When addiction has impacted a family’s dynamics, the family’s recovery is critical to the success of an addict’s recovery. The Walker Center’s unique emphasis on family recovery reflects our holistic approach to addiction treatment. One of the most powerful components of our residential treatment program is the Family Program—a three-day, mid-program experience where families learn about addiction, start the communication process with their loved one, and develop plans for continued care. The following discussion explains why family recovery plans are crucial to mending relationships and creating a new life for the addict.
Glimpse into the treatment experience
When family members attend Family Program, we help them digest what their loved one is experiencing in treatment. We teach the science of addiction to help the family understand the mindset of an addict and come to terms with the challenges of recovery. One of the misperceptions about treatment is believing that an addict returns home “fixed.” Since addiction is a life-long disease, treatment doesn’t eradicate someone’s addiction. Instead, it gives the addict tools to manage cravings in healthy ways and clean up the wreckage their addiction may have caused. Family Program helps families prepare for how an addict will think and behave after treatment, painting a more realistic picture of the recovery journey.
Starting the communication process
When an addict is going through treatment, that person is learning to accept their powerlessness over drugs and alcohol, take responsibility for pain they have caused, and repair damaged relationships. One of the communication lessons we teach addicts is to avoid making empty promises. Someone who struggles with addiction has likely made previous attempts to cut off substance abuse or vows to stay sober, only to relapse and disappoint their loved ones. In many situations, the addict has lost connection with family members or broken too many promises to keep their trust.
Since we know how painful those conversations can be, we use Family Program to create a safe space to address those issues and teach everyone constructive ways to communicate. With the guidance of our counselors on staff, we partner with families to talk through past experiences and address the dysfunction that lies in their relationships. By beginning these conversations during treatment, the family can better anticipate what to expect in the aftermath.
Planning for continued care
Family Program teaches the family about recovery planning and continued care. During treatment, each day holds a full schedule with classes, group sessions, and activities, keeping residents occupied and focused throughout the day. Once an addict is discharged from treatment, it’s crucial to have structure in place to be intentional about recovery and avoid losing ground. When addicts lack structure in their schedule, they struggle to stay sober. We encourage family members to prioritize Al-Anon meetings and commit to continued counseling and health services. Providing that education and guidance helps families feel equipped on how to support their loved ones and help them keep their commitments.
Is your loved one in need of addiction treatment? Learn how to approach them about getting help.
Review our family recovery plan forms by clicking on the buttons below: