What is the Family Role in Addiction Recovery?

Managing an addiction can be challenging and often overwhelming for the person with it. Family members can ease addiction management or assume unhelpful roles. A family’s role in the recovery process of the person with addiction is crucial to the health outcomes. Research shows that families are usually affected adversely by relatives living with addiction. While this report shows that family can be impacted negatively, there are also beneficial family roles in substance abuse that can be adopted. In this article, you will learn the roles of family members in addiction and their unique characteristics. You will also learn how to get family-centered care for addiction recovery.

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Negative Family Roles in Addiction Recovery

The impact of addiction on the family is not always straightforward; the family role in recovery process varies as individual members take up different functions, which is usually an adjustive mechanism. Some of the unhelpful roles include:

The Mascot

The mascot describes a member of the family who would prefer to use humor, jokes, and sarcasm to divert the attention of others from the situation in the family. This is not usually a helpful family role in addiction recovery, as the mascot may shy from addressing the challenges. They’d instead divert attention from reality with their sense of humor.

The Scapegoat

The scapegoat bears the blame for many of the problems in the family and often gets the family’s attention diverted from the relative living with addiction by doing wrong. While the diversion from the person with addiction might seem helpful, this is one of the unhelpful roles of family members in addiction.

The Savior or Hero

This term describes the family member who tries to bear all the burdens of the problems in the family. They are usually trying so hard to compensate for all the adverse impacts of the addiction on the family. This role appears to be the most beneficial of all the possible family roles in substance abuse. However, there are also disadvantages, as they often deny the reality of the challenge of keeping things running. This can quickly become an unhealthy family role in addiction recovery; it also takes a toll on the family member who assumes the role.

The Lost Child

The lost child describes the family role in the recovery process that the relative who tries to suppress their emotions adopt. The lost child is the one who sees the challenges and, rather than confront them or raise them with other members of the family, suffers silently.

The Enabler or Rescuer

The enabler or rescuer describes a family role in the recovery process that involves making up for the mistakes and the indulgences of the relative living with addiction. This family member tries to prevent the person with addiction from the effects of their actions. This role can harm the person with the addiction as they may fail to take responsibility for their actions.

Helpful Roles of Family Members in Addiction Recovery

To help the recovery process of the person with addiction, relatives can take on healthy roles to support their loved one living with addiction. Some of the beneficial family roles in substance abuse include:

Facilitating Accountability

As a relative of a loved one living with addiction, a significant helpful family role in addiction recovery is helping the person living with addiction become more accountable. As much as you show love and support to a loved one living with addiction, you must also be firm in keeping them accountable. Holding them accountable helps them in their addiction recovery.

Ensuring Treatment Adherence

Another way that relatives can also help a loved one living with addiction is by assisting them to adhere to their treatment routines. This also includes helping them keep appointment visits. This is another helpful family role in addiction recovery.

Support and Advocacy

As a relative of a loved one with addiction, one of the roles of family members in addiction that is vital for recovery is supporting and advocacy. You can express your support by being available for their treatment sessions and helping them procure medications. Advocacy can include advocating for the rights of your loved one in cases where they may be marginalized.

Intervention in Crises Situations

Family members can play a significant role by being available during crises. Some of these roles include being ready to provide aid when needs arise and seeking help from health professionals when a situation develops.

Getting Family-Centered Care for Addiction Recovery

The attitude and role that other family members adopt during the care of a family member living with addiction determine, to a large extent, their recovery process. In caring for a person living with addiction, there is a need for a comprehensive treatment program that cuts across their family members. Helpful family involvement in care improves the treatment outcomes for a person with addiction.

At Pacific Palms Recovery, we offer comprehensive, family-centered treatment programs to help manage addiction. Our treatment programs include intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, and relapse prevention programs. If you have a loved one with addiction, contact us today to access our treatment programs and help them optimize their well-being.