Fusion Recovery

The Importance of Family Involvement in Addiction Treatment


The impact of addiction goes far beyond a single individual. Like a rock thrown in a still pond, addiction sends ripples through the community, changing many lives in the process. Many people going through recovery are shocked to discover the effects of their behavior on friends and family. After all, when experiencing addiction, one of the most common feelings is a sense of complete isolation and secrecy. The discovery that addictive behavior affects the health and well-being of family members is often a turning point for those beginning their recovery and for their loved ones.

Since addiction impacts entire families, quality recovery programs bring families together during recovery treatment. Research shows that this practice leads to far better outcomes than programs focused on individuals alone. The importance of family involvement in addiction treatment is that it can mean the difference between relapse and long-term success. Fusion Recovery is only one of the few programs in the country that provides comprehensive family treatment for those who are friends or loved ones of those in or out of treatment.

Fusion Recovery Understands the Family Journey

Understanding the roots of an individual's addiction requires deep insight into that person's life experience. Many times, family members are the best source of historical information. Moms offer vivid recollections of the client as a child, and siblings may share some of the secrets they shared during their tumultuous teenage years. This information is invaluable for caregivers in the process of designing a treatment plan.

There is a reason that holidays are a high-stress time for addicts and those in recovery. Lots of family time can bring lots of joy - but it can also increase stress and dredge up old frustrations. Treatment providers can learn a lot about their clients' triggers through observation of the interactions between family members. Family sessions often bring buried conflicts to the surface, where they can be resolved for a more positive future.

Family involvement in addiction treatment is an invaluable part of the process for families. Fusion Recover offers opportunities to deepen and strengthen the support system that clients will rely on long-term. Family members, loved ones and friends can participate in their own independent therapy, groups and recovery activities the entire time their loved one is in treatment for addiction or substance abuse. They may also participate in these activities even if their one isn’t ready or has dropped out of treatment.

Benefits for the Addicted or Substance User

The recovery process is hard work, and it is common for people suffering from addiction to experience an emotional roller coaster. There is no perfect path for anyone entering recovery. Along the way, even the most committed members of recovery programs can struggle to maintain their motivation or relapse. Support from family members is especially critical during these periods, as those in recovery find they are able to push through particularly difficult obstacles for the sake of loved ones, even when they don't have the energy to overcome these obstacles for their own sake. Often, even the most committed loved ones can make these experiences worse because the simply don’t have the tools to properly support the person in treatment. Imagine actually using tools to make one of these experience a more powerful tool of the recovery process!

Many people in recovery find the experience of listening to family members describe the personal impact of addiction to be a life-changing event. Before recovery, many clients believe their behavior only affects themselves. Learning that this behavior creates distress for loved ones can be a turning point in making a full commitment to addiction treatment.

Most important of all, including family members in addiction treatment means a wider circle of support for those in recovery. Again and again, studies have shown that strong support systems dramatically increase the likelihood of long-term recovery. Today is a great day to begin learning how to help your addicted or substance abusing loved one.

Benefits for Family Members

Are tired of laying awake at night in fear? Looking for bottles and pills around the house? Searching rooms, garages, and vehicles for signs of use? People in recovery aren't just changing their own lives. The recovery process influences the entire family, just as addiction does. Involving family members in addiction treatment offers them a chance to work through their own feelings on the situation, sorting out anger and frustration in a therapeutic setting. This ensures a constructive outcome when sharing feelings, instead of more destruction. It allows family members to begin to deal with their fear in healthy ways.

Sharing their feelings is just the beginning when it comes to family members' involvement in addiction treatment. Participation in family therapy, support groups and other activities decreases the sense of isolation, secrecy and helplessness that many feel when a loved one is struggling with addiction. Families have a chance to ask difficult questions in a safe setting, where they can count on truthful answers without judgment. Letting go of secrecy and shame at having a loved one in addiction treatment can transform family relationships.

Family members are often committed to helping loved ones suffering from addiction, but their efforts can be ineffective and counterproductive. In some cases, family members actually make it easier for their loved ones to continue with their addictions. Participation in addiction treatment programming designed for families means opportunities for education. Family members learn more about how to best support their loved ones in ways that will lead to long-term success, breaking patterns of behavior that once made it possible for the behaviors associated with addiction to continue. Learning and obtaining tools like a Narcan recovery kit can often save an addicts life.

Finally, participation in family programming during a loved one's addiction treatment gives all members of the family a chance to talk with healthcare providers about their own concerns and challenges. In some cases, several people suffer from addiction or mental health/behavioral issues, and their involvement in another's treatment leads to seeking treatment for themselves.

Whether a single person in the family struggles with addiction or addiction impacts multiple generations, it is always a family disease. The effects of addiction on loved ones include emotional upheaval, financial strain and broken relationships with family and friends. Even simple steps, such as participation in a family-centered recovery yoga class, Qigong, Mindfulness training, individual therapy, and massage can create and strengthen family bonds while also offering new tools for handling stress.

If your ready to start your journey today, call Fusion Recovery at (408) 484-4740 or email us to

Written by Michael O’Brien, SAP, CATC, CSC


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