Relationships – 9 Tips for Keeping Them Intact and Healthy

When an individual suffers from a substance use disorder, the whole family suffers. Relationships are put to the test and often do not survive the damages caused by the effects of addiction.

The following tips are to help you with your relationships.

1. Build a support network of other families.

They key to this network is to gather with others who understand. Build relationships with people who are living their life and engaged in activities that are NOT focused on the addict/alcoholic.

All too often, the addicted family member’s addiction become the center of the family’s ‘universe’.

Having a solid support network puts life in a much healthier balance.

A couple of great resources:

  •  Adult Children of Alcoholics
  •  Ala-Teen /  Al-Anon

2. Create a safe environment to share and engage in healthy conversations

Families with addicted loved ones need a place where they can be real. A safe place to share their fears and concerns and walk away with constructive ideas and calls to action.

University of Colorado’s Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation Family Program offers a 5-Day Workshop that provides a safe space to relate to those going through the same issues.

Anyone, 13 years old and up, can participate in the CeDAR Family Program 5-Day Workshop, whether or not they have a loved one at CeDAR. The CeDAR Family Program 5-Day Workshop is open to the public.

You can contact a CeDAR Family Program Educator directly at 720.848.3070 for any inquiries regarding youth programs and treatment.

3. Keep your message consistent

Keep your message consistent and on the same page with your addicted loved ones.

Putting your fingers on the pulse of what treatments and behavior modifications an addict is going through helps family members offer aligned support.

4. Establish consequences for negative behaviors

This is a key factor in the establishment of responsibility and accountability of an addict/alcoholic. It’s difficult to mete out and administer consequences for those we love, especially if they are adults. Also, it is many times more difficult if you waver, or even worse, cave to their negative behaviors.

5. Don’t enable rationalizations, justifications and minimization’s

The chronic illness of addiction attempts to convince the addict that “just one will be okay”, and “I can handle it now”. Families need to take a strong stand for abstinence and be the voice – sometimes the loud voice – of consistent reason for their addicted loved one.

6. Allow law enforcement to do their job.

Legal interventions are never pleasant, although is often life-saving. Sometimes the best thing that can happen in the life of an addict is a trip to jail, or a court-ordered placement in a detox or rehabilitation facility.

7. Consider financial management services for those in early recovery.

Families all too often provide financial support for their loved ones. Many people become dependent on the family’s support without an end goal of financial independence and accountability.

It’s far healthier to get the addict plugged into a service that specialize in supporting them directly.

8. Work with a licensed professional.

A New Outlook Counseling Services has offices to serve Colorado.

Please feel free to us at

9. Treatment for addiction works. It just does.

Our addiction recovery resources cover many services available to help you with your family’s recovery.

We invite you to browse our resources and select the service that best fits your need.

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