Charles and Family

Dan, the father of 24yo Charles, came to see us for an intervention in September. His son had completed both an inpatient and, after relapsing, an IOP at reputable centers. But, he was unable to stay clean more than a month, at best. He was again using and dealing. He didn’t need more treatment; he needed his family to join him in recovery. Rather than an intervention toward a third program, they all entered recovery through our Family Recovery Program. Four weeks into the program Charles set his adult lifetime record for abstinence, which continues today. Six weeks into the program he had his first legal job in 4 years. The work he was doing with his family-especially with his father, best explained the change. In times past, Charles had sworn to his father with every good brain cell that he was not going to reuse; vowing to do no more harm to himself and family (domestic violence and other legal offenses, etc.).

With the facilitation to grow in their relationships and begin to build coping/relational/conflict-resolution/emotional management skills together around recovery, father and son began to support each other in dealing with the current stresses and past pains; of which there were overwhelming quantities. Whereas in the past, with every fatherly brain cell of Dan’s, he would advise his son, now they both engaged in grieving and an emerging healthy decision-making process together. But, the other family members were also learning the skills that generations of addicts in their families (mother’s and father’s both) had not had to pass down. Both mom and step-mom were growing in their relationships with Charles, and in many other ways. Step-mom and her husband, Dan, were beginning to make headway on their struggles in the marriage, especially with the cessation of Charles drugging and emotional volatility.

The family developed enough caring and problem-solving capacity to address Charles’ mother’s addiction supporting her into recovery. She had just finished an abuse-level treatment program for her drinking; the family watched her drink through the entire program. Though they originally came to help Charles, they were now all growing in a family recovery. Now Charles and his mom were off to attend her first 12-Step meeting. That is recovery power.

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. 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 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.