Family work is a critical supplement to any recovery treatment program for adolescents and young adults. Parents of kids in treatment for addiction and other behavioral or mental health issues might need guidance for creating a supportive home for their kids. Many of us hope that getting the affected individual in treatment will be enough. However, without family involvement, treatment does not work as effectively for the troubled child.
It’s Not About Assigning Blame
Some families and parents are concerned that family work is about assigning blame; it is not. Blame is not conducive to recovery. In the past, therapists may have asked prodded clients with “tell me about your upbringing; what were your mother and father like?” However, blame is not a part of family work and treatment. Family work focuses on finding solutions that can best help your child find success in recovery.
Who Is Involved in Family Work?
Generally, family work is for the immediate family or the “household,” meaning parents, siblings, and anyone else in the home. However, family work can also involve anyone who is important to your child and family. Fire Mountain Residential Treatment in the Colorado Rockies invites other extended family members, family friends, and concerned relatives to take part in planning. After all, you might have other important people in your life, like a neighbor who watches your home when you are not around or a grandparent who helps with your kids.
After-Care and the Role of the Family
After-care is a critical part of the treatment process. Recovery is a lifelong journey and after-care involves continuing treatment following a stay within a facility. Treatment planning for after-care should begin while your child is in active treatment. Bringing the family into the process helps by:
- Having more “eyes and ears” helps mitigate a crisis or relapse in the early stages of recovery.
- By having family members aware of the issues at hand, any slip can be noticed and handled quickly before getting much worse.
- Prevention and proactive strategies can help your family remain stable and happy. Rather than resorting to “reactive” strategies or “putting out fires,” your family can learn to prevent the fire from occurring!
6 Stages of Family Work
During a conversation with Fire Mountain’s Aaron Huey, parent and family coach Jeff Jones outlines the six stages families go through during addiction and recovery:
- The family is aware that something is different or “feels off” within the family or with one family member.
- Nothing specific is identified; however, something feels wrong in the home.
- During this stage, the family may gloss over some of the issues, thinking that problems will fix themselves or just go away on their own.
- Problems appear to be more easily identifiable.
- The worry turns to concern, as family members think that things are going to get worse.
- Now, something has happened that shows the problem is real and getting out of control.
- During this stage, a family is reacting to what has occurred.
- The crisis could range from a child getting drunk at a party, needing medical attention, having trouble at school, or getting law enforcement involved.
- This stage can be referred to as “the conversation.”
- The conversation can be aided by a professional interventionist or done by one or more family members.
- A family meeting might be held to discuss the current crisis and the steps needed to make positive changes.
- This is the treatment stage of recovery, where the initial work gets done.
- As the child with addiction is in treatment, the family can begin their work as well.
- What a person learned during treatment now needs to be applied to life outside of the facility.
- This stage is where the family and the person in recovery apply their skills to understand triggers, warning signs, and impulse control.
- The focus of recovery and family work is to find “proactive strategies” that prevent further crises and promote growth.
Collaboration, Coordination, and Compassion
At the crux of all these strategies, a family is bound by love. When a family collaborates to help a member who is struggling, they express their love and concern for that person. They coordinate and plan strategies to help the whole family grow and find happiness. Each family member shows compassion and empathy for one another as they engage in the process of recovery and family work. Family work involves supporting the success of each member of your family.
Family work is critical in the recovery process. If your kid struggles with addiction, they have a much better chance of success if the entire family is involved in the process. Family work is not about finding fault with anyone or blaming anyone in the family for the current crisis. Instead, family work focuses on seeking solutions, building skills, and promoting the prevention of further crises. All family members tend to react to the situation of one or more other members. Siblings might adopt maladaptive behaviors to cope with the problem, or they may feel lost as their parents are always “putting out fires.” Family work addresses these issues to help you create a supportive home environment in which your entire family can thrive. If you need more information on how to help your family, Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center is here for you. We firmly believe that families play an essential role in the recovery process. We host workshops for parents, provide tips and advice, and involve the entire family in the treatment planning for after-care. Call us today at (303) 443-3343. We’re here to help your family’s fire burn brightest.