Mountainside Educates Families on Addiction as a Disease

Published on November 4, 2014
Mountainside Canaan Aerial Shot

Thomas Miller Joins Treatment Center as Family Wellness Director

Roughly 50 percent of American adults have a family member who is an alcoholic, and approximately 1 in 4 children under 18 live in a family with alcoholism, with many more living in a family with drug addiction (NCADD).  These kinds of statistics may be shocking, but they demonstrate just how many families are affected by substance abuse.  They also highlight something Mountainside Treatment Center has known for years: families need to be educated about addiction as a disease so that they may begin to heal together.

With the recent expansion of its Family Wellness program, Mountainside empowers families by making them aware of how their family dynamics have been affected by as well as have influenced their loved one’s addiction.  In the first phase of the program expansion, Mountainside’s new Family Wellness Director Thomas Miller created a Family Wellness Orientation, an interactive and educational workshop that equips families with some key tools to support their loved one in treatment.

“In this workshop, we help families to understand what an addiction is, how addiction impacts the brain, that addiction is a family illness, and to identify the effects that addiction has on a family. We illuminate what their family member is experiencing while in treatment, the type of treatment that their family member is receiving, what constitutes healthy communication, and we explore and prepare the families for their first reunion with loved ones since starting treatment,” said Miller.

The aim of the new workshop is to build a strong foundation for recovery by providing families with healthy and effective strategies to change the environmental and behavioral issues related to their loved one’s addiction and treatment.

“Whatever families have done to cope and survive with their family member’s addiction was their best thinking in the moment and it’s what they knew how to do,” explained Miller. “We are always trying to identify new and innovative programs to support and empower families on their journey towards wellness. We remind them to always take care of themselves first, always present a united front, always trust the process, never give away their circle of control, and to always have hope.”

Miller is developing other additions to the Family Wellness program, including multi-day workshops that will focus specifically on family care, independent of their loved one in recovery.

To learn more about Mountainside’s treatment programs for alcohol and drug abuse, visit