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The Effects of Family Members on Addicts’ Recoveries

Family members can impact addicts’ recoveries more than anyone else in their lives. They can act as enablers, interventionists, saboteurs, and helping hands. Their influences can truly make or break addicts’ abilities to seek treatment and get clean. In order to find help and make lasting recoveries, addicts need to understand the roles their families play in their lives. They must identify negative influences to be mitigated, but they must also determine who can help them as they endure the pains and difficulties of drug rehab. The following are the ways in which various family members can impact addicts’ recoveries.

Sober Spouses

Spouses are the most influential figures in most married people’s lives, and addicts are no exception. Sober spouses can often be instrumental in helping addicts seek treatment, and their support is invaluable during the lifelong process of recovery. However, even sober spouses can also have negative influences.

Some husbands and wives act as enablers. They may rationalize on behalf of addicts, and they may even go so far as to procure the drugs themselves. They may also avoid confronting their spouses about their drug problems for fear of verbal conflict or even physical abuse.

Co-Addicted Spouses

Married couples may develop addictions together – or form their relationships around drugs in the first place. In these cases, it can be almost impossible for one party or the other to seek treatment. Even if one spouse does attend clinical rehab, they will often relapse when they return home. A successful recovery typically results in the end of the marriage in these situations.


For adolescent addicts, parents often play the roles of enablers. They may rationalize that their teens will rebel if they set stricter house rules, so they allow drinking and even illegal drug use to continue for extended periods of time.

However, parents can also be crucial to teen addicts’ recoveries. As long as their kids live at home, they can strictly supervise their habits and help them stay sober after they attend treatment. Specialized adolescent rehab clinics can help teens get clean, but long-term sobriety and bright futures depend on good parenting.


Young children may not be able to directly impact their addicted parents’ recoveries, but they can have positive effects. Their presence in the home can give addicts a reason to endure the difficulties of drug rehab and take the necessary steps to stay clean afterwards.

On the other hand, grown children can dramatically affect elderly parents’ addictions. Staying present in their parents’ lives and playing active roles in their rehabilitation processes can make the difference between failed recovery and lasting sobriety for senior addicts.


Addicts’ siblings can affect their recoveries in many of the same ways as close friends. In some cases, siblings will act as enablers along with parents and friends. In other cases, brothers and sisters of addicts may organize family-wide interventions – confrontations which are ultimately responsible for addicts’ decisions to finally seek professional help.

Estranged Families

Unfortunately, many people with drug problems alienate their families during periods of active use. They may permanently sever ties with their closest relatives, leaving them with few people to rely on in their times of need. Thankfully, quality rehab facilities focus on helping their patients form positive friendships and reconnect with estranged relatives when possible.

If someone in your family is struggling with a drug addiction, they need your help and support. Most of all, they need to attend a clinical drug rehab program to receive proven therapies for addiction treatment. Call the number at the top of your screen now for a free, confidential consultation with experts from one of the most successful drug addiction treatment centers in the US. We’re standing by 24 hours per day, and we can help you no matter where you are. All you have to do is make one simple phone call, and you could literally save a life.

About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More