Family Communication Issues in Active Addiction


The family can be a very important part of an individual’s recovery from addiction. Communication is often the most challenging aspect of dealing with family members. Learn more about some helpful things to keep in mind when trying to communicate better with family.


Families and Drinking

Family members of individuals with alcoholism can carry resentment about the condition. This may stem from the following issues:

  • Feelings of discomfort when drinking around person in recovery
  • Feelings of being judged or constrained in personal drinking habits
  • Feeling pressured by others to hold back drinking so as not to trigger person with addiction


The family can feel as though a quandry exists about whether or not to drink and what to do. This can build resentment for some family members who are not sure how to feel or experience resentment towards the individual with addiction.


Moving Beyond Resentment

The solution to moving past resentment should result from open, honest dialogue with the individual in recovery. Any unspoken problems can wreak havoc on healthy family dynamics. Many families struggle with communication and sweep things under the rug as a form of problem-solving. The individual with addiction may struggle with alcohol or drugs as a result of this to begin with, being in recovery does not guarantee this will go away without support.



Discussions centered around one person’s addiction may actually be quite effective in addressing past or current family conflict. Most individuals deal with fundamental problems only when a crisis occurs. Addiction is so powerful that it impacts every person in the family which may be a big reason families come together and take an honest inventory of each individual and the family as a whole to deal with the situation. Open, honest communication is the best, and only, way to cope with family communication dynamics in recovery. Some of the following interpersonal activities can be beneficial in supporting an individual’s communication skills with family:

  • Daily examination of one’s own environment
  • Identification and removal of triggers
  • Addressing personal faults honestly
  • Pursuit of meaningful goals
  • Actively seeking positive individuals to support a drug-free lifestyle



Drinking at family functions can come up in family therapy. Siblings of the person with addiction may feel uncomfortable within the family and express feelings of resentment. Feelings of jealousy may arise as part of the family dynamic but were lingering long before the therapy session started. Recovery incorporates alot of work to put down defenses and work towards healthier ways of engaging with one another.  Family work is difficult and can put stress on a fragile family but it is also a profound opportunity to improve communication by discovering the hidden things that confuse and distort healthy ways of living. Supporting the loved one with addiction through recovery includes doing some heavy lifting and may support discovery of personal growth and development for others in the family as well.


Family dynamics are key to experiencing a more healthy recovery from addiction. If your family needs support through the process, the Villa can provide resources for the journey. Contact us to find out how we can help you cope with addiction and family dynamics.