Bonnie and Family

Bonnie (a pseudonym) is a mid-20s gal who had accumulated 2 DUIs and another arrest, two car crashes with associated serious injuries, lots of jail-time, her family’s anger and frustration, and a list of 20+ medications to treat her chronic neuropathy and other medical conditions. Having worked with four medication care providers, she was distraught that the only one who had truly helped her manage the pain had relocated out of the Northwest. She was suicidally frustrated and drinking herself deeper and deeper. Her loving family called us in fear she was going to die. She was still attending the monthly meetings at her latest treatment program from the last DUI. She had been drinking her way through it. Though a family disease, there had not once been an invitation from her CD treatment programs to have her family enter recovery with her.

Bonnie was resistant to yet another addiction program and naturally was reluctant to let her family drag her into this one. Though she was in her late 20s, her coping skills had not advanced since she was in middle school. But, the family was not going to watch her continue to deteriorate despite she having been in two programs before. As with almost all families in the Family Recovery Program, once beginning to learn the skills in the first two sessions, they could visually see the results. Over nine months she and her brother, mom, dad, and boyfriend build competence in coping/relational/conflict-resolution/emotional management skills together around recovery. Her drinking sharply declined as her family successfully supported her and each other in dealing with life.

Bonnie was soon beginning to effectively problem-solve the many struggles in her life. She began using better pain management strategies, obtained a new health care provider, pursuing personal and relationship goals, and got herself into college; all this while getting off the anti-anxiety medications she had been put on. She and her boyfriend Bob used the skills they learned to begin to problem-solve the deluge of issues that had stored up, rather than fighting about her drug use. Bob began to deal with his past life and the abandonment from his birth family. Though they had come to help Bonnie, they each got help. Bonnie’s mom’s depression lifted. Her brother finally started coming out of his protective shell and made progress in developing meaningful social relationships.

Bonnie’s father, having grown up in an emotionally sterile family, was now recognizing, valuing, developing, and modeling healthy emotionality within his family. Now he had therapeutic support to risk breaking his family of origin’s cultural norms of keeping emotions private, freeing his family to grow closer together. They originally came to the Family Recovery Program to help Bonnie stay alive and find a successful recovery. However, each family member found they were developing a healthy intimacy within a family recovery process.

What many addicts in relapse need is not more treatment, but family recovery addressing the issues fueling relapse. Due to demand, in the last year we have increased our discrete offerings serving CD and mental health counselors with their personal family recoveries.