Brian and Sharon

(Pseudonyms, of course)

We first worked with Sharon as she reached for help getting her younger sister into treatment. Using our criteria for invitation, her sister Candy came to the first session with Sharon. Without an unnecessary confrontation, a tremendous amount of trust was build between counselor and the sisters. Enough for Candy to realize that her drug use was very severe; she had lost her ability to work, her husband, her 12 yo child, and there were constant struggles between she as a 26 yo gal and her parents; who were providing money and some of the care for Candy’s son. With Candy not arriving to the second session, there was no reason to despair. Because we use research-grounded guidance, we knew how to continue to support the entire family in moving forward. Today Candy is working and clean almost one year; her adult record for sobriety, while seeing her son regularly, and happy. But, there was more need for family recovery. Sharon next asked for help with her husband’s drinking and opiate use.

Brian had been to treatment at a reputable agency 2 years before. He had been clean and sober the first 6-8 months. But since then, it was a constant cycle of marital discord, periods of abstinence, relapse, discord, and anguish. Brian and his family had not received support for healing and recovery from this family disease. Just as they were about to enter our Family Recovery Program, he relapsed again. Being overly cautious, we had Brian enter an IOP at another agency to insure that he had the skills, knowledge, and internal support to maintain abstinence. That set into motion a 6 month process of him being in treatment, aborting treatment and relapse as we delayed the family component. More treatment-without comprehensive support for family recovery and healing-did not work. The day we moved ahead with the Family Recovery Program, things changed.

Brian and Sharon immediately began to pick up the communication skills they needed to deal with the challenges of parenting their first-grade son, contending with Brian’s hepatitis C, her job changes, and much more. Nearly a year later now, Brian has established his longest period of adult sobriety and they continue to work hard supporting each other’s recoveries. The skills they use every day are readily apparent. When he got laid of at a new job they had moved away for, Sharon was scared to death relapse was arriving. But, each day they used the skills and found they had what they needed to work together to solve the mounting challenges.

Though the program is available both in family group (including individual family sessions) and only individual family formats, the skills are the same. Reported results are usually immediate. We do not use videos or long lectures as this is not a family education program. Family education helps families only to the degree addiction-education alone helps addicts recover. This is a potent skill-building recovery program for addicts with families and those struggling with co-dependency. In an affirming and enjoyable atmosphere, we explicitly model and guide acquisition of healthy skills while adjusting structural family relationship problems. The skills are also consistent with findings and recommendations from drug prevention research for children. This is a perfect aftercare program for addicts with families. Many addicts arrest their relapse by bringing their families into recovery with us. Both UA and 12-Step are fundamental components.

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.