A Family Disease

The sole purpose this page is to link to blogs dedicated to those who live with alcoholics and addicts in recovery or not. It will feature guest writers who have lived through the chronic alcoholism of a loved one, a husband, wife, son or daughter, sister or brother and who have had a recovery from the long lasting effects of this also.


Living with an Alcoholic is like Living in a War Zone!

Full interview with Dr Koob and Al Anon representatives.

Some academic article links

Al-Anon and Family Recovery  




The NCADD  state the notion of family disease and recovery clearly

“Alcoholism and drug addiction affects the whole family – young, teenage, or grown-up children; wives or husbands; brothers or sisters; parents or other relatives and friends.  One family member addicted to alcohol and drugs means the whole family suffers.  Addiction is a family disease that stresses the family to the breaking point, impacts the stability of the home, the family’s unity, mental health, physical health, finances, and overall family dynamics.

Without help, active addiction can totally disrupt family life and cause harmful effects that can last a lifetime.

Regrettably, no family is born with the knowledge of how to deal effectively with addiction.  It is a skill that must be learned and practiced daily.

But, with the proper help and support, family recovery has become a reality for millions!”

The Family Afterward…factors in relapse!

Here are another series of videos by Samhsa on family recovery from addictive behaviours. I found these short videos very instructive and helpful in how to recover as a family from the emotionally devastating effects of addictive behaviour.

This video presents ways family members can support loved ones during treatment and early recovery. Because the people in the video are in recovery themselves or are family members of people in recovery, listening to their experiences may help others understand the role of family in recovery.

Although the videos promote the Matrix Model as their form of treatment the participants continually talk of 12 step recovery too. This shows the growing cross fertilisation of treatment that has started occurring in recovery generally. My wife and I found we related to much, if not nearly all, of what these people are saying, we related to their experience of recovery completely.

For me personally, I am not sure if I could have recovered without the support of my wife. It seems it is hugely beneficial for everyone that the a family that suffered together can recovery together. It certainly helps the recovering addict recover.

These videos have much insight, understanding and hope for recovery. All recovery starts with the cultivation of hope, leading to faith leading to a life aided by a program of recovery. All these families have profoundly benefited from the process of recovery, and in many cases their lives seem to have been enhanced by not only by recovery but also by the strength gained via surviving addiction.

Their lives have improved in many ways not expected, anticipated or even imagined. This is the real gift of recovery. Life can become better than one could ever have thought possible!

Explaining Addiction

Maintenance phase

Disenchantment phase

First Stage of Recovery -Withdrawal

Second Stage of Recovery – The Honeymoon Period

Third Stage of Recovery – “The Wall”

Providing Additional Support

Adjustment and Resolution

Supporting Long Term Recovery


Addiction: A Family’s Path to Recovery Bill, William and Judith Moyers


One of the most powerful films I have seen about this family disease of alcoholism – “Shattered Spirits”






Al-Anon participation significantly reduces vulnerability to stress, stress from family situations, and the use of maladaptive coping behavior


Useful Links


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