Trust The Process

A letter from one of our readers…

Dear Jeff and Debra,

I’m feeling overwhelmed. I finally got my wife into a residential treatment program for her alcoholism, but I’m being asked to go to Al-Anon and begin something called Structured Family Recovery. In addition, I’m supposed to work a program of some kind myself, and stop enabling. It seems like too much. Haven’t I done enough?
– Harried Husband

Dear Harried,

Treatment is a launching pad, not a cure-all. It may feel like you’ve reached the goal line by getting your wife into treatment, but it’s really just the beginning of the process.

Helping your loved one get meaningful help is a huge accomplishment—for both of you. It means closing the door on active addiction and stepping out into the world of recovery. The biggest mistake families can make, however, is thinking that their addicted
loved one is the only one who has to make changes. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The myth that only the addict has to change is encouraged by the healthcare system. Most treatment programs leave the family under-served, focusing almost exclusively on the identified patient. Yet everyone comes home to family, so if there haven’t been changes at home, the addicted person is likely to revert back to their old behavior.

One new solution is mentioned in your query, and it comes out of a book called “It Takes a Family.” By building a culture of recovery at home, a new environment can be created, which will tip the balance in favor of success. For family members, it’s not just a matter of learning new behaviors, it’s a specific program of action action.

The suggestions you’re getting about attending Al-Anon and embracing a program of recovery are right on the mark. When your wife sees that you’re doing your own work, it will be almost impossible for her to remain stagnant.

Families often form and intervention team to get their loved one in treatment. For the best result, they must then continue as a recovery team. Making time for meetings and phone conferences can be challenging, but what is the alternative? Backsliding isn’t an option. You need to trust the process and keep moving forward, one step at a time.

Jeff Jay and Debra Jay have helped families overcome addiction for more
than 30 years. Their best-selling book, “Love First,” is a standard in the field of
recovery. Jeff and Debra live in Grosse Pointe Farms and their website is:

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