St. Christopher's is committed to working closely with family members throughout the course of treatment, in all levels of care. Chemical dependency is a family illness; yet, a false notion exists that the family caused the addiction or that they can control it and help "make" the person get sober. Family members are frequently forced into unhealthy roles of enabling their loved ones because they care, yet, this behavior hinders the addict's wellness. Active participation in the recovery process, through healthy visitation, education and counseling, gives the family opportunities to learn different ways to support the person in treatment and in recovery.
Addiction can affect families in an extensive and devastating manner; loved ones are deeply hurt because of the damage inflicted by the addict’s behaviors. Through treatment, families gain knowledge about the disease and learn how to best relate to their addicted loved one through the therapy we provide. The family takes an active role in its own recovery - its own healing - which leads to greater stability and success for all.
There is one simple fact when working with families in addiction treatment: family participation greatly increases the person's chances for recovery.
Goals of The Family Program
- Provide factual information on addiction and families.
- Decrease the family’s response to the chemical dependency.
- Encourage family members to gain their own sources of support.
- Assist families in learning healthy ways to support their loved one’s recovery.
If it’s an individual disease, why work with the family?
(Edwards, J., 2000, Working with Families: Guidelines and Techniques.)
- Because it’s also a family issue: everyone is affected and is forced into an unhealthy role.
- Involving the family motivates the chemically dependent member to recover.
- By the time a family reaches the treatment stage, all members have been emotionally damaged by the ordeal. They need support to begin to recover.
- The family’s reaction to the chemical dependency could be helping maintain it (enabling).
- Treating the family could prevent problems in its children, especially younger ones.
- All members need education about the disease, which could help the family view, and react to, the chemical dependency in a different way.
- When sobriety begins, the family needs help in learning to readjust its patterns of interacting. Ironically, the family needs to learn how to live without a problem.
Primary and Intensive Outpatient Family Program:
New participants in our Primary Treatment program are required to attend one family orientation session prior to participation in Family Programming. The orientation is designed to help you further understand what you may expect from the treatment. Orientation time is scheduled with the client’s primary counselor. Please contact the primary counselor before bringing children under 9 years old. New participants in Intensive Outpatient and Extended Care programs may enter directly into Family Programming.
Group therapy for family members takes place on a weekly basis for Primary and Intensive Outpatient programs. Group times are scheduled with the client’s primary counselor. Please contact the primary counselor before bringing children under 9 years old.
Weekly education groups are held prior to the family group each week for Primary Treatment and on a monthly basis for Intensive Outpatient. These sessions include a lecture or videos on topics related to addiction. Some topics are: The Disease Process of Addiction, Addictive Thinking and Personality, Family Roles in Recovery and the importance of attending AA and Al-Anon meetings. Please contact the primary counselor before bringing children under 9 years old.
The family can expect regular phone updates with the client’s primary counselor (provided that the client signs a release form due to confidentiality laws) to talk about treatment progress, ongoing care plans, and to receive support in the family’s own recovery process. Frequency of phone updates is a minimum of one to two times weekly but is based on the client’s and family’s needs. Our staff is happy to provide employers, the legal system, and other concerned parties with phone and/or written updates provided there is a signed release from the client.
St. Christopher’s provides a 2-day intensive family program (typically during the third week of treatment) for Primary Treatment families. This intensive programming has been an integral part of the success many of our clients and families have had. The program includes education, discussion, group therapy, conjoint therapy (with the client), relapse prevention and planning continuing care. It is an experience that immediate family members and spouses/significant others should not miss. We have seen many clients turn a huge corner in their acceptance of a need for help during this program.
Out of Town Families
Families residing in other states may miss the weekly therapy and education groups. Our staff can arrange these services in the family’s local area with other providers. All families are strongly encouraged to attend the family week.
Al-Anon is a support group for family members of chemically dependent persons. Our program requires that each family member attend a minimum of two meeting prior to the Family Week. Meeting locations in your local area can be found at http://www.al-anonfamilygroups.org/meetings/meeting.html
Long Term Family Program
Families of clients in the Extended Care Recovery House programs will have private conjoint family sessions with the client’s primary therapist. These are typically scheduled one time per month. Topics typically include expectations of the relationship, setting appropriate limits and boundaries, clinical areas of concern, resolving family issues identified during previous family work, helping each client and family member focus on their own recovery, and plans for aftercare following treatment completion.
We highly recommend this list of suggested readings that will provide information and support for the family:
|Codependent No More||Melody Beattie|
|The Language of Letting Go||Melody Beattie|
|Addictive Thinking||Abraham Twerski, MD|
|Boundaries||Anne Katherine, MA|
|Another Chance||Sharon Wegscheider Cruse|
|Adult Children of Alcoholics||Janet Geringer Woititz, Ed.D|
|Drinking: A Love Story||Caroline Knapp|
|Addictive Personalities||Craig Nakken|
|The Lost Years||Kristina Wandzilack|
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.
For more information, please call (225) 490-0999
or call toll free at (877) 782-4747