The staff at Livengrin Family Services is ready to assist families with the difficulties of coping with a loved one in treatment, and throughout the recovery process.
We know from experience and research that the family needs to recover from the addiction along with the patient. They're usually carrying frustration, guilt, anger, disappointment, fear.
Commonly, family members adjust their own thinking and behavior to deal with that of the addicted person. They may have dealt with the patient's behavior for years. They cope, rationalize, avoid confrontation (or perhaps instigate it), give up trying to help, threaten penalties, or go through many other responses over time. This is natural and understandable.
Often, family members and loved ones feel powerless to stop the continued downward spiral of drug and alcohol abuse. In some cases, they have become "enablers" by hoping that the problem will go away or cure itself. Or, as we too often read in the news, a parent provides something "light" (such as beer) to teenagers at a party in a false hope that this will help them stay off of more potent drinks or drugs.
As one counselor puts it, "Begging, pleading, bargaining and threats are all useless in the family's attempt to prevent their loved one from destroying himself or herself. They have no understanding how a person who is supposed to love them can hurt them so much. As a result, they often feel responsible for their loved one's substance abuse."
When the patient does return home from treatment (feeling better and more confident about their ability to apply new life-skills), how can anyone expect the family to simply feel equally well? What happens to the fear and anxieties, the patterns of thinking, the distrust and sadness that had built up over those months and years? Just because "Charlie" is better, what about the frustration and emotions that everyone else still carries? These are the important issues tackled by the clinical team.
Family members begin with a "Significant Person Questionnaire," completed by those that bring a potential patient into the facility. The responses allow a family therapist, while meeting with the loved ones (often while the patient is going through intake), to inform them about what they'll soon be going through as treatment proceeds and recovery begins.
Then comes the major component, the "Day of Enlightenment."
This program is available on Saturday morning (followed by the general weekly visiting time in the afternoon), and also on Wednesday evenings. It's a vitally important tool that helps the family learn and adjust their thinking and feelings, to prepare (as does the patient) for what everyone hopes will be a newly-sober life.
Loved ones will learn how to take care of themselves, how to stop their own enabling behaviors, and how to help the patient adapt to a life without drugs or alcohol. The family therapist will help you understand the background of addiction – the genetic, biological, environmental and other aspects of the disease.
With these and other support programs, family members learn that they are not at fault, and that it's important to acquire the tools and understanding needed to protect themselves from possible future emotional hurts. We let them know that they can heal and grow as a family again, no matter what the addict or alcoholic in their life may do.
Contact the Family Program via email: firstname.lastname@example.org