Why You Need a Family Recovery Program 

When your son decides to get sober and make meaningful changes in his life, the process can be as stressful as it is exciting and a big relief. There are so many options for treatment and different approaches, all promising the best outcome for your child. How can you know what will work best? Here are some things to keep in mind:

Individual Recovery vs. Family Recovery: What’s the Difference?

Individual recovery programs and family recovery programs share many similarities. Both programs aim to provide substance use disorder treatment and will likely offer medical detox assistance, provide constant care and supervision for your child, and connect your child to mental health resources such as scheduled drug testing, psychiatrists, and individual and group counseling.

The most significant difference between individual recovery programs and family recovery programs is the scope of treatment and who receives services. In individual recovery, your child will be on their own to sort through their triggers, rebuild their confidence, and focus on the elements of their sobriety that they can control. These programs can help individuals determine a clear path forward for themselves while they overcome addiction. Individual recovery may better benefit adults in their 30s and 40s who still have familial connections but are less reliant upon family support and structure. Since they likely have some familiarity with responsibilities and obligations, they may be better able to practice their new sobriety skills on their own.

Family recovery programs are different because they involve a child’s entire family system in the treatment. The levels of family involvement range by program, as some programs will hold off family engagement until after their son has gone through the majority of the recovery programming, while others will have integrated recovery processes from the very first day of the program. These types of programs are best for teenagers and young adults who struggle with substance use disorder but may still rely on family structure and family recovery support.

Still, why should you choose family recovery programs over individual treatment? There are a number of reasons, including: 

Benefits of Family Recovery Programs


Integrating family support can be a major factor in the long-term success of someone’s sobriety journey. Active addiction can be isolating in many ways and cause tremendous feelings of shame and loneliness. For example, when a parent follows through on boundaries, it may be uncomfortable for everyone involved. Families may feel a disconnect from one another following an argument. Things can quickly become emotional. Working together as a family unit can begin to rebuild teamwork and familial warmth. 

A family program will also acknowledge that the addicted person will need support beyond themselves to maintain sobriety and build their new life. During individual recovery, the burden is on the person in treatment to keep all of their appointments, manage their medications, and keep themselves healthy and ready to choose sobriety every day. For those not used to such significant responsibilities, this can be overwhelming. In some cases, it can seem like a mountain of demands that become a barrier to maintaining sobriety. 

In a family recovery program, however, the family is able to work as a unit to keep accountability. At New Life House, parents and families are regularly involved and updated on their son’s progress. We think this is an extremely important part of the recovery process, as families often contribute directly or indirectly to their son’s addiction. Family involvement in addiction treatment helps to create systems that hold the child accountable, keep up with groups, and grow into the best person they can be.

Rejoining the Family

As previously mentioned, active addiction can be isolating for the person with the substance abuse issue. Some may interpret getting sent to an individual recovery program as just another rejection, or the family’s way of indirectly highlighting that the person is a failure. This is a poor attitude for someone to enter recovery, one that can prevent long-term commitment to change and sobriety. The family can help combat this by deciding to enter family treatment and subject themselves to the introspection necessary to make big-picture change.

Family treatment also keeps everyone mindful of how recovery may change a person’s habits. If you send your child away to a recovery program alone, you may think that whatever changes happened in the recovery program are not attainable at home. In truth, there is no magic potion. Family involvement can help the family see what works in a recovery environment and apply it to home life in order to better help their loved one. This makes the transition back to everyday life less stressful, which can lead to better sobriety outcomes.

Addressing Family Issues

It is rare that addiction begins in a vacuum or as an independent corrupting force. Rather, alcohol and drugs are often used to help someone cope with issues when other coping mechanisms haven’t been effective or helpful. These issues may be internal such as underlying mental health conditions, or they may be external, such as an abusive home. When someone doesn’t have a stable and supportive home life that eases frustrations, builds self-esteem, or tolerates distress, drugs and alcohol provide an escape from one’s own mind. In fact, the home might be the place that builds the stress that promotes substances as a coping mechanism. Family recovery programs can help address the underlying stressors that may have had your loved one seeking substances in the first place. Family therapists will ensure that everyone practices perspective-taking and communication skills, builds empathy, and comes to a place of understanding and healing.

Even for those with ideal home lives and supportive family members, addiction can create unresolved tension and emotional separation. During a loved one’s active addiction, whether or not they are using can influence the family’s overall attitudes and moods. When relapse occurs, there is incredible disappointment, which can contribute to a loss of hope. Rebuilding that hope and trust can be difficult without a helping hand.

What to Expect from Family Recovery Programming at New Life House

New Life House is a sober living home in Los Angeles, California. We specialize in helping young men, ages 17-29, and their families get the support, structure, and resources they need to live sober lives and build stronger connections. During our family recovery programs, we keep families abreast of their child’s progress, struggles, and successes during early recovery and medical detox. As your child settles into treatment, we connect you with Parent Guides and peer mentors who will provide education and support. Then, we integrate your child and family into our larger community network through potlucks, picnics, and connections to outside group meetings, like Al-Anon or Nar-Anon.

At New Life House, we never seek to isolate your child from the rest of your family. We allow phone calls and encourage day trips and visits to help you see your child’s progress. Your child is a member of your family, whether they are living at your house or away at a recovery program. With your support and our services at New Life House, we can help your child reach their maximum potential and free themselves from active addiction.

Last Updated on September 12, 2023


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    Call Us Now: (888) 357-7577

    Call Us Now: (888) 357-7577