Ask the Experts by Jeff and Debra Jay
Q: My 28-year-old brother went to treatment for his alcohol and cocaine problem last year. He never followed his recovery plan, and relapsed almost right away. He’s getting really bad again, so we probably need to intervene, but isn’t there something more a family can do?
A: Yes, today there are many more things you can do. Addiction is a chronic illness, and family members can play a critical role during and after treatment. Studies have repeatedly shown that family involvement in treatment can improve outcomes, but now there’s even more you can do.
Treatment is like a launching pad for recovery. Because addiction is a chronic illness, like heart disease, it can’t be cured. But like heart disease, there are many things loved ones can do to support the patient. If a culture of recovery can be developed and nurtured in the family, it’s far more likely the patient will do what they need to do to keep their illness in remission.
The most detailed and far-reaching method for accomplishing this task is called Structured Family Recovery™ and it’s laid out in the book “It Takes a Family,” by Debra Jay. There are eight essential elements to this program, which also includes the patient. By following the program through the first year of recovery, families can greatly increase the odds of success in confronting this deadly disease.
It only makes sense. If your brother were a severe diabetic, wouldn’t there be some changes made around the dinner table? Wouldn’t people become more conscious of their actions and language, to support his health? The same is true with his addiction. “It Takes a Family” lays out a program that any family can follow.