Family Welcome Kit
Addiction destroys families as much as it destroys the addict. Living with an addict is not easy! It is heartbreaking and exhausting to witness someone you love suffer from a chemical addiction. This is especially true when you realize how powerless you are to help. Often a family is torn apart interpreting between the blurred line of helping an addict and being controlled by the addict. Although, many times, addiction is a family disease. You did not cause the addiction, you cannot control the addiction, and you cannot cure the addiction, but the damages caused by the addiction can be healed. You may ask yourself why your involvement is important when you are not the one addicted. We have found that being involved as a family is a positive way to move toward recovery. Your addict family member needs your support to stay in treatment and complete the process they started. Families become disconnected and do not realize that the addiction has affected the relationships within their family system. Being informed through the treatment process will reconnect and heal the family.
Addiction is defined as a disease by most medical associations including the American Medical Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Like diabetes, cancer and heart disease, addiction is caused by a combination of behavioral, environmental and biological factors. Genetic risk factors account for about half of the likelihood that an individual will develop addiction. Addiction involves changes in the functioning of the brain and body. Changes may be brought on by risky substance use or may pre-exist. The consequences of untreated addiction often include other physical and mental health disorders that require medical attention. If left untreated over time, addiction becomes more severe, disabling and life threatening. Addiction has also been defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive, behaviors.
The initial and early decisions to use substances reflect a person’s free or conscious choice. However, once the brain has been changed by addiction or altered, that choice or willpower becomes impaired. Perhaps the most defining symptom of addiction as loss of control over substance use.
The initial decision to take drugs is mostly voluntary. However, when addiction takes over, a person’s ability to exert self-control can become seriously impaired. Brain-imaging studies from people addicted to drugs show physical changes in areas of the brain that are critical for judgment, decision making, learning, memory, and behavior control. Scientists believe that these changes alter the way the brain works and may help explain the compulsive and destructive behaviors of an addicted person.
No! The chronic nature of addiction means that relapsing is not only possible, but likely. Contrarily, some can get it on the first round of treatment with hard work and dedication.. Relapse rates are like those for other well-characterized chronic medical illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma, which also have both physiological and behavioral components. Treatment of chronic diseases involves changing deeply imbedded behaviors. For the addicted patient, lapses back to drug use indicate that treatment needs to be reinstated or adjusted, or that alternate treatment is needed.
Post-acute withdrawal feels like a rollercoaster of symptoms. In the beginning, your loved one’s symptoms will change minute to minute and hour to hour. Later, as they recover further, they will disappear for a few weeks or months only to return. As recovery continues the good stretches will get longer and longer. However, the bad periods of post-acute withdrawal can be just as intense and last just as long. Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms can include:
• Mood swings, anxiety, irritability
• Tiredness, variable energy, low enthusiasm
• Variable concentration
• Disturbed sleep
• Physical illness including vomiting and diarrhea
Detox – The focus during this time is to safely and, if necessary, medically detox the individual off all substances. Each client’s specific needs will be determined by medical staff. During this level of care and phase of treatment, you can expect your loved one to be in a “black out period.” This “black out period” is a seven-day period when they will not have access to phone usage. Clients do not have access to their cell phones until 72 hours after transition to phase 2. In this phase of early abstinence, your loved one will be experiencing ambivalence about recovery and may feel unsure at times about giving up all substances and could be resistant to treatment. This is all normal feelings during this stage.
Phase 1 – This phase occurs after establishing abstinence and completing the detox protocol. At this point, the client can feel emotionally fragile, overwhelmed and potentially confused. On the flip side, the individual may feel elation or experience a “pink cloud” of happiness to finally be free of the chemicals that have
brought so much misery. Once the substance is taken away, it can be difficult to initially establish new, healthier ways of coping. For this reason, your loved one will develop a Treatment Plan. This plan will establish and recommend treatment goals to focus on immediate, solvable problems like preventing relapse and managing cravings. In this phase, you are likely to receive calls from your loved one asking to come home. This is where you are called upon to be a part of your loved one’s support system to help the loved one stay engaged in the treatment process. Your loved one may be participating in more emotionally difficult steps in therapy such as discussing the underlying causes of the substance use and may be resistant to the feelings that this will cause and will rely on “old patterns” to potentially manipulate their way out of the painful feelings and try to leave treatment. You are called upon to remain vigilant and strong and support your loved one to remain in treatment and complete his/her treatment goals.
Phase 2 – Once abstinence has been established, the therapy process can move more toward recognition of how the substance has negatively impacted the individual’s life. In this phase, the client will be moved into another living condition and will face change and be asked to use their newly found coping skills in the confines of the treatment environment. During this phase, new life skills and coping mechanisms are introduced at a more advanced rate. During this phase, the individual may experience a feeling of being “cured” or feeling like they are ready to leave treatment. It is critical at this time, that family and friends be resolute in maintaining a boundary that the loved one remain in treatment to complete the treatment plan. The behavioral therapy that is received in Phase 2 is crucial to help the individual avoid relapse in the future. During this phase, it is suggested that clients begin the search for a sponsor at 12-step meetings. The client will receive a cell phone during this phase from 4pm-10pm daily in order to learn to deal with triggers caused by social media and and media in general.
