9 Tips to Help Family Members of Addicts Cope

9 Tips to Help Family Members of Addicts Cope

Families are a huge part in the recovery of an addict. But as much as they are rooting for the addict, the loved ones also need to take time for themselves.

Many questions arise for the loved ones of someone struggling with an addiction. How to you deal with the addict? How can I find support groups of families of addicts?  Can I help the parents?

These questions allow some resolution for family members and friends. But they still need to take care of their own health.

Here are nine tips that can help families cope with an addict.

Learn about addiction

Every day, research teams learn more about how different substances interact with the cells inside the brain.

Knowing that boosts a family’s sense of hope. With each fact families learn and become more confident that the addiction can be treated and conquered.

Education also decreases the chances of the family playing the blame game. Instead of thinking that the person’s addiction is a result of being weak, stubborn, or unwilful, they may learn how addictions stem from deeper mental, physical, and emotional issues.

Connect with others

An addiction in a close relative can be a stressful life situation that persists for years. This long-term dysfunction makes it hard for families to communicate clearly. On top of that, there is a lot of mistrust between each member touched by addiction.

Connecting with other people who have gone through a similar situation helps. Treatment programs such as our Group Family workshops provide a safe, nonjudgmental space for people to use in order to learn, discuss, and overcome an addiction.

Go to Family Therapy

Spouses, siblings, and parents of addicts often absorb many of the consequences of a life altering addiction. Most times families become distant and are unable to talk openly about the issue harming them, resulting in them not talking about much of anything. Family members start to blame themselves because the addiction is still active, even though they want it to stop.

Usually, families don’t have the tools to assist someone in active recovery, nor do they have the energy to help themselves.

Family therapy breaks down distrust, guilt, and stress. The anger and addiction that fueled the family transform into close, well-equipped units of support.  Family therapy takes time; however, the work is vital to everyone’s health. Learn more about our group family therapy sessions here.

Cook and eat together

While schedules can get tight and chaotic when families are dealing with addiction-related appointments, a family meal gets the family reconnected at the end of the day. The ritual of eating together is soothing and builds upon the work done in family therapy.

Manage expectations

Once an addict is in treatment and the family begins to heal themselves, the sense of hope becomes overwhelming. However, it takes time for changes and patterns linked to addiction to really change. The slow shift causes disappointment.

For example, holidays can be full of fights because a family may not be ready to accept an addict back into a celebration with open arms.

Recovery is a lifetime long process and it can come with pitfalls.

Stay in touch with personal joy

Every member of a recovering family needs to take time to do something relaxing and fulfilling. They should participate in actives that make them feel happy. Hobbies preserve a sense of efficacy and worth, all while boosting mental health.


Exercise reduces stress and depression. Stretching prompts the brain to release pleasure chemicals, while more intense exercises help families vent since their energy is shifted from being angry at each other to focusing on staying fit.

Schedule private therapy sessions

Addictions cause deep rifts and wounds in everyone that can only be healed by therapy. Meeting with a counselor individually allows people to overcome and understand their personal issues or struggles.

Private therapy typically follows a skills-based format where caregivers learn more about how to deal with destructive thoughts and habits develops over the duration of addictive behavior, which results in a family member being able to help themselves and others.

Educate and advocate

Stress and depression stems from many different sources. Family members feel attacked by friends, coworkers, and distant relatives due to the stigma surrounding addictions. It’s hard to stay positive with terms and gossip that is demeaning but advocating on behalf of addiction is brave and health-affirming. Rather than staying silent and fuming, families who speak up are doing something to make things better, change conversations, and create a strong bond.

If you are in need of some counselling, contact us today.

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