family communication issues

Family dynamics can be challenging during recovery from drugs or alcohol. Navigating the myriad emotions of loved ones can feel overwhelming without the right support. Resentment can build towards the person in recovery. There are ways to move beyond resentment and hurt feelings towards healthy levels of communication. Having the right tools in place can aid in the individual’s recovery but also for the family’s recovery as a whole.


Moving Past Resentment

Every family reacts differently to an individual’s recovery. The solution is not a one-size-fits all approach. It comes from open, honest communication and discussion with the person in recovery. All parties must be included for the family and loved one with addiction to feel heard, and safe, exploring feelings which bubble up about the addiction and recovery. Sweeping things under the rug may feel like a good coping mechanism but can lead to undesirable outcomes and less problem-solving than ignoring important feelings and issues which arise. Communication is the key to overcoming resentment where all parties are present and feeling valued for individual contributions to the discussion.



A family may desire to move on from addiction but not know how to do so. Because addiction feels focused on one person’s situation (the individual in recovery), it can feel one-sided. To be effective, communication must involve all members of the family impacted by addiction. Addiction is powerful and impacts the whole family so each person should feel supported individually even as the whole family works towards building positive communication skills. Some of the activities an individual in recovery can do to aid family in the process include:

  • Daily examination of environment
  • Identifying and removing triggers to use drugs or alcohol
  • Addressing personal faults
  • Pursuing meaningful goals
  • Actively seeking positive people to support a drug-free lifestyle


Build a Strong Foundation

An individual in recovery must work through feelings of uneasiness when examining behaviors, past and present. Taking a proactive, intentional approach at life can greatly aid in the therapeutic process. Family members may drink at family functions or a sibling is not comfortable with the individual in recovery. Feelings which may have been suppressed can come to the surface during family therapy which can feel heavy for the individual in recovery to hear and work through. It is important to honor the other family member’s words and feelings, mirror back what is said and work to see from that person’s perspective what it must have felt like.


Family work is challenging but presents opportunities for an individual in recovery to improve communication and build bridges. The important thing is to keep working, building and seeking to keep lines of communication open not only for the person in recovery but the family as a whole.


Hired Power provides resources for families of loved ones with addiction. Call today 800-910-9299 for more information on how we can support your journey.