Group Activities for Families in Recovery offers therapists a wealth of activities designed to help families struggling with addiction address problem areas of functioning, and ultimately shift from dysfunctional patterns to healthy living. Written by expert practitioners in family-oriented substance abuse treatment programs, this text focuses on group therapy as a key component to treatment.

Beginning with a brief overview of the issues involved in working from a systemic family therapy perspective of addiction, the text discusses practical guidelines for working with families in groups and how to best utilize the exercise in the book. The collection of 30 group activities are suitable for a variety of family-oriented substance abuse treatment groups. They are divided into seven sections covering the key issues of:

1. Family Structure; 2. Family Identity; 3. Sober Fun; 4. Toward Health; 5. Anger Management; 6. Healthy Communication; 7. Parenting

The activities are varied and include topics presented through expressive arts (drawing, writing, acting), game-playing, problem solving, enactments, worksheets, and roleplaying. The activities can be used individually, incorporated into another program, or stand alone as a 16-week (or longer) program. They can also be adapted for use in groups where children or present, or for adult-family groups.

Playing Together: Activity Title: Drumming/Music: Activity Mode: Expressive Arts/Music

Playing Together: Activity Title: Drumming/Music: Activity Mode: Expressive Arts/Music

Playing together: Activity title: Drumming/music: Activity mode: Expressive arts/music


This activity encourages “sober fun.” Recognizing that having sober fun is something many group members have not done for many years, we recognize the importance of building this experience into the family component of substance abuse treatment. The instructions below are very general and may be adjusted as needed to create a fun music event. Be prepared that group members will feel self-conscious (as can group leaders)! This activity does not require a strong musical orientation by group leaders, though recruiting group members that have some experience with drumming can be both inspirational and helpful.


  • To continue to learn or relearn how to have fun without drugs and alcohol
  • To ...
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