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Family reunification - or not - when done with sobriety on board

The shame, sadness and anger associated with substance use disorder can tear families apart. By the same token, drug and alcohol treatment can often restore families to health. Admittedly, that doesn’t happen overnight because it can take a long time to restore trust, which is the bedrock of any relationship.

Substance use disorder ("alcohoism" or "addiction") has been described as a “wily and deceitful disease” that thrives in the dark. The sheer shame and desperation of this disease cause people to hide their problem and to cover their tracks, even from those who love them the most.

During active alcoholism or drug addiction, trust is one of the first things to go and one of the last things to be restored. The person in recovery needs to re-earn the trust of those who were injured along the way. As interventionist/family counselor Ricki Townsend explains, the “trust jar” filled with shiny pebbles can only be refilled with acts of honesty and integrity, one stone at a time. And that takes time.

Sometimes, after treatment, a family makes a sober and informed decision to reunify. Sometimes they decide that going separate ways is the healthiest approach for everybody. That approach might offer the best foundation for Mom and Dad to co-parent their children while avoiding any residual finger-pointing and blame for this shameful brain disease. The important thing is that any decisions are made in sobriety, not in the anger and angst of active addiction or alcoholism. We're here to help you lay a healthy foundation for these important decisions.

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