Maryland Addiction Recovery Center recognizes how crucial it is to engage family members and significant others in the recovery process: when one person experiences addiction, the entire family is affected.
Studies have strongly demonstrated that an individual has a greater chance for a positive recovery outcome if their family is also engaged in their own program of recovery. Family members and loved ones too have been impacted by their loved one’s addiction, and more often than not require support, guidance, coaching, and treatment or therapy, to work through the issues created by the impact of addiction on them individually and the family unit as a whole, and move towards a place of health and healing.
Family programming at Maryland Addiction Recovery Center is encapsulated by ongoing family engagement in clinical services throughout the entire treatment experience of their loved one, as well as our robust Family Recovery Program (FRP). FRP has two main components: web-based multifamily therapy sessions and a two-and-a-half day, in-person intensive therapeutic experience.
Prior to participation in the multi-day, in-person workshop, family members will engage with a small group of other families and a MARC therapist in a series of sessions through Zoom. These sessions will provide psychoeducation in 6 areas including Addiction, Codependency, Enabling, Stages of Change, Attachment, and Trauma. Sessions will be interactive and allow for discussion, questions/answers, and processing. Assignments will be given to deepen an understanding of the content being discussed and to promote insight into family dynamics that require examination.
Family members will typically attend the in-person component of the FRP four to eight weeks after their loved one’s admission to MARC. Family programming begins on a Thursday evening with a welcome group session that includes a MARC alumnus and their family members sharing their journey, experience at MARC, and message of hope. This group will be followed by a welcome dinner and time to reflect and relax before therapeutic services begin. Families will participate in experiential activities and group sessions throughout the day Friday and until lunch on Saturday. After lunch, patients (loved ones) will join the group therapy sessions for the remainder of the day as well as a morning session on Sunday. At the conclusion of the therapeutic programming, patients and family members will have time to eat lunch and spend quality time together at MARC before families head back home.
Patients and family members will be given assignments and interventions based on work completed during this process and multifamily therapy sessions through Zoom will resume later that week. Typically, participation in this workshop will be the first time you see or speak to your loved one since their admission to MARC. In most cases, family therapy sessions with your loved one present will begin following the in-person workshop. This is done to allow some separation time between patient and family, so that specific issues impacting the family system can be uncovered and identified, worked on separately before working through them as a family unit.
In addition to participation in the FRP, family members will be engaging in therapeutic work with your loved one’s primary therapist throughout their entire stay in treatment, which may include a combination of telephonic and in-person therapy sessions both with and without your loved one. MARC’s family therapist will work in conjunction with your loved one’s primary therapist to deliver comprehensive and collaborative services that best support individual recovery and family recovery. Your active participation in these services is an integral and necessary piece in the recovery puzzle.
In addition to family therapy at MARC and participation in the FRP, we strongly encourage family members to join a family support group, Al-Anon, and/or to engage in your own individual, couples, or family therapy with a professional in your local community as recommended by our team. The family illness is a separate condition from the disease of addiction. While no one is to blame for having the illness, everyone is responsible for their own recovery and to work to heal the family system.
Through participation in the FRP, families will:
- Examine the expressed and unwritten rules that influence family dynamics
- Explore the ways that these keep the individuals and family system unhealthy
- Undertake the deep work and commitment to develop new family rules
- Better understand how and why family members react to the symptoms of the illness
- See how good intentioned behaviors often fuel the dysfunction
- Move from denial/delusion to awareness/clarity
- Move from compulsive reacting to conscious choosing
- Move from undifferentiation to differentiation
- Move from blaming to self-responsibility
- Move from dependence to interdependence and independence
- Set goals that lead to experiencing life as manageable, meaningful, and dignified