Addiction hurts. It destroys relationships. It ruins lives. It kills.

Family Roles In Addiction Recovery

Family Roles In Addiction Recovery


Substance abuse can wreak havoc on the family dynamic. Loved ones often attempt to address the issue through practices that ultimately encourage the addict’s use and behaviors instead of inhibit them. Because loved ones look to each other for support, assistance and guidance, the involvement and education of family members is crucial to the success of the recovery process. In this entry, we will outline various family roles to illuminate potential issues and options moving forward in addiction recovery.

The Addict Within The Family

Family Roles In Addiction Recovery | Family Support In SobrietyThe role of the addict is played by the family member struggling with substance abuse. This individual retains the focus of the entire family; for better or worse; typically the latter. When a family chooses to reinforce this role, the addict has no reason to alter their behaviors. Without intervention, the addiction will only continue to escalate.

The Mascot In Addiction

Mascots are family comedians. This individual will often enjoy laughs at the addict’s expense; ultimately escalating the addiction further while inhibiting recovery. Mascots mask the pain, anger and embarrassment resulting from the addiction with jokes and distractions.

The Hero In Family Addiction

The hero takes responsibility for the strength of the family at large. They excel in studies as well as extracurricular activities. The hero will often deny that any issue exists because of the shame they feel in relation to the addiction. Heroes attempt to place a positive spin on any topic concerning family dynamics to lighten the mood.

The Scapegoat In Family Addiction

Scapegoats get into trouble in an attempt to deter attention from the addict; rebelling to distract themselves from the addiction at hand. Of all family members, it is typically the scapegoat who feels most guilty.

The Lost Child Within Family Addiction

A lost child is the family member who avoids problems. They do their best not to make waves so as to not add additional concerns to the family. Lost children do not discuss family issues, choosing rather, to isolate themselves away from conflict. They often feel neglected and lonely.

The Enabler To The Addiction

Enablers are intent on keeping everyone content. They are generally heard making excuses for the negative actions and behaviors of other family members, while concocting solutions to family conflicts. Though not intentional, enablers actually encourage negative behaviors by allowing them to persist.

Do These Family Roles In Addiction Sound Familiar?

If your family is struggling with a substance abuse dilemma, Mountain Village Recovery Center is the place to turn. Pick up the phone today and let our team of addiction and recovery specialists help get your family back towards the healthy, happy and functional lifestyle your and they deserve!

Read More About What Role Family Plays In Recovery

1 Comment

  • Janelle Jacobs says:

    I needed to read this! I have a relative who I am very close with just recently go into rehab and I had no idea of how to help. So a true sincere thank you for this post!

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