We know that your loved one may arrive with a myriad of problems. That’s why our name is Solution Based Treatment. As a comprehensive team, we will work together to focus on the solutions that your family member needs to work towards a life of recovery. Here is a brief list of services they will receive:
• Individual Counseling/Therapy – at least once a week your loved one will meet 1:1 with a Substance Abuse counselor and therapist
• Group Counseling – daily your loved one will attend Substance Abuse groups
• Substance Abuse Education and Treatment – in an individual and group setting
• Relapse Prevention Education
• Social and Recreational Activities
• Wellness and Exercise
• Discharge Planning
• Referral Services
Solution Based Treatment maintains the following staff for our clients:
• MD & P.A.
• LVN, CMA, CNA
• Therapists – clients receive a 1:1 session at least once per week with their therapist
• Substance Abuse Counselors – run groups; conduct 1:1 session at least once per week
• Client Care Coordinator – FMLA/disability; arrange resources for clients
• Behavioral Health Technicians – with clients around the clock for monitoring and support
• Experienced Chefs – provide healthy meals for clients (Detox & Phase 1 ONLY)
Solution Based Treatment has a staff-to-client ratio of 1:2; which is rare in our industry. Our team of dedicated staff members are focused on your loved one. The time will come when your loved one will call you with a problem that they think cannot be solved. Please reach back to us and our team to assist in looking for the solution to that issue. It is again critical that you encourage the individual to stay the course and allow the process to work.
Encourage and insist upon total abstinence from all drugs including alcohol and marijuana. Staying away from all drug use is the safest and most practical choice.
Encourage your loved one to continue using the coping skills they have learned in treatment. Our clients are given referrals to therapists and outpatient treatment centers in their areas when they discharge from our facility. Ongoing attendance at 12-step meetings is highly recommended as well.
Reduce family friction and try not to rehash old hurts. It is suggested that families develop good communication skills that minimize tension and maximize constructive support by being flexible and resourceful in the face of problems. Let one another know how much you care and spend positive time together that is rewarding for everyone.
Above all, keep hope alive. Family members can offer support by firmly believing in their loved one’s ability to stay clean and to get better. Such hope can be powerful in the healing process for each family.
While your loved one is in treatment, they will be attending AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings. It is suggested that family members and other supporters of addicts attend Al-Anon and/or Nar- Anon meetings. These are the family versions of AA and NA meetings designed to share experiences in a safe, non-judgmental environment with families who share your same struggles. Family support groups help you cope with and overcome this period in life through the support of your own family and families in similar situations by using a 12-step approach. Some benefits of 12-Step Meetings are:
• Overcoming denial of addiction—you can see that addiction can affect anyone. Sometimes it takes seeing other people going through the same thing to understand that you are not alone.
• Perception of recovery—Recovery may seem like a far-fetched idea. You will meet people who are recovering from addiction and have rebuilt their lives and families from the ground up.
• 12-step meetings are a resource—You will learn how to handle life’s situations in a healthy and positive way, overcome the overwhelming urge to use; with people who understand.
• Non-judgmental environment—When you join a 12-step group you are surrounded by people who have heard it before, done it before and know that you are not crazy because of the things you think, say or do when you or a loved one are using. They understand addiction.
• Safe harbor from daily stress—If you’ve had a bad day, you can go to a meeting. You will be reminded that troubles are a part of life and that we all share them; just as we do joy and happiness. Meetings are a wonderful resource for gratitude and recharging hope.
The individual stops doing what they need to do to stay clean – your loved one stops going to meetings, misses therapy or counseling sessions or says they are “cured” and doesn’t need to go anymore.
They may start recalling past drug use as “the good times” while not acknowledging any negative consequences from their use.
Your loved one may have a sudden mood change or start acting more selfish, similar to when they were using.
The individual starts talking about the “one drink” or “one hit” would be okay and this small amount would not affect their recovery.
They may rekindle friendships with those who use.
They may be defensive if anyone brings up changes in their behavior and actions.
Your loved one pulls away from the things and people that keep them balanced and away from drug use. They may begin lying or hiding what is going on.
Changing behavior usually takes time. By starting with changing one behavior you and your family are more likely to experience success in changing more. With each single success, you and your family will be encouraged to tackle other challenges and to continue making additional healthy changes.
Relapse prevention begins with the creation of a detailed discharge plan. This plan provides clients with the resources they need to make a successful transition out of the Solution Based facility and into their everyday life. The hallmark of our relapse prevention program is the development of the relapse prevention plan. Therapists and counselors can recommend some meaningful prevention exercises and other ways for clients to protect their recovery long after they leave our facility. Learning healthy ways to combat stress and negativity can strengthen the process as clients maintain recovery.
Thank you for choosing our facility to begin your journey in recovery. Our hope is that this module has given you some information and tools to make the process easier and help you feel a part of the team on the journey with your loved one. Please know that your loved one will be embraced by knowledgeable staff providing your loved one with education, one on one counseling and therapy, facility referrals and nutritional meals created on site as well as 24-hour staff available to address any challenges that may arise. We plan to provide awareness to our clients so that they may identify personal high-risk behaviors and situations to avoid as they transition from chronically using alcohol and other drugs into recovery and we hope you feel better prepared to help them. We want you to feel empowered to encourage your loved one to stay the course in treatment to complete their individual treatment plan and complete treatment to have a better chance at a foundation for recovery.