Sometimes change happens an hour at a time

Family Life: Family Recovery

April 2024

Sharing the Journey

CB.jpgSharing the Journey: Voices from the Field is a collection of stories by FRIENDS National Center Parent Advisory Council that include audio, video, and animated stories created and shared by parent leaders and practitioners nationwide. The series is divided into three categories: Voices of Parent Leaders, Parent Stories on Preventing Child Neglect, and Voice of Parents and Practitioners. Each selection is told in the authentic voice of the author. Click on the tabs below to view the full list of stories within each category or visit the media library and use the search engine to identify stories by topic, protective factor, or keyword.

Visit: Sharing the Journey: Voices from the Field | Friends NRC

March 2024

From Partnership to End Addiction;

Fentanyl_Crystals_and_Pills_square1.jpg“Any step to reduce use or to lower the risks when using substances is a step toward wellness. It might not be what you want for your child, but it’s moving in a healthier direction.”

According to Partnership to End Addiction: “Every day, we engage in some form of harm reduction. We wash hands to minimize the risk of COVID-19, use seat belts when driving or wear helmets when playing sports. Similarly, there are steps one can take to reduce risks associated with substance use.” Reducing risks can result in:

  • Fewer overdoses and associated deaths
  • A decrease in the transmission of diseases like Hep C and HIV
  • A way to connect individuals to overdose education, counseling, and referrals to treatment
  • Less stigma associated with substance use and co-occurring disorders
  • Lower overall healthcare costs
  • A way to promote hope and healing

Visit: Harm Reduction Resource Center - Partnership to End Addiction (

February 2024

A Look At Recovery

recovery_2024.jpgA major barrier to overcoming the challenges of addiction is stigma. “Stigma” is a word that comes from Latin and Greek, originally meaning a burn or other mark inflicted on another person to signify their disgrace. Today, stigma means labeling, stereotyping and discrimination. Breaking stigma and stereotypes require understanding. In order to understand addiction and how to break the stigma, we must also understand the different avenues of recovery.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are two of the most well-known programs for recovery. NA and AA encourage individuals to seek healing while helping others on their recovery journeys. Although the two support groups have many similarities, they have distinct differences that can benefit people in various situations. Both groups use the 12-step process to encourage participants to become more self-aware and seek healing. They also involve literature and the stories of others to empower individuals to take charge of their recovery.

There is no one pathway to recovery. Some people receive substance abuse treatment as an inpatient or outpatient at a specialty facility. Some people seek medical treatment at a hospital. Others seek help from an outpatient mental health facility. Many choose to recover without using any clinical services. Another avenue is peer support groups in the community.

Everybody’s recovery looks different. The key is not to stigmatize one’s recovery because they recover differently than another. No matter what one’s recovery looks like or what recovery road they choose, remember to be encouraging. There is no right or wrong way to recovery and there is no easy path to recovery. The end goal is the same for everyone and that is to live a healthy, happy, sober life. Recovery programs are difficult, but the reward is your life.

Shared by Zach Wingert, Illinois Family Resource Center

January 2024

What Are the Most Common Relapse Triggers?

relaxation-5014252_1280.jpgIf you are concerned about someone you care about who is on their recovery journey, especially early in the journey, here are some triggers to be aware of from the Midwest Recovery Centers. As part of a support system, take a look at the information offered for these issues. To help: A trigger in the context of substance use and addiction refers to any circumstance or stimulus promoting the use of a substance or cravings for it. Triggers vary a lot between individuals and can be associated with internal and external things. Triggers can be categorized as: 

  • Environmental
  • Social
  • Emotional
  • Cognitive
  • Routine
  • Physiological
  • Media cues
  • Celebratory

Check out: Most Common Relapse Triggers and How to Manage Them (

December 2023

Support During the Holidays

sad-square.pngNot feeling the holiday cheer? 24/7, free and confidential support is available to anyone dealing with tough thoughts or emotions or struggling with substance use. The holiday season can be filled with joy and celebrations. This time of year can also trigger difficult emotions, thoughts, or behaviors—which can affect your mental health and use of substances (including alcohol). Let your friends, family, and communities know that confidential support is available 24/7 for both mental health and substance use.

