Improving Emotional Health within the Family for Positive Recovery



Emotional health is synonymous to wellbeing, which is when an individual is living a life of wholeness and balance. It is not possible to live a life free of problems, but it is possible to bounce back from setbacks and continue to thrive. Good emotional health is the key to overcoming adversity and succeeding in long term recovery.

Emotional Health and Family

Many individuals who grew up around addiction or alcoholism find it difficult to say no to responsibility that doesn’t belong to them. It makes them feel selfish. Individuals from dysfunctional families are usually raised to ignore their own needs and focus on the person struggling with addiction, who is in most cases a parent. This means that they don’t learn to care for themselves in the process.

However, in healthy families, it is the parents who are in charge, and who take care of the children and their needs. This is a healthy system, in which children can thrive. But parents who are struggling with addiction are often not able to provide for their children or give them any guidance and structure, leading the child to assume the emotional role of an adult. These children don’t know what it means to be in an emotionally healthy family and their emotional health suffers.

Steps to Improve Emotional Health

The good news is that individuals can improve their emotional health over time. Here are a few tips to help that take place:

  1. Identifying Roles

The individual must first identify the role they have learned to play in their family. What have they been responsible for? Or who are they responsible for? Are they taking care of someone else? Answering these questions will help the individual to understand where they are currently and how to find their own healthy role in the family moving forward.

  1. Examining Consequences

When an individual takes on responsibilities that aren’t appropriately theirs, then they must understand the consequences of doing so. For example, did the individual have to make dinner for the family as a child because their parent couldn’t? If so, did that mean they didn’t have time to do their homework? Did they have to take on that responsibility because if they hadn’t, no one else would have or could have?

  1. Adapting and Changing

Finally, the individual should act based on who they actually are. This is easier said than done, and is the key to healthy emotional growth. The individual must look at their family structure and where they fit in. If certain things are not their responsibility then they must stop taking those things on. The exception being if that places someone else in physical danger, and even in that case the individual must ask for help.

Emotional health takes work. The benefits of creating and maintaining well being, though, are well worth the effort. Defining and living one’s emotional health leads to positive change and personal growth, a healthy sense of self-confidence, a peaceful sense of healing and recovery from mental health challenges, not to mention a profound sense of hope.


The transitional program at LEAD Recovery Center is designed to help clients grow through each level of treatment until they have developed full autonomy in recovery. For more information, call us today at 1-800-380-0012.