Substance use disorder is a family disease

Addiction and Recovery Services square

By Liliane Jurayj • JFCS Addiction and Recovery Services Program Coordinator

JFCS recently relaunched its Addiction and Recovery Services – new Program Coordinator Liliane Jurayj talks below about what services and resources the program provides:

The new year symbolizes new beginnings – setting a resolution is part of starting the new year for so many people. While it is wonderful to start off on a positive note, resolutions can also be overwhelming. This is especially true if you are setting lofty goals and promising yourself that “this year is going to be different.” With over 20 million Americans suffering from substance use disorder (SUD) in 2022 (John Hopkins Medicine, 2022) setting a resolution around reducing alcohol or substance use is increasingly common. More people than ever are using this time to try Dry January, set resolutions to drink less, become more sober curious, or just be more mindful of substance consumption in general.

In the past, substance use disorder and addiction have been seen as a personal issue or failure. It has been recognized as a solitary affliction that has a strong negative affect on the individual suffering. The impacts on that individual’s support system is less commonly talked about. The stigma surrounding addiction often depicts SUD as more of an issue of laziness and weak willpower, rather than mental illness and disorder. This is a big barrier we must work to overcome with education, compassion and better access to high-quality and culturally-competent treatment and care.

Addiction can change the dynamic in a household and cause stress on family members sharing physical and emotional space with the individual. There can be strong feelings of guilt or resentment, or the need to care for the individual and neglect personal care. Because addiction is a family disease, Addiction and Recovery Services is a part of Family Life Education at JFCS. We recognize addiction and SUD as a family issue.

Through the newly relaunched JFCS Addiction and Recovery Services (ARS), individuals can be connected to an array of external and internal resources to help them through this difficult time. Although ARS does not offer direct treatment, we offer one-on-one family and individual consults and connect people to well-matched facilities, resources and/or support groups. We are focused on providing community education, professional development, peer-to-peer networking and family consultation.

As JFCS’ new Addiction and Recovery Services Program Coordinator, I am focused on serving the needs of our community. I am a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota, where I earned my B.S. in Human Health Sciences, along with a minor in Pubic Health. Before starting at JFCS, I worked alongside drug and alcohol withdrawal patients in a hospital setting and later worked in the surgical center at the university hospital as a nursing station technician.

Drawing from these experiences, I am excited to help develop programing that has a focus on compassion, community education and de-stigmatization. I want to create a space founded in the principles of harm reduction and open communication to support families and our community. Please reach out to me through email at or phone at 952-542-4837 with any questions, ideas, or comments about the new program. I would love to hear from you!