A chain is as strong as its weakest link. This proverb is an apt metaphor for when a member of the family is misusing drugs &/or alcohol. Conventional wisdom says getting treatment for that family member will solve the problem. While that is a necessary step it ignores the fact that their issues spill over on to the entire family which can send the rest of the chain into turmoil.

The effects of substance misuse in the family can be devastating, creating an atmosphere of guilt, shame and blame. This can cause a lot of anger and resentment within the family. Exhausted from all the work and effort that’s going into helping the weakest link, the family may lose the ability to communicate. This can result in missed cues as to what the individual family members need to support their emotional health and well being.

Recovery isn’t just for substance misuse, it’s also essential for the residual harm it causes to the loved ones caught in its web. Dynamics shift, power struggles may ensue and there can be a lot of hurt feelings all the way around. That’s why it’s so vital that while you are supporting the substance misuse recovery of one member you have a plan to support the emotional recovery of the other family members.

Engaging a Recovery Coach, a therapist or other qualified professional is a good first step. Meeting as a family or one-on-one, these individuals can help work through the pain that arises when the family members have to confront their feelings about the substance misuse of one of their own. Taking advantage of support groups like Al-Anon, Alateen, Smart Recovery Friends and Family can give family members a place to feel they’re not alone in their effort to understand and heal.

Coming together as a family can create a healing environment. Something as simple as having regular dinners together gives you the opportunity to reconnect and share about how everyone’s feeling and how you can support each other. Put an emphasis on doing things together like movie night, a walk around the neighborhood or going to the gym. These seemingly simple activities can go a long way toward reconnecting and restoring the family.

The upheaval of family life as you know it can be one of the most jarring experiences you’ll ever encounter. It’s a rough road to travel. Having a plan for family recovery in place will make it an easier trip. See it as an opportunity for your family to look forward and create positive change. Before you realize it, your family may be stronger than you ever thought it could be.


If you, someone you know or someone you work with needs support for themselves and their family, The Recovery Coach NY provides Family and Individual Coaching, Companions & Transport Services, Intervention and emergency services. For more information and additional services, go to our website:


The Recovery Coach NY has years of experience and a vast array of resources that can help those in need find the path to the life they deserve, filled with joy and purpose. We come with an empathetic ear and solution-oriented actions that can begin to bring the relief you and your loved one seek.

You can reach out to Cindy Feinberg, President of The Recovery Coach NY via:

Phone or text: 631-921-4085

Email: recoverycoachcindy@gmail.com

Through her website: www.therecoverycoachny.com


Follow Cindy on Instagram: www.instagram.com/therecoverycoachny