Return to True Stories of Family Recovery



Ken had finally gotten arrested for a theft from many he had used to fund his drug use.  Now with a felony, he was motivated to try to get drug free.   He characterized his required inpatient treatment as helpful, but was hard-pressed to relate how it supported change in him to be drug free.  He was content to try an intensive outpatient program, but eager to see what would happen with his family involved in counseling sessions with him for the first time.

It made sense to him to have his family engage as his brother was his job supervisor, in his mother’s business and he had contact with his dad at least every week; while they all worried about his drug-using sister.  So, even though the other family members could not attend every family session, change was dramatic.

In the first session his mother sobbed and spoke of her desire to change and learn what he needed to be drug free.  In the second session his father realized more how his own childhood had limited him his entire life, and as a father.  But, as engaging as these had been, there was additional transformational change experienced in the third session as Ken revealed his recent relapse to his mother.  In traditional treatment this would have been addressed by looking at triggers and alternative behaviors, devoid of family support or involvement.  However, halfway through the session he and his mother began to debrief the argument they had in the car coming to the center. Mom had angrily criticized him for not moving forward on his divorce so she could get him on her health insurance.  With the safety they built in the previous two sessions, in this session he was now able to share with his mother how he had tried to get the divorce papers going.  He recounted how when taking the papers to his estranged-wife, he found her intoxicated on alcohol.  Not only was Ken unable to get the needed signature, he drank too.  Then, another incident a week later that included cocaine, with a total loss of memory for such.  Mom had come to the session suspecting relapse, but now she better understood her son and his struggles to handle life and cope.

For the remainder of the session, Ken was the beneficiary of his mother changing how she tries to support his recovery, while she gained from him an understanding of his addiction and struggles.  They lovingly negotiated how they will do things differently—not for him—but for each other.  Family-centered addiction recovery supports the health of each family member; improving the capacity of the family to support each member in recovering from the harm of the drugs:  healing addiction through the family.

No other treatment centers in the Inland Northwest have the capacity to work with the multiple addictions and benefit all family members as do ours.