Family Therapy & The Role of Family in Addiction Recovery


Substance abuse and addiction can severely impact family dynamics, erode trust, and weaken communication. Family members who experience a loved one battling with a substance use disorder often endure a plethora of painful emotions. Equally frustrating is the hopelessness loved ones feel in response to substance abuse. Family members may feel at a loss when seeing a loved one caught in the grips of substance abuse.

However, family therapy can help a loved one achieve and maintain sobriety. Despite seeing a loved one struggle, family members can and ideally do play a major role in the treatment process. The role of family in addiction recovery is large and important.

Pinnacle Recovery’s Family Approach


Families are a critical part of the healing process for our clients. Substance use and addictions inevitably put a large strain on relationships between the client and their family, friends, and coworkers. Our family program includes family and relationship therapy, and teaches skills such as assertive communication, how to create and hold boundaries, as well provide a safe space for our clients and their loved ones to process and work together to create healthier dynamics.

We offer family weekends, which occur every other weekend. During these family weekends, clients and their loved ones participate in both group and individual therapy sessions with their clinician. During these therapy sessions family members or loved ones learn how to assume healthy roles and behaviors to encourage and support recovery. For example, a parent may play the role of the supportive but firm parent who encourages their loved one to take thoughtful and positive action. Healthy family roles and behaviors include holding their loved one accountable for their behavior and creating rewards for positive choices.

Family Therapy Addiction Recovery


Family Therapy sessions occur once a week, typically by phone or ZOOM. These sessions and calls are based solely on the individuals treatment plans and goals and the client will have signed a release of information for them to occur. Family sessions and family weekends are designed to facilitate resolution of past problems, identify both the healthy and unhealthy family dynamics and establish new boundaries and patterns in order to support the client in recovery and relapse prevention.

Our trained clinicians provide action-oriented therapy that aims to rebuild healthy family interactions, heal wounds and break co-dependencies. Other in family therapy topics covered include:


  • Understanding substance abuse, dual diagnosis and mental health disorders

  • Family roles and restructuring

  • Improving relational communication

  • Setting healthy boundaries

  • Confronting triggers

  • Planning for discharge/aftercare

Impact of Substance Abuse on Families


The effect of substance abuse varies based on family structure. Alcohol and drug abusing behaviors have an impact on family dynamics in several ways. That is why family therapy can benefit many families. 


  • Negative emotions – A result of substance abuse for family members could possibly cause negative experiences; emotions such as anger, resentment, anxiety, concern, guilt, and embarrassment.

  • Safety – At times the safety of other family members may be put at risk by a person’s substance abuse. 

  • Responsibilities – There could potentially be family members that inherit too many responsibilities or responsibilities that are not age-appropriate. Which may make children or spouses feel overwhelmed, anxious and resentful.

  • Communication – When a family member is abusing drugs, communication within the family unit is often negative and positive interaction is very limited. 

  • Structure and boundaries – Homes in which substance abuse exists often have a lack of structure with minimal parental involvement and loosely existing or non-existent boundaries. This results in confusion for children and negative/inappropriate behaviors. Parents and siblings may also adopt enabling behaviors that contribute to their loved one’s substance abuse.

  • Denial –At times when a child has a substance abuse problem, parents will deny that there is an issue. This may be because they don’t want to face the problem or they simply cannot see it clearly.

  • Relationships – Substance abuse can create damaged relationships that can continue on through generations through negative behavioral modeling.

Rebuilding Healthy Families


We understand that every client is different and needs to be treated differently. The same goes for families. The clinicians at Pinnacle Recovery take time to understand your family and how addiction has affected each family member.

The critical role families play in addiction recovery can’t be said enough. At Pinnacle Recovery, we help families understand how they can support their loved one during and after inpatient treatment. Our primary goal is to restore unity and peace within the family as their loved one continues on the road to recovery.

If you or your loved one is struggling with substance abuse, Pinnacle Recovery can help. A better life and more unified family is just a phone call away. Contact us today!


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