Many substance abuse treatment programs forbid family involvement and other contacts with the outside world, but studies have shown that involving loved ones in the treatment process can make it more effective and help the entire family unit start to heal from the substance abuse. Before treatment, it is common for friends and family to enable the addict, or to try and protect them from the consequences of their alcohol or drug abuse. Sometimes loved ones do not address the substance abuse because they fear pushing the person away or alienating them even further, but ignoring or denying the problem is not helping the addict and neither is protecting them from facing consequences. It is usually beneficial for friends and family to receive counseling as well as the person with the substance abuse problem.
Family involvement can make substance abuse treatment more effective and improve the odds for a full and complete recovery. Sessions of family counseling can help clear the air in a safe environment and allow those close to the person with the addiction to voice and then let go of past anger and resentment over the drug or alcohol abuse. Just like an intervention this type of counseling will also allow the individual to see how their behavior and substance abuse has harmed the ones that they love. For a full recovery, healing must happen, and family involvement in substance abuse treatment can make this happen much faster and in an environment where relapse is not a problem.