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Family is an integral part of the recovery process. Loved ones can be the motivating factor behind someone going to recovery for an addiction to drugs or alcohol in the first place. They can also be a constant swell of support from detox to outpatient care. However, to establish this much-needed familial support, families and those suffering from addiction first need to learn how to communicate with each other. Families trying to help and understand a loved one suffering from addiction can feel as if they don’t have a voice or are being met with a wall in their efforts. Approaching a loved one suffering from addiction is very important in addressing the feeling of support that a loved one may need. Recovery requires someone to address many of their issues and stressors from multiple angles – professionally and on an intimate, familial front. 

Talking about Addiction

Even beginning a conversation about addiction with a loved one can be incredibly difficult. It is a very fragile topic. Those suffering from addiction will commonly meet the conversation with anger or put up a barrier around themselves to avoid confronting the issue. However, that doesn’t mean that the conversation can remain unaddressed. Talking about addiction is essential, but holding the fragile conversation together and establishing a unified front against someone’s usage of drugs or alcohol alongside the person in question is paramount. Too often are conversations about addiction conducted in the heat of the moment, with anger or resentment being on full display. Talking about addiction needs to be a conversation first and foremost, and that means allowing every member of the family to speak. Addressing these difficult and fragile circumstances without allowing each person a voice can only accentuate differences of opinion. This confrontational approach can hinder the chances that someone seeks the help they may need for their addiction or problematic relationship with drugs or alcohol. 

Hosting a Conversation

To help prevent conversations about one’s use of drugs or alcohol from being dictated by emotional turmoil or anger, schedule a time to set aside for all members to be present. This will give each member of the family a chance to work through their own emotions and approach the conversation with a calm mind and genuine care for the others involved. Likewise, it can give those who may be suffering from addiction a chance to address the topic, rather than feel blindsided and thus inherently defensive. Conversations about addiction and familial concerns need to be conversations, and this means giving each person a fair and equal voice when addressing fragile subjects. 

Conversations Dictated by Questions

When addressing addiction, it is vital to approach with questions, rather than accusations. This is a supportive approach and allows those being questioned a chance to voice their side of things. If someone approaches a conversation about addiction with anger and accusations, an addicted person is less likely to be open and honest. It is more likely that they will take a defensive stance and be willing to say anything to get the conversation to end. Questioning, and being open to the answers given, can help create a relationship based on trust. This plan of action can form the family unit into an essential support system. 

Stick to the Evidence

Those who suffer from an addiction will often exhibit symptoms of their dangerous usage before they are caught in the act of using drugs or irresponsibly drinking. To continue suppressing accusations, it is essential to use objective evidence of the effects of someone’s use of drugs or alcohol to outline its exact impact on a situation. Making wild accusations and assumptions will not lead to a genuine conversation. Alternatively, describing the evidence that pointed towards one’s drinking and outlining the other effects, such as slurred speech, can paint a clear picture of substance abuse’s impact. There are many effects that addiction can have on someone, both when they are using and in their daily lives. These different aspects also need to be discussed in an objective, honest way that avoids accusations as the motivating part of the conversation. 

Throughout each part of reaching out to someone suffering from addiction, they need to have a voice themselves. They need the opportunity to speak on an equal level and feel just as heard. Establishing this open conversation is essential to help someone be more honest with themselves and establish a unified front in addressing addiction rather than creating an antagonistic atmosphere. Unified fronts between those in recovery, professionals, and their families can help increase the chances that someone continues through the recovery process and retains their sobriety going forward. 


Recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol may feel like an isolating experience, but successful recovery is never gone at alone. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction or problematic relationship with drugs or alcohol, Lighthouse Recovery can help you and your family. Located in Dallas, Texas, we provide a comfortable atmosphere for each person to address their own recovery path. From intensive outpatient care to sober living, each program can be modified to fit you and your particular needs and goals in recovery. The caring professionals can help instill the skills most pertinent to you for your ongoing recovery and prolonged sobriety.