Coping With a Loved One in Addiction Treatment

April 14, 2014 Lauren Hardy, MA

Having a loved one enter a rehab program for their drug or alcohol addiction can be a difficult time for everyone involved. As a family member, you are likely facing a number of different emotions and may be struggling with some concerns about how effective the addiction treatment program is going to be for your loved one. Additionally, some rehab programs will not allow your loved one to have contact with the outside world during the initial stages of the program. This can be especially hard for family members, however it is essential to helping your loved one or family member concentrate all of his or her energy on getting sober with as few distractions as possible.

Having a loved one enter a rehab program for their drug or alcohol addiction can be a difficult for everyone. Get ideas for family members on how to cope.When your loved one has entered an addiction treatment program, it may be a good time to educate yourself about the disease of addiction and the general addiction treatment process. The more knowledge you have, the better you will be able to understand what your loved one is going through and ways in which you can be more helpful. Additionally, by looking into the different treatment options and learning about the rehabilitation process it may help put your mind at ease about your loved one entering a treatment program.

Treatment Program: Lauren Hardy M.A., writes on the behalf of RiverWoods Behavioral Health System which is a leading inpatient treatment program for adults and seniors looking for quality care for their addiction and mental health problems.

Family Involvement in the Addiction Treatment Process

Once your loved one has become stabilized and is fully engaged in the therapeutic process in their addiction treatment program, family members will be encouraged to become involved in the recovery process. Research has shown that the reduction of drug and alcohol relapse symptoms and behaviors is directly related to social and family involvement during the treatment process. (10 Most Common Dangers That Can Lead to a Alcohol or Drug Relapse) Additionally, family involvement in the recovery process is especially important for a number of different reasons:

  • Family support shows the addict that they have the support of their loved ones, which encourages continued participation in the treatment process.
  • It provides family members and loved ones the opportunity to learn how addiction has affected the family.
  • Family involvement provides treatment counselors the opportunity to gain input and insight from the family while observing how the family interacts.

Family therapy can be especially helpful as it is very common for the loved ones of an addict to have extreme feelings including anger, mistrust, resentment, and fear. Read more.In addition to general family involvement, some rehabilitation facilities provide their patients and loved ones with regularly scheduled family therapy. Family therapy can be especially helpful as it is very common for the loved ones of an addict to have extreme feelings including anger, mistrust, resentment, and fear. (How the Alcohol Addict Affects The Family. How You Can Help) Through therapy sessions, all members of the family will be able to express their emotions about the addiction and surrounding behaviors in a safe, supportive environment. Together the patient and their loved ones can work through potential problems and begin to heal bonds that may have been broken.

I know of many people who had a loved one enter an addiction rehab program; they believe that family sessions were extremely helpful. Having set family therapy sessions allowed them to finally express their feelings about their loved one’s addiction and let them know that their addiction was not only causing them pain, but the whole family was suffering. Additionally, I have heard that without family therapy, they would have no idea how to begin trying to mend the bonds that had been broken within the family dynamic.

Taking Care of Yourself When Caring for an Addict

While it may seem, right now, that all of the focus should be upon supporting your loved one throughout addiction treatment and helping them to stay sober, it is also very important to take care of yourself. Having a loved one who is an addict can be extremely stressful, causing you to experience a rollercoaster of emotions. I have heard that some people find that taking time for themselves can be one of the most difficult things to do because they feel guilty if they don’t think they are doing everything they can to help their loved one get and stay sober. The fact of the matter is, if you don’t take time for yourself, you will eventually burn out and will not be able to help anyone. Here are some things that some people have suggested to me that may help you focus on you:

  • Take some time each week to do something for yourself: read a book, take a bath, go for a run, do something that you enjoy to take your mind off of things for awhile
  • Stop blaming yourself
  • Participate in support groups such as Nar-anon or Al-non
  • Schedule time with a counselor

Those who have loved ones who are struggling with an addiction can become deeply affected by the whole experience. This is why it is important to take the time to relieve some of the stress and step back from the negativity, so that the addiction no longer dominates your thoughts and life.

You can also find Lauren Hardy on Google+.

APA Reference
Hardy, L. (2014, April 14). Coping With a Loved One in Addiction Treatment, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 27 from

Author: Lauren Hardy, MA

Elina Ponting
April, 16 2014 at 1:42 am

Great and a very informative post. Thanks a lot for sharing.

April, 15 2014 at 4:18 am

I read this for my son who cleaned out my bank acct, n i will have no lights, no water, no gas, and afraid I'll be put in jail for bad Debit Card Use and no $ to pay. Yet, I still love him so. I have broken lot of aa rules Im so sick, tired, depressed and burned out. My mother once loving nad kind for 50 years +, ever since my father died acts like she hates my pure guts. Now my son. How the heck do I get her "crazy" self to see my son needs her to read, understand, and at least show up to some kind of family thing? His sister uses my mother's illness and for greed has stolen everything from me using her abused poor child to do it. Mother hides all abuse, lies too, and is obsessed with the two of them. Does not care if my son and I are alive or dead; we'll NOW both of them. Do I get my home preacher involved. One thing she fears is his knowling - yets sits in church smiling but tells me I am disowned if I ever tell her/my preacher what is going on! This "family" is killing me n my son, both. No wonder he turned back to drugs and is siucidal. My husband left me b4 i could even sit up after horrible back surgery n it left me disabled. worked at air force base 10 years b4 becoming an rn and they not take out social security so my ck is a whopping $900 a month. Have paid for home and cant even live here and eat. Been trying get job sice july, took Board certified refresher course for 6 months and still no job! oboma should be impeached for letting healthcare fall apart in this country, amoung the military - he dictates! So many are more and more becomig homeless, jobless, and we are hungry. Family rides by like we don't even live here. I was so loved for 50+ years, my son was her love too and now replaced. Mother only thinks of herself, angel-the liar,abuser, and theif, and my poor grandson who is abused-yet blamed by mother his language and actions are all his fault. It is so insane! got to get my son some well need help, he so thin- annorexia nerosa s/s, along with seere epilepsy he gets no aura from. any advice?

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