Breaking the Cycle: Transforming Family Dynamics in Recovery (Featuring - Samantha Barnes)
March 11, 2024

Breaking the Cycle: Transforming Family Dynamics in Recovery (Featuring - Samantha Barnes)

In today’s episode of "Sisters in Sobriety," Sonia and Kathleen are joined by Samantha Barnes, a Registered Psychotherapist with over two decades of experience. Samantha brings an invaluable perspective on guiding families through the tribulations of addiction. Their conversation illuminates the profound effects of addiction on family dynamics, highlighting the pathways to recovery and the indispensable role of communication and support.

Samantha shares insights into how addiction reshapes relationships within the family, especially impacting children, and offers strategies for families to navigate these challenging times. The discussion reveals how addiction influences children’s roles within the family, fostering environments of secrecy and instability, which can significantly affect their self-esteem and ability to form healthy relationships.

Listeners will discover the critical importance of self-care in recovery, learning that taking care of oneself is not an act of selfishness but a foundation for being able to support others. Samantha stresses the significance of supportive environments and provides practical advice for building strong family connections despite the hurdles posed by addiction. Key concepts include viewing addiction as a disease, the necessity of honest conversations about addiction with children, and expanding the definition of self-care to include reaching out for support and prioritizing one’s well-being.

The episode also addresses the complexities surrounding "mommy wine culture," challenging the normalization of alcohol use as a coping mechanism for parenting stress. Samantha emphasizes the need for redefining self-care and seeking genuine support systems that respect individual needs in the journey toward sobriety.

Furthermore, they delve into the importance of having open, age-appropriate conversations about alcohol and drug use with children and teenagers, highlighting the value of early discussions to foster a safe and understanding family environment. Samantha’s advice underscores the significance of creating a non-judgmental space where family members can express their emotions and struggles freely.

Join them for an enlightening episode filled with empathy, guidance, and a deep dive into the challenges and triumphs of overcoming addiction within the family. Don’t forget to check out our substack for additional resources, tips, and support on your journey to change your relationship with alcohol.

*Samantha Barnes is a Registered Psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor with over two decades of experience working with children, youth, and families on their wellness journeys. She leads a small group practice based in Barrie, Ontario, dedicated to supporting both local families and those across Ontario through virtual services. Her practice offers individual, couples, and family counseling, in addition to hosting a variety of workshops and events tailored for children and parents. To learn more about her work or to get in touch, visit her website at or follow her on social media at @sweetspotcounselling.


  • [00:02:36] Discussion on addiction's impact on family dynamics begins.
  • [00:04:34] Samantha explains the ripple effect of changing a family dynamic.
  • [00:06:00] Insights into the specific effects of addiction on children.
  • [00:07:28] Sonia addresses the misconception about "functional" alcoholism.
  • [00:08:21] Challenges kids face in forming healthy relationships.
  • [00:10:34] The impact of addiction on children's self-esteem.
  • [00:14:16] Exploring the nuances of sobriety and parenting responsibilities.
  • [00:18:07] Importance of self-care in the journey of sobriety.
  • [00:22:35] Recommendations for managing stress and triggers.
  • [00:26:19] Advice on building supportive environments for sobriety.
  • [00:27:17] Discussing how to talk to children about addiction and recovery.
  • [00:33:41] Importance of open conversation about drugs and alcohol with teenagers.
  • [00:37:14] Explaining addiction as a disease to children.
  • [00:40:37] Discussion on the "mommy wine culture."
  • [00:44:23] Finding new activities and communities in sobriety.
  • [00:46:13] Final advice from Samantha on not giving up in finding supportive spaces.


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