How Family Communication Issues Affect Recovery



Addiction is often referred to as a family disease for a good reason. One individual’s addiction affects not only them but also the people around them, most notably their family. Loved ones of individuals with addiction can carry resentment towards them. They may feel constrained or judged despite not having a problem with drugs or alcohol. So what can help the family as a unit?


There is no single answer to what a family can do to get past resentment, but the first step every time must be an open and honest discussion with the individual in recovery from addiction. Nothing should remain unspoken, or the discussion won’t yield the desired results. The fact is that many families struggle with communication and not talking about problems is one of the most significant reasons for resentment.

The Importance of Communication

It is ironic, but once the family starts communicating, they may find that the discussions that directly address the individual’s addiction and recovery will be the most effective. This type of open dialogue can bring the family closer together as a group, because addiction is very powerful and impacts everyone. Talking about it will force the family to look at themselves honestly at a unit as well as individually.

The individual in recovery especially might turn out to be the most helpful part of the process, because he or she is actively working on staying sober. Through treatment and recovery, the recovering addict has learned how to sustain his or her sobriety, and partly thanks to a mix of interpersonal activities, including:

  • Examining their environment daily
  • Identifying and removing triggers
  • Addressing personal faults
  • Pursuing goals
  • Forming new relationships with other sober people

The individual in recovery has worked through a lot of feelings and discomfort to reach where they are in sobriety and this kind of proactive approach can also help the family.

Ultimately, it is hard to have honest and open communication as a family. It can put pressure on a fragile family system. But it is an opportunity for improving communication between the family as well as an opportunity for each member of the family to discover something about themselves.



LEAD Recovery Center is a dual diagnosis treatment center offering transitional treatment to take clients to the next level of their recovery. From adventure therapy to leadership and life coaching, our program creates leaders and autonomous individuals living happy and healthy lives. For more information, call 1-800-380-0012.