Family members and addiction recovery: Importance, support, and benefits

Addicts are often afraid to include their family in their struggle. A major concern that comes with addiction is the fear of being a burden. Even though an addict may know they have a problem, they believe it is shameful to have a substance abuse problem.

This is one of the main things that delay recovery in addicts. The common cultural view is that addicts are weak or stupid, which is why they are addicted. If you believe you are, it is almost impossible to admit that you are addicted to someone.

And then, on top of that, let’s say you finally admitted that you had a problem with yourself. This does not mean that you are comfortable admitting that you have problems with other people. And it certainly doesn’t mean you’ll feel comfortable getting help from your family in recovery.

But you should take help from your family. Of course, you can get help from anyone, but family is unique. Today, we’ll talk about how and why family is such a resource for addicts.

First to deny a big claim

Before we begin, though, we have to admit something: Not every family will be equally supportive of every addict. Some families have more financial resources than others. Some have more mental energy to spend or give more than others.

But in the end, there are some families that cannot be relied upon. We don’t like to admit it. One of the many problems addicts go through is that they think it’s happening even when it’s not. Bringing it up seems like it might validate that perception.

It’s also important to bring this up when taking risks, however, because trying to rely on family you can’t lean on will eventually hurt you. And it’s important to recognize that.

But most families will want to help

On the flip side of the coin, most families will want to help their loved ones. Even if people aren’t addicted, it’s hard for them to accept it. Overcoming that distrust is one of the greatest signs of maturity. However, this is not an easy thing to do.

The big thing you need to understand to believe in family is the psychology of the family unit. After all, people have been families for thousands of years. But why?

Family psychology

Consider how society is ordered. There are all kinds of rules that society imposes on people that they simply don’t follow. Drugs are a good example—they’re illegal, but most people do them

This is because society can shape itself as it wants, but it can never be strong enough to override human nature. This is the psychological level. People don’t join family units because it’s easy, nor do they do it because it makes them happy.

It’s certainly easier than everyone trying to survive on their own, and it’s likely to make a person happy. But it really comes down to what people want to give and receive emotional certainty. They want to believe that they can make mistakes and be forgiven, and they want the benefits that come with forgiving mistakes.

What a family can do for your recovery

We’re going to break down what your family can do for you into three general categories. A family can do so much for you that it would take too long to go over every single thing.

The three categories are practical help, emotional help and logistical help. But here’s what you need to remember about these three topics: None of them are as intensive as you might think. A family member can do little but help a lot.

Practical help

Of all the ways a family member can help with addiction, this is the most practical and the most intensive. It is, in a way, the simplest. Practical help means just helping you get places and do things. This could mean driving you around or helping you clean up.

What makes it easy is that it does not require any special skills.

emotional support

Meanwhile, emotional support is perhaps the most difficult. There are parts of it that are easy; Most emotional help boils down to being encouraged towards recovery. But family members also need to be patient. Patience is the determining factor in how helpful you are to your emotions.

An important note is that emotional support does not mean “fixing” your emotions. This means giving whatever support they can. But good support also includes good boundaries.

Logistical assistance

Many people ignore it. Logistical support is about gathering knowledge and keeping track of things. Which drug is best for dealing with detox? How do you work during recovery? Where do you go to get away from the environment that enables your addiction?

There are many layers of complexity to addiction and recovery that many addicts cannot navigate even if they want to. Just having that navigational help can be the difference between a difficult recovery and a borderline impossible recovery.


The real thing that separates a family member from a random person is that a family member knew you before you became an addict. Although it’s not universal, many people struggle to see addiction as something other than the addiction that causes them pain.

This can also be true for people whose profession is helping addicts. This is not always a bad thing. Treating an addict like a drug addict is somewhat realistic. But addicts know when they’re being seen that way. And it can legitimize their humanity as humans.

The road to recovery is possible. Click here to learn more before you get started.

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