What You Need to Know

About Families and Substance Use Disorder

We acknowledge and honour the experiences of family members, friends, colleagues, and all those impacted by addiction.

1. Since families are complex social systems where all members interact physically, mentally, and emotionally to influence each other’s behaviour…

2. It means family members are part of the system of care whether they engage in the recovery process or not.

3. This means that those closest to people with substance use disorder will act as either a barrier or a resource to the individual’s overall recovery which can impact their participation in treatment and the outcomes.

4. When wrapped in support and guidance, families have a greater capacity to effect lasting change than professional intervention alone.

5. This saves lives as the change process can begin right away and no longer depends on the choices made by those whose ability to make decisions is currently impaired.

6. When trauma becomes chronic, as we see with addiction, family members often forfeit their own values, needs, emotional experiences and guiding principles in an attempt to maintain balance.

7. This approach is known as survival mode. These prolonged periods of neglect strip us of our sense of self, significantly diminish our self-worth, promote deep exhaustion and burnout, and contribute to stress-related disorders that leave us debilitated in almost all aspects of our lives.

When we understand addiction as an illness and our automatic response a coping strategy; we begin to adjust our own behaviours to break down the systems that allow the illness to progress while at the same time re-establishing and nurturing our sense of self. These changes cause a ripple effect that becomes the foundation for future generations.

Frequently Asked Questions

All of your questions are important to us. Please be welcomed to contact us directly for more information.

FamiliesFIRST Program

Developed by a team with over 5 decades of combined experience in addictions, trauma, and family systems.

About Substance Use Disorder

Witnessing active substance use disorder affects the entire family but so can recovery. Let us show you how.

We Want You to Know You're Not Alone.

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Healing from the trauma of witnessing active addiction requires support. We can't do this alone.