too well that it’s anything but easy to readjust to life after treatment. We have new priorities, a new outlook, new obligations and, hopefully, a new respect for the family around us. It’s important to remember that, in the context of recovery, family is wherever we find it, whether it’s the traditional spouse, parent or sibling dynamic or a group of concerned and devoted friends. The important thing is that we recognize and embrace support whenever and wherever it comes. We can do this, but we can’t do it alone.