Recovery is a powerful force that can transform families, healing the impacts of a loved one’s drug and alcohol addiction.

It is important to understand that substance use disorder (SUD) affects more than just the person struggling with the disease; it impacts every member of the family. That’s why an important part of recovery includes family members finding the support necessary to help them through their own recovery process. Often, family members find that support with others who have loved ones in treatment and/or recovery. Others may need a deeper level of support and care to help facilitate long term healing and recovery.

Here are five essential keys to healthy family recovery from addiction:

1. Family Treatment

Family members can benefit from their own therapeutic treatment to help repair broken relationships, restore emotional wellness and learn how to support a loved one’s recovery. Family Care programs facilitate the healing of family relationships while offering the necessary support that family members and love ones need during the treatment and recovery journey. These programs can teach family members how to heal from their loved one’s substance use disorder and support their recovery while protecting their own well-being. Family participation and support is essential during a loved one’s treatment and even more important to sustain long-term recovery. 

2. Be Informed

An important first step for families involves eliminating the stigma surrounding the perception of addiction. Substance use disorder (SUD) is a chronic brain disease that requires clinical treatment and supportive care, not a moral failing. When it comes to understanding addiction, many family members still have dangerously misinformed perceptions and fears about loved ones suffering with SUD. Stigma not only puts up barriers for loved ones to be successful in treatment and recovery, it prevents families from healing and from being successful partners in recovery.

3. Seek Support

In addition to understanding that addiction is a medical condition, family members require support to help them through their own recovery process. Often, family members find that support with others who have loved ones in treatment and/or recovery groups such as Al-Anon. Others may need a deeper level of support and care to help facilitate long term healing and recovery through programs like Valley Hope’s family programs. Other options from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) include:

  • Join a local family support group to meet others experiencing similar challenges.
  • Participate in family programs in which education and treatment sessions include loved ones.
  • Attend individual therapy to learn appropriate coping skills.
  • Eat healthy meals and get adequate sleep.
  • Manage stress by engaging in hobbies and getting exercise.
  • Share stories with a virtual recovery community and learn about others who have similar experiences.

Valley Hope offers a variety of services for individuals, couples and families at our residential and outpatient treatment facilities. Individual, family and small group sessions explore emotional responses to addiction and consider positive ways of managing emotions. Interactive lectures help families understand the disease of addiction and learn behaviors that will support their loved one’s recovery.

4. Proactive Support

Once your family member completes treatment, the recovery process truly begins. Long-term recovery is a lifelong journey for your loved one and the family as a whole. Remain energetic in your support of their recovery plans, which can include Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), continuing care, sober living, a 12-Step program and related recovery activities.  Taking an active role in the treatment process and creating a nurturing environment for your loved one when they return home can help speed recovery and reduce the risk of relapse.

Actively engaging in supportive resources and practicing self-care can empower family members to rebuild and renew healthy, loving and supportive relationships with loved ones in recovery. The work loved ones put in to achieve and maintain recovery requires hope, support, ongoing engagement and renewal. Family members, for their own well-being, must also be willing to put in the work to help overcome the pain and broken trust that addiction causes.

At Valley Hope, we have witnessed the devastating impact addiction can take have on families. However, we firmly believe that by embracing patients with compassion, treating them with proven therapies and empowering them with the tools to respect themselves, they can learn to manage their illness and reclaim their lives.

Remember, a life full of hope and health is possible for you, your family and your loved one. People can and do recover from drug and alcohol addiction with a strong support system, tailored treatment program and smart recovery plan.

5. Recovery Resources

Inspired by National Recovery Month, people are aiming to reduce stigma by sharing the power of sobriety through a collection of diverse, inspiring recovery stories. The project, Voices of Hope, chronicles the recovery journeys of Valley Hope alumni, while offering hope and healing to loved ones and families seeking help. Voices of Hope leverages the personal stories of those living in recovery to help educate communities about the disease of addiction, effective treatment and the power of recovery.

Only ten percent of people who need addiction treatment actually receive it and by shining a light on the potential of recovery, communities can eliminate stigma and help more individuals, families and communities find healing.

Visit the Voices of Hope project at valleyhope.org/recovery/recovery-stories to explore recovery stories, addiction information and treatment resources. Valley Hope’s blog provides extensive resources and information for loved ones, families and the recovery community.

Millions of Americans are thriving in recovery.  Valley Hope provides extensive recovery resources to the community and we provide our alumni with a free recovery support system that provides ongoing opportunities that empower your sobriety.

Do you need information on other recovery subjects? If you have a related topic you would like covered, please submit your ideas to communications@valleyhope.org.

If you feel like you need help immediately, the Valley Hope team is available 24/7 at (800) 544-5101.