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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

What! No family program?

I want to vent a little bit today. Just a little bit, I promise.

I received a very pleasant e-mail from a person who represents a drug and alcohol rehab center. The nice lady on the phone said they wanted to see if possibly they could be a guest poster on this blog.

I checked out their website and I loved the concept of their program. It was not your run of the mill rehab where the client is showered with lots of AA and then sent on their way. They have a very viable alternative to the standard rehab center. I commend them for that. Can you guess what my one big objection might be?

Where’s the family program? There are all these wonderfully inventive things for the addicted person, but I saw absolutely nothing for the family. I was disappointed because I thought they could have used that creativity to expand their current programs to those who have been left in the peripheral damage zone of the addicted person.

I brought this issue up to the lady on the phone and she said she would discuss it with the owner of the facility and get back to me.  I won’t sit by the phone and wait for what probably will not happen.

Vent over. Well… maybe…

What I had hoped to hear from the person representing the rehab facility was on offer to truly join forces. I thought maybe they wanted to start a family program but didn’t want it to be housed at one of their current facilities. I wouldn’t be opposed to having them partner with Linda’s Place and be under their umbrella of facilities. I would be open to suggestions about reciprocal arrangements. It would be like them offering a family program but it just wouldn’t be at their location.

I get it. Addicted persons need help. Without rehab centers for the abuser, the chance of them recovering is very small. I understand the importance. What I don’t understand is why most rehab centers are ignoring a vital part in the recovery process. Rehab centers can detox a drunk, get him started on a program, and then release him to go back to the same house with the same family and the same dysfunction but they expect a different result.

Remind me again --- what is the definition of crazy? Oh yeah – doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. It’s like buying a cake mix in a box. You open it and find there are only half the dry ingredients that are needed for making a whole cake. You can do the math, improvise, make only half a cake, but you paid for a whole cake.

It’s not that I adhere to the notion that the role of the family is to keep the alcoholic sober or at least change their own traits so that the alcoholic can stay sober. In my opinion, the family needs to survive just as much as the alcoholic. They need to have a life of their own and happiness without involvement of the addicted person. They deserve happiness, knowledge, and a future. The alcoholic must own his own addiction. The family must find a way of living without having alcoholism control their lives.

If you are a rehab facility and would like to help me create a recovery center for families, contact me. Maybe we can work together to make it happen. But, please don’t ask me to provide a guest blog post for a facility that doesn’t think the family is valuable enough to be worth their time.


JBthatsme said...

Hi Linda, well I guess at least it's nice that they see your blog as an asset for advertising, although if they'd read it perhaps they would've been aware that to present an opportunity for themselves to advertise while they do not have any sort of real interest in the family members and friends of the addict / alcoholic themselves, would kind of come off as an insult. On a more bright side I ordered your book last night off of amazon. Which is another suggestion, amazon has a program smile.amazon.com where if you log in with that (the smile part) everytime, you can donate to a charity with most purchases (granted it isn't much, but it is something). Is it possible for you to get your cause (Linda's place) on there list of charitable organizations to donate to? I don't recall if you're a 501c3 or if you are applying to be but it's an idea. Also I mentioned your wonderful idea for Linda's place to a friend (who's also married to an alcoholic) she agrees that it would be a wonderful thing. Still brainstorming ideas. I agree that it's disappointing to have so many people not see the big picture, there is truly a need for such a place. Thank you for your continued efforts my friend.

Kathryn said...

I can understand your frustration Linda, given the paucity of resources available to families of alcoholics. Sadly, our health - including mental health - care system has become increasingly financially and clinically outcome based, and there's just no evidence that family treatment has a positive impact on the person addicted. So third party payers, all of whom try to avoid spending resources whenever they can (appropriately or not depending on what your stakes are) are unlikely to pay for family treatment. And private programs are typically beyond the reach of families devastated by alcoholism. Resources like the support and information you so generously provide may be most family's best option.

We are becoming increasingly socialistic in our health care - there's a range of services available to the common folk and a different array of options for those who can pay big. Think of the hospice care model. The family is the unit of care, and respite and social work services are available not because insurances are benevolent but because without the ancillary services patients go off hospice and cost the payers much more in curative rather than palliative treatment. No such incentive exists with addiction treatment, and the financial bottom line is the decision driver.