Visit: Support During the Holidays | SAMHSA

November 2023

threeyoungcouples1000x400_Hero.jpgHazelden Betty Ford offers a multitude of recovery-related events throughout the United States—from retreats to speaker series—designed to help you continue on your journey. It's amazing how a different perspective or an authentic voice opens the way to new insight, understanding and healing. In addition, they are offering support for recovery online through December. They take you step-by-step with tools to incorporate the 12-step programs into the holiday recovery journey for families. Join them at:

Recovery Events | Hazelden Betty Ford

November 2023

Gratitude Month 

grateful-2940466_1920.jpgThe National Gratitude Month begins as we enter November and the winter holiday season for many. November is a time to celebrate and give thanks. Although it’s nice to count your blessings on Thanksgiving, being thankful and grateful throughout the year may well have tremendous benefits on your quality of life and enhance a recovery journey. Practicing gratitude can be a beneficial daily habit both for your physical and mental health. A hint from NC Cooperative Extension. “You can start practicing gratitude by listing three things you are grateful for at the end of each day.”

Read more at:

October 2023

after_high_school.jpgBe aware. Be support. Learn how to address concerns for those you care about in a safe and appropriate manner. Not only will those you care about move forward, but you will also be healthier and stronger as you move forward. RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE.

October 2023


teachers-23820_1280_1.jpgReminder from “One Day At a Time in Al-Anon”: There is no need for me to accept blame for another person’s irrational actions. I will deal with my own short-comings. If I do this honestly – following the Fourth to Tenth Steps – the change in me will be reflected in every person whose life touches mine.  


September 2023

Recovery for Youth

ai-generated-8183476_1280.jpgAs we enter Recovery Month 2023, there are many resources to access and learn about recovery for families and communities. The Partnership to End Addiction understands recovery is an ongoing process and they are available every step of the way to ensure families are prepared to support their loved one. Many families have children in recovery, and what that word means to each can vary. While the process can be challenging, there are ways to reduce the risks associated with substance use and promote well-being.

Learn more at the: Recovery Resource Center at: Partnership to End Addiction (

August 2023

Play, Play and Play

board-game-4252248_1920.jpgPsychology Today encourages us to play. “Play—or fun, imaginative, relaxed, and self-directed activities—is a key part of life for children and adults alike. Play tends to be self-chosen, removed in some way from “real” life, and governed by a set of rules determined by the players, rather than an outside source. Play has myriad payoffs and is more common in children than adults; however, adults can and do play, often to their own benefit.” Explore healthy play as part of a recovery journey from substance use and mental health concerns.

Check out Play | Psychology Today.

June 2023

June is Reunification Month

child_network.jpgThis is a time for all who are working with families working toward reuniting to focus and celebrate as recovery builds and families reunite. Families are resilient and strong. For many, substance misuse is at the base of family issues and the need for kinship care and/or legal concerns. This Reunification Month reminds us that we must commit to identifying effective strategies to reunify families. The Children’s Bureau is providing resources for both kinship care, professionals and families regarding family recovery. Use these resources to help engage children and families in the reunification process, equip parents to resolve issues that led to family separation, help increase reunification rates for families from diverse backgrounds, and address racial disproportionality and disparity in child welfare.

Visit: Children’s Bureau (CB) | The Administration for Children and Families (

June 2023

Sesame Street Announcement 

MicrosoftTeams-image-7-560x420.jpgSesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, announced a new organization-wide focus on the emotional well-being of young children and their families. Responding to the growing mental health crisis for young children and building on decades of experience developing social-emotional learning content for families, the Workshop will address this critical need through a wide range of activities and engaging content designed for the whole family and available on multiple platforms to reach children and families wherever they are.

Check out: Sesame Workshop Announces Multi-Year Commitment to the Emotional Well-Being of Young Children and Families - Sesame Workshop

May 2023

Resources for Our Little Ones Living with Substance Misuse

AddictionResourcesForProviders.jpgIf you work with families with little ones who are impacted by substance misuse, take time to check out the resources offered by Sesame Street in Communities. If you are a family member struggling with the impact of a parent or caregiver's substance misuse, check out Sesame Street in Communities and the many age appropriate resources offered.

Parental Addiction | Sesame Street in Communities - Sesame Street in Communities

March 2023

Join Us

meeting-7031659_1920.jpgToday’s Reminder from Al-Anon:

“It is the sharing experience and hope that makes our Al-Anon contacts so important to us. Every time we read something about how Al-Anon works, every time we attend a meeting or talk with a fellow member by telephone, we grow in serenity and strength.” Join Al-Anon in person or virtually.

