The Cabin’s Unique Addiction Family Programme
It is abundantly clear from several unique sources of research conducted over the last few years that including an individual’s family in their treatment for substance or process addiction leads to more effective outcomes. Put more simply, addiction family programmes increase the client’s chance of achieving lasting recovery.
Addiction Family Programme at The Cabin Chiang Mai
Here at The Cabin Chiang Mai, we offer a unique addiction family programme that involves bringing the client’s family into treatment with their loved one. This enables a much deeper understanding in the family of what the disease of addiction is all about, how it is treated and, most importantly, how they can support their family member during and after treatment.
Over the time we have run this programme at The Cabin, we have seen tremendous gains made by both the person in treatment and their families by attending this programme. As participants have put it:
As a result of the programme, I am infinitely better equipped to play my part in optimizing the chances of my son’s recovery. I am also in a much better position to deal with my own feelings and reactions to his addiction.
I must pay tribute to Rory and Brian, who led the programme. Their ability to convey complex concepts and processes in a digestible way to the layperson without trivializing the concepts or patronizing us was impressive, as was their ability to weave together the research literature with stories from their own personal histories. Their energy, the passion for what they do, and their commitment was inspirational, and deeply appreciated by all of who took part in the three-day programme.
What is the Addiction Family Programme?
The addiction family programme offered at The Cabin Chiang Mai is a three-day programme which takes place on the the first week of every month.
Family members of clients in addiction treatment are encouraged to join the programme at no extra cost.
The goals of our addiction family programme are the following:
- Increase the family’s awareness of the disease of addiction.
- Address codependency issues within the family.
- Give the addicted family member a chance to openly talk about and share with his/her family their own struggles with addiction in a supportive environment with trained counsellors who can assist in clarification when necessary.
- Help family members understand ways in which they can play a role in ensuring a successful addiction recovery in the future.
Why is an Addiction Family Programme Necessary?
Participating in the addiction family programme is, of course, optional. However, we strongly encourage it. Addiction has long been labelled a family illness. This ‘illness’ is known in clinical terms as Codepenency and can be described as family members taking on various dysfunctional behaviours and distorted beliefs as a way of surviving within a family that is undergoing severe and prolonged stress.
There are particular roles that family members have been known to take on in an effort to deal with the addict/addiction. These roles are of course unhealthy, and often result in fuelling the addiction rather than helping to stop it. In order for lasting recovery to be possible, these roles must be broken. And in order for these roles to be broken, family members must have a thorough grasp of the roles they have been unconsciously playing, why they are causing more harm than good, and of course how to recreate roles that are supportive of recovery instead.
What to Expect during the Addiction Family Programme
As mentioned previously, the addiction family programme is a three-day programme held at the end of every month for clients’ family members at no extra cost. Be prepared – the programme is designed to quickly bring family members into the therapeutic process which is deep, rich, challenging and emotional.
Day one of the addiction family programme is focused on psychoeducation. The day begins with an interactive presentation that is thorough but easy-to-grasp on the modern definition of addiction as a neurological disorder. Another presentation explains the roles that family members unknowingly take on which often fuel the addiction. This is hard to hear for many family members, as they have truly only been trying to help their loved one. To aid in getting through this we employ a group therapy strategy to help break these unhealthy behaviours.
In fact, there is a group therapy session on each day of the addiction family programme. This allows everyone a space to talk and identify with other families who are going the same situation, and it allows each person to draw on and learn from each other’s experiences.
The second day of the addiction family programme features more workshops which typically involve illustrating concepts from a 360⁰ view. Our clients are encouraged to present to their families common situations where they are struggling together, but showing it from the addict’s perspective. This helps give further insight to the families. Again, a group session will take place to give an opportunity to talk about what has been learned that day and gain more insight.
The final day of our family programme is typically more emotional than the rest. The family members will have an opportunity to speak in private with their loved one’s counsellor, after which their loved one is asked to join the session. With a professional counsellor as their guide, both our client and their family members have the opportunity to speak freely with one another about setting new boundaries and moving forward in a positive and healthy manner together.
Benefits and Outcomes of Attending our Addiction Family Programme
The main goal of this family programme is to help the family develop a new understanding for the disease of addiction and strategies for coping with it within the family. It is also a time to create a long-term plan for how family members can aid in their loved one’s long-term addiction recovery goals. In some cases, where underlying family issues are quite intense, we may refer you to a family addiction counsellor or support group in your area for follow-up.