Family Members Healing Together


  1. “What is addiction, really? It is a sign, a signal, a symptom of distress. It is a language that tells us about a plight that must be understood.” – Alice Miller
  2. “Not feeling is no replacement for reality. Your problems today are still your problems tomorrow.” – Larry Michael Dredla
  3. “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard

Having begun my healing in 1976, I have seen many families excited at the prospect of healing for their loved ones only to have to face the reality that the loved one has entered a new world. Often it is a world that other family members don’t enter. Addiction feels as if it is the addict’s problem. But addiction is a family disease. We all learn how to dance to addiction’s tune. Addiction is in control of all the family members.

Blog posts written by family members dealing with addiction and/or similar life situations:

From themiracleisaroundthecorner: “Is Dysfunctional Family a Redundancy?

From The Addict in My House: “Addicts and the System”; “Relapsed”; and “The Gift That Just Keeps Giving

From Just for Today: “There is nothing noble here”; “Addiction-Mental Illness”; “Every Life Matters”; Coming out of the tunnel

From The Addict in My Basement: “Survival”; “Light the Night Purple”; “Severe the Hand to Save the Arm”

From An Addict in Our Son’s Bedroom: “Boundaries” (2009); “Jail Does No Good for Addicts” (2009); “Detaching With Love” (2011); “Pinch Me, Am I Dreaming?” (2016)

From The Maven of Mayhem: “In Which I Respond to 5 Comments on My LGBT Family”

From The Immortal Alcoholic: “What! No Family program?”

From Jean Heaton: “That’s What I’d Like to Know, What Did You Do Wrong?”

Many of the following YouTube videos have several other videos in each series.

Strengths-based family therapy session

Abraham Hicks: Dealing With Family Relationships

John Bradshaw–Healing the Shame That Binds You

Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong–Johann Hari

The Power of Addiction and the Addiction of Power: Gabor Mate

Trauma is irreversible. How it shapes us is our choice–Joseph Neulinger

Resources to help the family understand addiction recovery:

From  Addictions and “An addiction destroys families as much as it destroys individuals. Living with an addict is both heartbreaking and exhausting. Family members are torn between how to help the addict and how to avoid being sucked into the addict’s world.”

From The Addiction Recovery Guide: “The tragic death of a brilliant young writer named Jacob Waletzky* from a cocaine induced cardiac arrhythmia at the age of 29 inspired the creation of this website. The site is produced and funded by Lucy Waletzky, MD, a psychiatrist who is Jacob’s mother and fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. She is assisted by Marsha J. Handel, MLS, a medical librarian at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel.”

From NCADD: National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence: “Living with addiction can put family members under unusual stress. Normal routines are constantly being interrupted by unexpected or even frightening kinds of experiences that are part of living with alcohol and drug use. What is being said often doesn’t match up with what family members sense, feel beneath the surface or see right in front of their eyes. The alcohol or drug user as well as family members may bend, manipulate and deny reality in their attempt to maintain a family order that they experience as gradually slipping away. The entire system becomes absorbed by a problem that is slowly spinning out of control. Little things become big and big things get minimized as pain is denied and slips out sideways.

Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) and the Red Book

12 Step and Recovery Groups

Online Self-Help Forums

Parent and Family Topics from

Helpful Links:

Helpful Books:

  • The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships by Patrick Carnes, Ph.D.
  • Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring For Yourself by Melody Beattie
  • The New Codependency: Help and Guidance for Today’s Generation by Melody Beattie
  • Mending A Shattered Heart: A Guide for Partners of Sex Addict edited by Stefanie Carnes, Ph.D.
  • It Takes a Family A Cooperative Approach to Lasting Sobriety by Dera Jay
  • Addict in the Family: Stories of Loss, Hope and Recovery by Beverly Conyers
  • Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Abuse: How To Spot It, Stop It and Get Help for Your Family by Nikki Babbit
  • Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You by Charles Rubin
  • Everything Changes: Help for Families of Newly Recovery Addicts by Beverly Conyers
  • Get Your Loved One Sober. An Alternative to Nagging, Pleading and Threatening by Robert J. Myers, Ph.D. and Brenda L. Wolfe, Ph.D.
  • Parenting for Prevention: How to Raise a Child to Say No to Alcohol/Drugs by David J. Wilmes
  • Recovering My Kid: Parenting Young Adults in Treatment and Beyond by Joseph Lee, M.D.
  • Sober Siblings: How to Help Your Alcoholic Brother or Sister – and Not Lose Yourself  by Patricia Olsen and Petros Levounis, MD, MA
  • The Family Recovery Guide: A Map for Healthy Growth by Stephanie Brown, Ph.D., and Virginia M. Lewis, Ph.D., with Andrew Liotta
  • A Gentle Path Through the Twelve Steps: The Classic Guide For All People in the Process of Recovery by Patrick Carnes, Ph.D.
  • Courage to Change: One Day at a Time Al-Anon
  • How Al-Anon Works: For Family and Friends of Alcoholics Al-Anon
  • One Day at a Time Al-Anon
  • Paths to Recovery: Al-Anon’s Steps, Traditions, and Concepts Al-Anon
  • The Language of Letting Go  by Melody Beattie
  • A Family’s Journey   by Diana Clark      

Photo credit.