A Beginner’s Guide to Family Recovery

Getting key family members involved, educated, and supportive of clients’ recovery is a major predictor of success for substance abuse treatment, but it’s not at all easy. Some family members assume that their help is done when they’ve delivered their family member to the treatment program. They may be looking forward to a “rest” from the craziness before their loved one is returned to them, clean and sober and ready to make up for everything that went wrong while s/he was drinking or using.

They’ll usually admit that it’s been hard. They may even have heard that addiction is a “family disease,” and that a newly-recovering loved one can benefit from their support once they leave treatment. But as with the addict or alcoholic themselves, it’s often difficult for family members to see the real extent and nature of the damage addiction has caused to themselves and the family.

If your program is ready to reach out and involve family members, you may find “Whose Life is it Anyway” a helpful and flexible curriculum. It can be presented as a group program, a family counseling session guide, or even a lecture/discussion format for classroom-style settings. And it’s free.

Nine program units can be delivered as separate sessions, or combined into five sessions. (Session One stands alone, the others can be telescoped into two units per session.)

  • Families can join the program at any point in the cycle.
  • Additional “Extra credit” unit for parents of adolescents.
  • Family therapy training is not required to deliver “Whose Life Is It” effectively—it is based on simple disease-model treatment concepts familiar to the treatment professional.
Family Members Learn
  • You can’t control someone else’s behavior
  • You can control your responses to it, and in this way, become a positive influence in recovery

“Whose Life is it, Anyway” uses handouts–articles and tools– available FREE on this website. Here’s a handy list for downloading:

You are welcome to download this FREE version of the “Whose Life” curriculum and its associated resources, and use it for your program or personal use. You may also contact us to discuss a customized version for your program or organization: