Substance abuse and addiction recovery affect more than just the person experiencing it. Whether you abuse illegal drugs like heroin, prescription drugs like Ativan, or alcohol, your actions will directly impact the lives of everyone in your family unit.

Similarly, overcoming addiction is often a united effort. Whether you are the one seeking help or you are simply trying to support your loved one’s recovery, understanding the importance of family during addiction recovery is vital to the success of your or your family member’s substance abuse treatment.

The Familial Roles

Having a loved one suffering from a substance use disorder is never easy. The shock, stress, and anxiety it creates may lead to many family members falling into roles that help them cope or help them feel more in control of the situation. Even after your loved one seeks treatment, the characteristics of these roles may continue to manifest themselves in family members throughout the recovery process.

The Hero

The Hero feels a deep sense of responsibility toward the person with the addiction problem and may feel obligated to care for them and influence the way their addiction is seen by the rest of the family.

The Mascot

The Mascot will routinely try to lighten the mood, minimize the seriousness of the situation, or deflect the emotional trauma caused by the person suffering from addiction as a coping mechanism.

The Lost Child

Faced with the shock of learning one of the members of the family has an addiction problem, the Lost Child will do everything in their power to avoid conflict and suppress their emotions, often isolating themselves from the rest of the family.

The Scapegoat

The Scapegoat may feel a responsibility toward the person abusing drugs or alcohol and, as a result, will try to draw attention away from them by developing other negative behaviors.

The Enabler

The Enabler in the family will often excuse the behavior of the loved one suffering from substance abuse by running interference while preventing the substance user from experiencing the consequences of their choices and actions.

What You Can Do

If you are struggling with addiction, getting your family involved in your recovery can make a genuine impact on your mental health, dedication to addiction treatment, and optimism. Start by being open and honest about your addiction and your desire to get treatment with a close, trusted family member.

As your confidence builds, you can then look at talking to your family as a group and getting them involved in the recovery process.

Being Informed

If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, it’s important to educate yourself on the particular substance they are abusing, its effects, the process of withdrawal from it, and how to support them in recovery. Fortunately, there are many resources available online to help you learn more about coping with addiction and how you can help without enabling their substance abuse further.

The Dos and Don’ts

For the Substance User

Getting family involved in your addiction recovery is an important step in maintaining sobriety and successfully ending your substance abuse.

Some of the helpful dos and don’ts of involving your family in your recovery journey are:


  • Admit you have a problem.
  • Talk to your family about what you are feeling, your concerns, and your worries.
  • Ask them to assist you in joining a substance abuse treatment program.
  • Identify and take the steps to change codependent behaviors.
  • Ask them to join a support group for family members of individuals struggling with addiction.


  • Make promises you can’t keep.
  • Lie about your whereabouts.
  • Surround yourself with friends or family members who are bad influences.
  • Deny your addiction if a family member asks.
  • Blame your family for your substance abuse.

For Family Members

Balancing your support for your loved one with maintaining your mental health can be tricky. Some of the dos and don’ts to help you stay positive and healthy while helping your family member get treatment and enter recovery include:


  • Suggest a treatment center or program once your loved one is ready.
  • Learn more about addiction and what your loved one may be going through in treatment and withdrawal.
  • Encourage your loved one to stick to their treatment plan and attend the relevant group meetings.
  • Engage in open and honest conversation that’s free from judgment or blame.
  • Join a support group for families of people with addiction.
  • Create healthy boundaries.


  • Give your loved one money.
  • Cover for them or help them avoid the consequences of their actions.
  • Excuse their negative behavior.
  • Blame yourself or other family members for their substance abuse.
  • Try to force them into a treatment facility.

The Secret to Long-Term Success


Seeking addiction treatment with your family’s support is the secret to long-term sobriety and recovery. One way to ensure healthy family involvement is by choosing a treatment facility that offers family counseling or family therapy sessions and understands how family dynamics are affected by addiction.

How One Touch Recovery Center Can Help

If you or a loved one are looking for a rehab center in Pomona, CA, One Touch Recovery offers a variety of treatment modalities, including non-12-step rehab programs that focus on positive family involvement. Contact One Touch Recovery today and see how we can help you overcome your addiction today!

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One Touch Recovery © 2023 All rights reserved.
One Touch Recovery © 2023 All rights reserved.
One Touch Recovery © 2023 All rights reserved.