Why Family Matters…for Healing & Wholeness

Many families assume that once their addicted loved one has begun treatment, the rest of the family is just along for the ride, but this shows a major misunderstanding of treatment and recovery.

During treatment the client experiences tremendous growth. They learn to face feelings, use a new language to express them self, and find healthy ways to cope with changes and challenges. But while the client changes, the family may stay stuck in its old roles, following outdated rules. This maintains the painful system of suffering in silence, which allows addiction to thrive.

To get better, everyone needs to be involved in changing the rules of the game, so addiction isn’t dictating the rules any more. To help facilitate this growth–for everyone–the Center for Recovering Families’ treatment team invites the family into the recovery process. Along with their loved one, family members develop new skills for focusing on growth, discussing differences, and coping in healthy ways. When a family does this, research shows greatly increased success for long-lasting recovery.

Oddly enough, a lot of the healing takes place when family members are not in the same therapy sessions as their loved one in treatment. Starting in separate groups allows everyone to speak freely without worrying about following the old rules and roles of engagement. At the same time, families have the chance to connect with other families who are experiencing similar feelings and processes. This provides a safe place to learn empowering recovery language, establish goals for the future, and overcome the pain of the past.

Celebrating Recovery Together

A Message from Mel Taylor
President & CEO, The Council on Recovery
National Recovery Month has arrived–with one of our favorite themes: “Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!” highlights the importance of families, communities, and individuals sharing stories of recovery. Unity in the family and community is an important part of The Council’s mission to “keep our community healthy, productive and safe…” In fact, the Center for Recovering Families focuses on family healing as a crucial path to reaching the “wholeness” that comes with true, lifelong recovery.

One of the clearest analogies for family healing is a mobile, like those attached to a baby’s crib. All the pieces need to be balanced and weighted evenly in order for the mobile to work properly. Similarly, a family functions more fully when all family members develop skills for facing their feelings and expressing themselves in healthy ways that lead to balance and wholeness.

Achieving this balance, as an individual or a family, is not as simple as fixing a child’s mobile. It is a long-term process where the journey is as important as the outcome. And looking back, one often sees that each step along the path is what the journey is truly about.

We encourage all of you to participate in Addicted to Comedy, the Run for Recovery or any of the many celebrations this month that will bring individuals, families, and organizations together in support of recovery. Join us in celebrating the joy, freedom, peace and healing that accompany the process of recovery from addiction.

Back to School – Are You Ready?

It’s hard to believe the summer is coming to an end.  As we enter August we are bombarded with ads and reminders that school is about to resume, and what we need to do to prepare.  But preparing for school is about more than buying new notebooks, backpacks and pencils.  Just like any major adjustment in routine and setting, it is going to cause some stress, so helping our children prepare their minds and bodies for the new demands is key to a smooth transition.  Here are some simple ways to help youth practice “self-care” and enter the new school year with confidence!

As youth function better with routines, start practicing your school year routines now, before school starts.  You can bet that imposing a schedule when your child is still in “summer mode” can be a real challenge, so it’s better to start now!  Begin to make evening meal times and bed times more routine.  If the family has been scattered and eating out frequently this summer, begin to shift back to regular family dinner time.  It is a proven fact that family meals help prevent high-risk behavior in teens, and encourage discipline and balance.  They also make it easier to warm kids up to unpopular but important discussions, like an agreed-upon homework schedule and clear expectations for the school year.  Having those conversations ahead of time allows young people to set their own goals as well, and “warm up” their executive functioning skills before the real work begins.

Above all else, frequent communication and conversation is more key than ever during the month of August.  Keep kids close by, and invite them to share their concerns.  Talk to your kids about smoking, drinking, drugs, and other risky behavior, and make sure they know that you are there to help them get back on track through good self-care and healthy choices, especially in times of stress.  As a parent myself, I know that my ability to empower my child with a sense of self-confidence and a solid “game plan” going into the new school year helped us to have a successful and rewarding high school experience.  Knowing you’ve got their back, your children will find it easier to say no to peer pressures and unhealthy choices.

Feeling overwhelmed by all this?  Parents need support too!

Join us for our Back-to-School Workshop on August 5th.  We’ll update you on the latest trends in risky behaviors such as drugs of abuse, and how to help your child respond to social and environmental pressure with more knowledge and confidence.  This workshop will prepare you to partner effectively with your kids this upcoming year and ensure their health, safety and success!

Mel Taylor
President & CEO, The Council on Recovery