The addictive behavior of addicts tends to affect the people around them including, most notably, their families. So what is the appropriate response to an addiction in the family? What should a family do to improve the odds of the addict’s recovery, while maintaining the family unit? Education is crucial, because the family must understand the recovery process and the challenges that they and their loved one will face.

As an addict begins recovery, the family can be an important part of the process – for good or bad. Family members must work on their own physical and emotional health, in order to successfully support the recovering addict. Each person should put the primary focus on themselves. It is often just as easy to get obsessed with the recovery of an addict as it was to obsess with the use when s/he was using. Constantly looking for clues of relapse, and waiting for the addict to screw up again, will only harm the recovery. While it’s true that trust is earned, we can easily push the addict back into old patterns of addictive behavior if we’re still clinging to resentment and inflicting punishment for past mistakes. Often counseling for the entire family is useful so that everyone involved in the addict’s recovery understands their appropriate role.

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