Find peace and serenity. 


February 2023

This Week’s Challenge from Sesame Street in Communities

AboutPage_Header.jpgEach day this week, take note of a moment that went well. Celebrate with something that makes you feel good, like a piece of chocolate, a happy dance, or ten minutes with a good book.

As a parent or caregiver, take advantage of the resources provided on the Sesame Street in Communities website. If you are parenting in a chaotic environment, take a breath and use the support offered.

Visit: Sesame Street in Communities <[Please enable JavaScript.]>

February 2023

A Nurturing Parent

CAP_Month_Packet_2023_RED_Page_08.jpgBegin today by being a positive parent or caretaker and help other family members, friends, and neighbors be positive 
parents too. Take a look at the guide from Prevent Child Abuse Illinois in support of the coming Prevent Child Abuse Month of April. Be the best child caregiver you can be. Create happy memories, support safety measures and love with kindness. 

Check out the information from PCA: CAP Month Packet 2023_RED.pdf 

January 2023al-anon.jpg

One Day At a Time in Al-Anon shares: “The more I immerse myself in Al-Anon teachings, the more I will get from them and the more I can help others.”

Check out the support of Al-Anon at

January 2023

Caring Matters 

addict_watch.jpgLearn how to take care of yourself if a person you love is experiencing substance use issues. Taking care of yourself is the key to being a strong support for your loved one. Visit:;;>family. 

December 2022

Al-Anon Message 

snowflake-g62308c5df_1920.jpgOne Day At a Time in Al-Anon states: “Every minute I use in thinking and using the Al—Anon program makes all the hours of my week more livable.” Move past the chaos. Use the Al-Anon tools to have a memorable and healthy holiday.


December 2022

Hints for a Safe Recovery Holiday


November 2022

Building Resilience & Finding Hope

depressed_teen.jpgIf you work with a population with a risk for suicide, take a look at the following information. According to Hazelden, one of the leading causes of death in the US is suicide and a major concern for everyone in the mental health community. Whether you work with individual clients  or provide group therapy, Hazelden Publishing’s new Suicide workbook and DVD are designed to help those who have attempted suicide or experienced ideation.

The Suicide workbook and DVD focus on:

  • Understanding the science behind mental health disorders
  • Relating mental health to different areas of life
  • Identifying healthy coping strategies
  • Challenging unhelpful thinking patterns
  • Learning grounding and mindfulness techniques
  • Discovering healthy habits to enhance well-being
  • Developing assertive communication skills
  • Planning for ongoing support

Take a look at the new material: Hazelden Store: Suicide Collection

February 2022

Tell Your Story 

journey_to_recovery_graphic.jpgSometimes understanding the chaos of being in a family or relationship with someone experiencing substance use disorder (SUDs) is overwhelming. AND, sometimes something as simple as listening to other’s personal stories may help you through the roughest times. The Partnership to End Addiction offers a group of personal stories on their website. Take a minute to cruise the personal stories of those on a recovery journey if you are a person with SUDs or impacted as a family person. Learn you are not alone.


January 2022

al-anon.jpg“I didn’t Cause it;” “I can’t Control it;” “I can’t Cure it.”

If you have a family member or a good friend experiencing a substance use disorder (SUD’s), there is most likely chaos in your life. Sometimes it is a good idea to revisit lessons learned by those who have had the experience before you. Remembering the three C’s may assist you to manage and move through the chaos. As we continue through the COVID-19 issues, it is easy for those not in a relationship with an active substance using person to forget what the stress, worry and anxiety may be. Since we know persons with SUD’s impact others’ lives, it becomes even more important for us to find support from others. Learning what SUD’s is and how it progresses will help you understand that you did not CAUSE the substance use no matter what your family member may accuse you of. As you move forward you most likely have tried some strategies to CONTROL your family members use, but without success. If you believe their continued use is your “fault,” learn that this is not your failure. Understanding that SUD’s is a chronic disease and there is no CURE that you that can solve the issue. However, know a healthy recovery journey is possible for both your family member and for you. A healthy recovery is a lifelong process and is most successful with the support of 12-Step meetings or other recovery self-help groups. However, an important first step to consider is family treatment provided by a trained SUD’s treatment provider. Take this opportunity to learn and to move forward. Treatment is available virtually in even in our current environment. BE SAFE.