Alcoholism Treatment Program: The Role of the Family

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited : DECEMBER 23, 
| 2 Sources

Family involvement can play a pivotal role in helping an alcoholic decide to enroll in an alcoholism treatment program and address his or her addiction. The loving and educated support of family can sometimes make the difference between a life of happy sobriety or further abuse and heartache. It is an important part of an alcohol treatment program.

According to Christian Shire of ChooseHelp, families can do the following to support an alcoholic in recovery.

Get Educated

You can't expect to offer much support without a real understanding of the problem, and the more you learn about alcohol and the disease of alcoholism, the more constructive support you can lend.

You should educate yourself even before the alcoholic achieves sobriety. Al Anon is an excellence family resource offering constructive tools for bettering the problem, as well as tools to help keep the family together, even in the face of continuing abuse.

The alcohol treatment center is another place to learn about the disease and how to best support the recovering addict.

Family Involvement in the Alcoholism Treatment Program

If the alcoholic agrees to enter an alcoholism treatment program, it’s important to find an alcohol treatment center that includes substantial family involvement. Active participation in the rehabilitation process can teach families useful and concrete strategies for offering support.

The therapy can also help unearth any lingering family dynamics that may be contributing to the problem, as well as begin to heal wounds created through the behaviors of alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

Remove Stresses Triggers

Stress can lead to relapse, even among committed and motivated recovering alcoholics. Leaving the alcohol treatment center and returning to the community can itself be stressful. Whatever family members can do to minimize stress and ease the transition into sobriety can make an enormous contribution to the recovery process.

Normal day-to-day life stresses can easily overwhelm a newly sober alcoholic. Recovering alcoholics struggle just to resist the temptations and cravings. When additional stresses are added to the mix, the temptation to drink again may overpower the individual.

By helping with day-to-day chores, including bill paying, lawn and car maintenance, watching children, cleaning house, etc., the transition to sobriety can be a bit easier for the addict.

Extra support and assistance in the short-term can make a marked difference in successful recovery after attending an alcoholism treatment program.

Intervene When Needed

Don’t wait for relapse to occur before taking action. If you see signs of impending relapse, put your foot down and take a stand for the benefit of all involved.

Contact the alcoholic’s addiction therapist and/or healthcare professional and seek advice. You can also contact the alcohol treatment center where your family member first received treatment.

If a relapse does occur, remember that this doesn't necessarily mean the end of recovery. Get the alcoholic into a safe and sober place and concentrate on learning what triggered the slip.

Follow the counsel of the individual’s addiction professional and focus on what can be done to avoid another relapse.

Family Help Can Make a Difference

Loved ones can only do so much for an alcoholic. All the family support in the world won’t change a thing unless the addict equally desires a life of sobriety. Yet, for those who want to transform their lives, a supportive, loving and determined family can make all the difference.

Again, that is why it is best to enter an alcoholism treatment program that includes a strong family component. Having healthy relationships can go a long way towards preventing a relapse. 

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 

I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LPC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More

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