The Discovery House - Family Support

Role of Family in Treatment

When someone seeks help for a drug or alcohol addiction, family members have the potential to play a positive role in that individual’s recovery. Many treatment centers now provide therapy for the entire family, in order to help loved ones understand addiction, rebuild relationships, and be a source of encouragement and support to the person in recovery.


 Family therapy is an important part of the healing process. Because addiction has such a negative impact on family and friends, many relationships have been harmed or severed before treatment takes place. In order to help loved ones forgive the wrongs, heal the conflict, and rebuild relationships, each person that was affected must learn about the disease of addiction and how it has impacted their loved one. Family therapy sessions allow loved ones to meet with a professional that specializes in treating families. Families are encouraged to express their feelings, address past conflict, and work toward healthier interactions in the future.

Family Members Provide Support

When an individual returns home after rehab, family and friends can be an important part of helping them avoid relapse. Families that are supportive, that have an understanding of addiction, and that are prepared to be a positive force in their loved one’s life, can be the most beneficial influence on the person. Families can help the person maintain a substance-free home, help get the person involved in healthy activities, and can provide encouragement when the person is tempted to use.

Of course, there is the potential for family members to hinder the person’s recovery also. Those who are unsupportive, those who continue to bring up past conflict, and those who show signs of co-dependence will likely be part of the reason the individual relapses over and over. Addiction changes family dynamics, and it is necessary for everyone who has been impacted by the addiction to receive some kind of help in order to rebuild the family relationships.


About the Reviewer: Chris Barnes

Chris BarnesChristopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. He is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.

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