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Family Program: What to Expect 

Family Program: What to Expect 

Visiting a loved one in addiction treatment may feel intimidating. Rest assured, the family program opens up communication, provides a deeper understanding of addiction, and guides participants to create a recovery plan for life after treatment. Family programs often run two to three days and empower both addicts and their loved ones to build a new foundation for a sober future. The daily schedule generally includes informational sessions, group and individual activities and counseling, and one meal.

Addiction damages trust and communication, often leaving friends and family of the addict overwhelmed by feelings of anger, resentment, anxiety, sadness, guilt, and fear. Having the opportunity to express the impacts felt can lift a heavy burden. The program activities and program staff enable the explorations of these difficult feelings and experiences, allowing participants to see a brighter future. In the family program setting you are surrounded by people who understand well what you are going through and by facilitators who have the tools, expertise, and experience to help. 

Relationships rely on communication. We need healthy clear communication to express needs, resolve conflict, navigate compromise, and establish boundaries. Talking about addiction is hard. Talking about addiction with the addict in your life may feel impossible. Sorting out deep emotions while facing a future that feels very uncertain is overwhelming. Communication is key to addressing the past and navigating the present. During a family program the addiction treatment center staff guide participants as they develop new ways to talk about addiction and its affects. The damage done to relationships can heal. Relationships can grow and become stronger. 

Drug and alcohol addiction affect the emotions, health, finances, relationships and well-being of all those involved. For the addict physical and mental health suffer deep impacts. Family programs provide education on how drugs impact the brain and body. Addiction consumes an addict’s life until they get the help they need. You will learn about the disease of addiction and gain some insight into what it takes for an addict to maintain their sobriety. 

As a loved one of an addict you will come to know three important things about addiction: You did not cause it, you can not control it, and you can not cure it.

The weekend culminates with each participant creating a plan that identifies their personal goals with actions to address each one. Loving an addict often causes you to lose sight of your own needs and boundaries. Focusing on your own physical and mental health lead to happier more fulfilling days. You will learn about resources and support services you can find and how to access them. Switching your focus from the addict to yourself re-balances your life. Practicing self-care and knowing where to find support allow you to rediscover hope and contentment.

Generally, participation in the program is complimentary for one support person, with a fee for each addition person. This varies from program to program, so be sure to ask. Programs are held on certain dates each month or every other month. Most family programs run a few days with one meal included each day. Participants are responsible for their own travel, hotel and other meals. You will have the opportunity to see your loved one each day and get to know the staff of the center. You will leave the addiction family program knowing what both you and the addict you love need for a healthy sober life.

Joe Eisele, CACIII, NCAC
Joe is the Clinical Director at InnerBalance Health Center and has been helping achieve lifelong sobriety incorporating biochemical restoration and holistic addiction treatment for over 30 years.