Family Awareness

Gain the tools you need to support your loved one in his recovery process

Addiction is a family disease. Within this disease, the alcoholic or the addict affects members of the family unit in a very significant way. The progression of addiction fractures the value system of the addict, which, in turn, spills over into the family. Sometimes, it’s difficult for family members to recognize their family roles in addiction.

At Little Creek Lodge, we know that addiction can pull families apart. That is why we give residents’ families the tools that they need to rebuild their relationships. 

At our addiction treatment center in Pennsylvania, we help young men discover who they truly are. We also support the efforts that our male residents make to learn and grow. That way each resident is empowered to make healthy decisions. 

Once Little Creek Recovery patients leave our treatment center, they’ll need the support of their families. That’s why Little Creek teaches family members of addicts how to offer support in helpful and meaningful ways.

Statistics About Addiction in America

Addiction is the number one disease in America. One in four adults in the U.S. suffers from addiction, and one in three families contains at least one family member that suffers from addiction.

Part of the reason why addiction rates in America are so high right now is because of the opioid epidemic. In fact, due to the opioid epidemic, opioid-related overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50.

Another substance that people often abuse is heroin. Approximately half a million people abused or were dependent on heroin in 2013. Alcoholism contributes to 88,000 deaths per year. Furthermore, nearly 7% of the adult population has an identifiable alcohol-use disorder.

A 2016 research paper published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) stated that 1 in 11 people will become dependent on marijuana. This equates to about 4.2 million people.

In 2012, 880,000 people sought out addiction treatment in the state of Pennsylvania. Although this is a staggering number, there are also 22 million people who have been in recovery for more than 10 years. Unfortunately, according to the Coalition for Drug Abuse, Pennsylvania is in the top 10 states for heroin overdoses.

Understanding the family roles in addiction and containing awareness as well as involvement in a person’s recovery process is critical to attaining the best outcome. The recovery process has a 32% increase in success, as noted in national statistics when both of a resident’s parents participate in family therapy.

Little Creek Recovery Family Addiction Treatment Program

In our family program here at Little Creek Recovery, we are dedicated to open, ongoing communication with all of our residents’ mothers and fathers. We also discuss progress and setbacks with each of our resident’s parents every week. We’re even there to help guide the parents of our residents through the entire process of their child’s treatment programs.

Are You Enabling an Addict?

Enabling is when a person does something for another person, despite that other person being capable of completing the task for him/herself. Enablers are one of the common family roles of addiction. 

Families who continue to enable their children eventually cause their children to become helpless and dependent on their caretakers. Many families, however, don’t recognize their enabling behaviors. Instead, they view their behaviors as kindness, care, or a way to make things easier on the addict and the people surrounding him.

Here are some examples of enabling behavior:

  • Doing your son’s household chores, instead of forcing him to care for and take pride in his things.
  • Give your grandson money, even though he has a dependable car and the ability to work.
  • Always take your brother’s side in a fight – even when he is wrong – because you think it makes him feel less “alone.”
  • Calling your son out of work “sick,” when he is too drunk or too hungover to go.
  • Blaming yourself, and accepting blame from him for his behaviors.
  • Keeping your feelings bottled up, or pushing them aside, causes you to feel resentment.
  • Overindulging the behaviors and actions of others, to help “keep the addict’s mind off of drugs/alcohol.” Examples of overindulging behaviors include excessive eating, mindless video game playing, shopping binges, etc.
  • Avoid conflict altogether for fear of a relapse.

Negative Effects of Enabling

Coming home can be a difficult adjustment for people living a sober lifestyle for the first time, but setting boundaries and rules are important to maintain recovery. 

We understand the urge to coddle your sons and to help them avoid any more pain. What you must know, though, is this enabling behavior does everyone more harm than good.

Remember, the addicted person often sets the tone of the house. Thus, families often take on the mood of the addict, who becomes the center of attention. Everything revolves around him/her. 

As a result, the other children in the house don’t get the same amount of attention as the addict. Before one knows it, resentments form and the home becomes divided. That is when codependency ignites and habits form in an attempt to “save” the addicted person.

family program


Are You The Hero in Your Family?

One of the other common family roles in addiction is the hero. The hero is the person in the family with a person in it that suffers from an addiction that always tries to bring the family together and fix every situation. Oftentimes, the hero family role in addiction belongs to the eldest child. 

Because the hero in the family with addiction has so much pressure to be perfect for everyone else and to bring the family together, he or she usually develops some sort of anxiety disorder or stress-related illness.

Are You the Scapegoat?

The scapegoat is one of the least desired family roles in addiction. The scapegoat in a family with addiction is the person that everyone in the family blames everything on when things go wrong.

A person in a family with addiction often becomes the scapegoat because the family needs someone outside of the addict to place blame on. The scapegoat also plays the role of being the person that all the other family members let their stress out on.

Because the scapegoat is always blamed for everything that goes wrong, he or she usually becomes resentful and starts acting out. Thus, male scapegoats often become violent and female scapegoats often become promiscuous when they get older. 

The scapegoat is often the second oldest child. This may be because they’re the child that came right after the heroic eldest child. As a result, the second child can’t live up to the eldest child’s standards and expectations. Thus, the second child is seen as a disappointment. 

Are You the Mascot?

The mascot in the family with addiction is the person that deflects from the stressful situation that the family is in. One common way that the mascot deflects from stress is through humor. 

Oftentimes, the mascot is using humor and entertainment to seek the approval of the other family members. The mascot also often uses humor as a form of self-defense. That way the mascot doesn’t have to show the pain that he or she is feeling deep down inside. 

The mascot often grows up to perpetuate the cycle of addiction by abusing substances. This is because as the mascot gets older, he or she often turns to drugs to mask feelings instead of humor. The mascot is often the youngest child within a family with addiction.

Are You the Lost Child?

One of the other family roles in addiction is the lost child. The lost child is the person in the family that’s withdrawn and quiet. As a result, the lost child is often thought of as being invisible to everyone else. 

Because the lost child within a family with addiction is withdrawn and shy, he or she often struggles to form connections with others. As a result, this person often ends up living life alone and taking part in solitary activities. The lost child is usually the middle child within the family. 

Are You the Addict?

The sixth and final common family role in addiction is the addict himself. The addict is the person in the family that suffers from substance addiction. The addict is also the source of chaos and stress within the family. This is because the addict often lies, cheats, steals, and manipulates the other family members to get more drugs. The best thing that the addict of a family with addiction can do is attend addiction treatment at a rehab facility such as Little Creek Recovery. 

Learning How to Be a Family Again

At Little Creek Recovery, our family is rooted in trust, mutual respect, and genuine compassion. Our residents are empowered to work towards what they want and to celebrate their sober lives. 

We understand that for some families, this part of the addiction recovery process can be more challenging than others – but we promise, it’s worth the effort. Being mindful of one another is an important lesson for our residents and their families. We can give you the tools you need to succeed. Parents will find a new, stronger, and healthier way to build loving relationships with their sons.

Let our Little Creek Lodge Family Help Yours Grow Even Stronger

Little Creek Lodge is an alcohol and drug addiction treatment center in northeastern Pennsylvania. We provide counseling for men in addiction treatment and their families. To learn more about us, family roles in addiction, and how we can help you, contact us by phone, email, or web message. 


“Adventure trek is always popular”

Little creek lodge is such an amazing place for people who want to make a serious change in their life. I’ve watched my loved one grow immensely through his recovery with the help of the caring staff and engaging programs. Adventure trek is always popular on the agenda!

Annabelle Stiso |

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Little Creek Lodge 359 Easton Turnpike Hamlin, PA 18427