Break Cycle of Addiction

What Can Our Family Expect from a Loved One’s Recovery?


Addiction affects everyone, not just the person struggling in recovery. The reality is that relationships are complex to navigate. Learn what to expect from a loved one’s early recovery and how to support an individual along the journey.


Early Recovery

Being clean and sober is the first step in recovery. An inpatient program supports an individual to think clearly and deal with the reasons why drug use is happening. Helping a person with addiction at this stage focuses on opening up the individual to deal with the underlying causes of addiction and focus on recovery.


Bare Bones

When a person enters recovery, it is necessary to focus on it on a daily basis. Whichever program is chosen, the individual should engage in the following activities:

  • Support group meetings
  • Psychotherapy (individual or group)
  • Recovery protocol or relapse prevention plan


If an individual does the above activities everyday for a minimum of one year, it is possible to maintain sobriety more so than a person who skips meetings and decides not to follow a plan. It is easy to be triggered in recovery and fall back into old patterns without a way to stay clean and sober.


Dry Drunk

If a person stops drinking or using drugs, but the attitude never changes, this is known as a dry drunk. A dry drunk is not committed to or participating in a program of recovery from addiction. Many issues may be at play including the lack of coping skills, underlying anger issues or unaddressed problems in the person’s life.  The following tips can help cope with a dry drunk:

  • Set healthy boundaries
  • Insist the individual seek therapy
  • Set clear expectations around what is acceptable



Though family members and loved ones fear this occurrence, it is more common than some believe. If the person with addiction has trouble coping in the real world, it can feel overwhelming without the crutch alcohol or drugs provide. Some tips for coping with relapse:


  • Some people only relapse once and get back on track
  • Seek different support mechanism for the person following relapse
  • Chronic relapsers will flip-flop between sobriety and relapsing at a moment’s notice
  • The individual may not be ready for recovery so focus on what can be done in the moment
  • Offer support with healthy boundaries


Deal in Facts

Fear can keep families from giving a loved one the right support in recovery. If a person with addiction wants to be clean and sober, the individual will not make excuses but will be honest and work at sobriety on a daily basis. A person with addiction may or may not tell the truth so focus on how the person is behaving to give clues to what is really going on. Seek outside help if necessary from support groups or counselors who can help families of loved ones with addiction.


The Villa provides support and resources to family and friends of loved ones with addiction. If you are concerned about a loved one’s behavior and need help, call us to find out how we can support you in getting help for addiction.