Structured Family Recovery

Rebuilding Trust

A letter from one of our readers…

Dear Jeff and Debra,

Our adult daughter’s life has been shattered by addiction, causing hurt and harm to everyone around her. She’s been through residential treatment twice, and is now living in a sober house, far from home. She asking us to trust her and allow her to come back to live with us, but we’re not sure what to do. How will we know when we can trust her?

Wary Parents

 

Dear Wary,

Your daughter is making a common mistake in asking you to trust her, and you are making a similar mistake in pondering the question. She is pulling at your heartstrings and asking for a favor. In most circumstances, her request might be reasonable, but in light of her addiction it could have life or death consequences.

 

Your daughter’s question shouldn’t be, “when are you going to trust me?” Her question should be, “What am I doing to become trustworthy?” As parents you are naturally wary based on your experience with her relapses. We can only imagine the havoc her addiction may have already caused in the life of the family. You are right to be cautious.

 

Like many things in life, recovery from addiction is the result of right actions maintained consistently over a sustained period of time. If someone has a broken leg, the bone must be set, the cast must be worn, physical therapy must take place, and so on. There is a natural healing process that must take place with a broken leg, and if the process is interrupted, the leg may be worse than it was before.

 

Similarly, your daughter must follow the recommendations of her treatment team. She must stay in a structured environment, continue her Twelve Step meetings, attend counseling sessions, and work an active program of recovery. It is up to her to rebuild trust by following the directions and achieving realistic goals. There’s work for you to do, as well. Follow the directions in the book, “It Takes a Family,” (Hazelden, 2014) and learn how you can support her progress. By building a culture of recovery in the family, trust can be rebuilt on both sides of the equation.

 

This post originally appeared in the Grosse Pointe News

Helping Our Son

A letter from one of our readers…

Dear Jeff and Debra,

Our teenage son is on the road to recovery from problems with prescription pain killers. How can we learn how to be supportive, beyond the basics we learned from his treatment providers?

—Pensive Parents

Dear Pensive,

Your question is important, because most families (and most patients in treatment) underestimate what will be required to maintain long-term recovery. Treatment is just the beginning of the process, a launching padfor recovery. In treatment, the acute phase of the illness is arrested through detox and stabilization, followed by counseling and education, which lay  groundwork for the months and years of recovery ahead.

 

Most good treatment providers have family programs, but they are brief and don’t prepare parents for the difficulties that may lie ahead, especially the specter of relapse. Families can play an active and positive role in recovery, which is critical after treatment has concluded.

 

It Takes a Family, by Debra JayHazelden recently published “It Takes a Family: A Co-operative Approach to Lasting Sobriety,” by Debra Jay. This book lays out a year-long program for families and their addicted loved ones called Structured Family Recovery™ (SFR). The SFR system is based on weekly conferences, led by a trained SFR counselor, that promote recovery, prevent relapse, prioritize issues and provide a common language of recovery.

 

Togetherness creates transparency and positive accountability in a manner that prevents addiction from regaining control. In the past, families were often sidelined in the recovery process, but this new approach puts family members back in the picture, so relapse is avoided and the family is once again united.

 

This post originally appeared in the Grosse Pointe News

 

Success doesn’t come magically or accidentally. It is a result of what we do. The same can be said of failure. Usually it is a small change in one direction or the other that determines if we win or lose. Structured Family Recovery helps us make the correct choices and then steadily keeps us on course over time. ––Debra Jay, “It Takes a Family”