While addiction rehab family programs are often staffed with professionals who manage family interventions skillfully and with great compassion, the family’s role in enabling addict’s behavior is a real phenomenon with real consequences to the addict and, in fact, the entire family.
Because addiction is a family disease, it’s important to take a look at the family program of any facility where a loved one may complete treatment. There are key elements to look for.
The program should be for family, close friends and partners of the addict and should at a minimum include the following:
- Group and one-on-one counseling — These sessions take place with family members on an individual basis as well as in a group counseling setting.
- Education about co-dependency — In essence, co-dependency is a set of unhealthy behaviors that develop as coping behaviors that ultimately enable the addict. These behaviors can contribute to continued using and must be understood by those close to the addict.
- Education about addiction — Someone who is not addicted often has a tough time understanding what causes addiction in another. It may be that they consider addiction to be a moral failure. Some may show anger, disgust or disdain for the addict. Without treatment, family members can inadvertently contribute to a relapse without ever intending to. Learning about addiction is a critical part of any family recovery program.
- Practice in recognizing unhealthy habits and learning healthy ones — a good program will spend some time going over family practices that may contribute to the addict’s lack of functionality.
- Help building an ongoing support network — Treatment is just the beginning and families need to know whom they can talk to when the going gets rough. The treatment program should provide this service while introducing families to each other, so there is not so much isolation for individual family members.
- Social activities — many family recovery programs include barbecues or picnics or some other group activities designed as a low-stress way for people to meet others who have similar challenges. This eases isolation and may provide an avenue for friendships and support to develop.
- Introduction to 12-step meetings — either as part of the intensive or family recovery program, all attendees should get introduced to 12-step programs designed for co-dependents, families, and friends of recovering addicts. Participants should be encouraged to begin attending these groups even before their loved one is released from treatment.
If you are looking at a program that does not provide an addiction rehab family program, you would be well advised to continue your search. An addict who returns to the same family without a family program does not have a strong chance of sobriety.
Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction. (2016, July). Retrieved November, 2016.