CEUnits Blog

Rebuilding Family Relationships On The Road to Recovery

March 16th, 2022

Addiction infiltrates families. Relationships with parents, siblings, grandparents, and more, are often damaged. The recovery process is so much harder for people who no longer have the support of their families. 

But the road to recovery can be a way to rebuild familial bonds. And, what better way to rebuild relationships than through the recovery process? It can be the beginning of a new relationship built on mutual respect and trust.

If you work with people in recovery, then here are some tips to share with family members who are ready and able to support their loved ones. 

  • The best thing family members can do is be supportive and helpful. This doesn’t mean being a pushover but doing what they can to support recovery. This might mean driving them to appointments. It might mean helping them to create a schedule for medication. It might mean sharing online meetups, helping to build and create a network of support. Nobody should force anyone to do anything they don’t want to. But if a family member/friend asks for support in the recovery process, it’s important to let them know they have it. It makes the road to recovery much less daunting. It helps them to know they don’t have to do this alone. 
  • Encourage family members to engage with the therapeutic process of recovery. Say hello to family members when they drop off and collect their relation at therapy. Demystify the therapeutic process. You can encourage your client to recruit the support of different family members. You might even invite family members to some sessions, depending on the modality you’re using. 
  • Often, people seeking recovery will try lots of different treatments. Not all of them are going to work. But that doesn’t mean people should be discouraged from trying! Encouraging support is a beautiful way to rebuild relationships. It will help the person in recovery to believe that they can keep trying different options, knowing they will be supported even if it doesn’t work out. 
  • Many situations can be triggering for people in recovery. Being sensitive to their unique needs will help them to stay in control. Family members should avoid inviting the person in recovery to situations where alcohol or drugs are present. Especially during the early stages of recovery. At the same time, it’s important for people to feel safe, capable, and in control around alcohol. Family gatherings can support this, at the right time. Celebrating (soberly) with family who may be drinking can be empowering for people in recovery when they are ready. 
  • Have your client discuss their stress triggers with their family. This will help the family to identify when the person in recovery may be dealing with extra pressure, so they can offer more support. This support might mean making it clear that they’re available if the person needs them. Or, it might be a more active intervention to help manage the stressor. This will help your client feel resourced and may help prevent a relapse.

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