Family Addiction Education – It Takes a Lifetime!

Just as managing addiction is a lifelong process, so must learning about addiction be lifelong.


We ended our last article with a comment on learning. We said, “The more you learn, the more you want to know and understand.”  That’s a great lead into our next element of discussion for your recovery plan – family education.  The requirements for family recovery all go together. They include EDUCATION, SUPPORT and GOOD SELF CARE. You will not achieve a quality recovery without including these elements in your family recovery plan.


 Family Addiction Education – It Takes a Lifetime

Just as managing addiction is a lifelong process, so must our learning about addictive disease become lifelong.  To this end, the family education groups offered at Sanford Behavioral Health are simply stating the basics about addiction and family life.  Learning about addictive disease is an enormous motivator for personal growth.


An effective family recovery plan is always about applying new learning and responding to the changing needs of everyone involved.  Because the process of family recovery changes over time.


An individual in recovery from a substance use disorder (SUD) will modify their recovery requirements as they gain stability and personal growth. Initially, we sought regular and consistent support and self-care was more of an identifying process. However, the aspects of recovery, change over time. And so, we must find a continued desire to ask more and deeper questions of ourselves. 


The Role of Education in Family Recovery is Essential to Growth!

The role of education in a family recovery plan is an essential part of personal growth. Looking at the Stages of Change, education and new knowledge are part of this process in each stage following, “precontemplation”.  It is our hope that the Family Education Series will not be the end of your learning about addictive disease. We share a List of Recommended Resources (enclosed) to all family and friends of our clients. We hope that learning about and understanding addiction is important to those people who support Sanford patients.


Family Addiction Education – Read More!

I encourage you to read more about addiction, mental health, and family recovery.  Share your reading with your loved ones and support people. Likewise, improve your communication skills and apply them to all your relationships.  As your loved one stabilizes in recovery, focus moves to quality-of-life issues and spirituality. You will want to be able to share and experience this part of recovery! 


When you apply your education and support your self-care plan, you are engaging in new skills. These elements are not the only areas to consider when you are developing a family recovery plan. But, making sure that education, support and improved self care are elements of your plan is essential.


Some of the other elements in your plan might be: 

  1. Agreeing to a weekly family meeting to provide feedback and discuss your recovery plans, progress and challenges.
  2. Identifying behaviors that need to improve or decrease.
  3. Including supportive compromises or agreements.
  4. And don’t forget attendance at support meetings, individual therapy, or family therapy! 


In conclusion, I encourage you to be like the stone in the puddle. Plunk yourself into learning and watch the circles of knowledge and understanding grow in your life! 

Caroline (Carli) Noffsinger,  LMSW, CAADC, Sanford Family Program Facilitator 


Sanford’s Recommended Resource List (used in The Family Program)


It Takes A Family, by Debra Jay

Addict in the House, by Robin Barnett & Darren Kavinoky

Learning to Love Differently, by Candace Hartzler

Everything Changes: Help for Families of Newly Recovering Addicts, by Beverly Conyers

Living with an Addict: Understand the Hell of Addiction, by Biella Blom

Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself, by Candace Plattor

The Recovery Book, 2nd Edition, by A.J. Mooney

Staying Sober: A Guide for Relapse Prevention, by T. Gorski & M. Miller

Codependent No More, by Melody Beattie

Unbroken Brain, by M. Szalavitz



Pleasure Unwoven, by Dr. Kevin McCauley

Memo to Self, by Dr. Kevin McCauley


For Families with Children

Wonder What I Feel Today? by Jeanne Engelmann

My Dad Loves Me, My Dad Has A Disease, by Claudia Black

I Can Talk About What Hurts, by Sinberg & Daley



Caroline (Carli) Parmelee-Noffsinger has 20 years clinical experience including: primary therapist and case manager for residential, IOP and outpatient therapy. Carli’s primary role at Sanford House is facilitating the Family Program. She is currently updating and revising the program design and content and hopes to improve upon an already successful approach to family intervention. In her free time, Carli spends time with her horse. She has been a horse lover and owner for most of her life and has facilitated equine therapy sessions. She says, “The back of a horse is good for the inside of a person.” You can reach Carli with questions about The Sanford House Family Program at