The Role of Family in an Addict’s Recovery

Impact of Addiction

Like a pinball, addiction violently strikes the addict as well as everyone around him. The disease touches friends, neighbors, coworkers, and, especially, families – impacting them emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually. At MFI, we understand and appreciate the myriad ways addiction affects an addict’s family. So, we treat the entire unit rather than the client, alone.

Family TherapyFamily Role in Addiction Recovery Mt Rubidoux

After detox treatment, most MFI clients begin a program that includes weekly therapy sessions with family members, led by a trained counselor. In fact, family are allowed to visit only if they attend group therapy. Counselor Beth Wright, Marriage & Family Therapist Associate (MFTA), who has been with MFI since 2007, explains the rationale:

“Addiction hits every single person in the family…mom, dad, wife, husband, kids – and hits them all in different ways. Each one reacts differently, be it with anger, guilt, sadness, or depression. We work with family members to reassure them that they are not crazy. And we make sure they understand that addiction is a disease that they did not cause and cannot fix.”

Family Addiction Recovery Riverside MFIBy the time the MFI team meets with an addict and her family members, the damage is often extensive. The staff at Mt Rubidoux encourages family members to take care of themselves while their loved one is in treatment. Self-care is a huge issue because many family members put all of their energy into the addict, neglecting themselves in the process.

“One of the hallmarks of our care is psychoeducation, because things like co-dependency and dysfunction are common in families that have addiction,” Beth explains. “We teach family members about the importance of setting boundaries and establishing consequences for their loved ones.”Consequences Family Addiction Mt Rubidoux.jpg

One of the ways MFI counselors help families is by explaining typical stages of recovery:

Day 1-15: The addict detoxes, often feeling acute symptoms. At this stage, sleep and appetite are erratic. They often feel agitated, sick and frustrated, with or without medication-assisted treatment.

Detox MFI Mt RubidouxDays 16-45: The Pink Cloud, aka the Honeymoon Phase. At this point, most begin to feel strong. They are able to sleep and eat and attend therapy sessions. In the pink cloud, some may start feeling over-confident.

Day 46-90: Many hit The Wall. People in this stage run the risk of growing complacent, disenchanted with their new routine of meetings and treatment. Some start to bargain, wondering if they can “get away” with just one drink.

Understanding these common stages reassures family members that what their loved one is experiencing is “normal.” And that is a great comfort when they find themselves in unfamiliar territory.

Group TherapyRecovery Help

In addition to running therapy groups and offering one-on-one counseling, education and support, MFI staff work in partnership with outside services such as 12-Step programs, encouraging patients and their families to continue meeting in group settings after completing their formal rehabilitation. Organizations such as Al-Anon equip family members for the changes they often see in their loved one after program completion.

“Sending someone to treatment doesn’t ‘fix’ them,” says Beth. “Recovery is a life-long event. Individuals who attend family sessions and visit are better prepared to react in a more positive way during and after care.”

Addiction Recovery Rewards RiversideBeth describes her job as fascinating, “I love watching people grow into their potential. Between the time they arrive for detox and after they successfully go through treatment, we see an entirely new person emerge. Some reclaim custody of their children, others have worked to restore their marriages. And all are happy to return to share their stories. It’s an honor to be part of those journeys.”

About MFI RecoveryMFI Logo

Throughout ten facilities in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, we employ the Matrix Model for each individual client, creating a personalized treatment program. Various modalities can include behavior modification, 12-step recovery program introduction, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family systems techniques, including the family in group therapy. Treatment options include outpatient and inpatient detox, medication management (if appropriate), group therapy, individual therapy, relapse prevention education, and ongoing support after treatment.

About Mt Rubidoux


MFI Mt Rubidoux CourtyardOur treatment center provides services to people who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse. Located in the shadow of Mt. Rubidoux in the City of Riverside, we provide structured and supportive addiction treatment in semi-private, comfortable apartment-style setting. Monitored by professional addiction specialists 24 hours a day, our modern apartments offer a haven for healing during the rehab process. Living and recovering in our Mt. Rubidoux residential treatment facility means becoming healthy again. Our clients receive intensive treatment and learn new, healthy strategies to sustain recovery. To find out more, call today 866-218-4697, or for non-admission related information, contact us at 951-683-6596.

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