I recently celebrated ten years of employment at BRC. Being an alumnus of the program myself, I have a lot of gratitude for the program that provided me with a solution to my addiction and taught me how to live life once again. Working with clients and families for the better part of this ten years has provided me with insight why BRC’s programs seem to be so effective for those who have been lost in the throes of addiction for so many years. The programs provide a strenuous recovery process that is usually only doable with the help and support of the family. How often have you said or heard someone say, “He or she has to want this in order for it to actually take root in their lives”? While there is some truth in this statement, I have come to see that families and loved ones play a part in making the “want” come to fruition. Why would someone want to change if their situation is bearable due to them still having resources in place to fuel their addiction and someone to pick up the pieces for them every time life gets challenging?
In my role at BRC, I speak with families often about the “Intervention Letter” that we ask each of them to write and explain to them what we are looking to accomplish on their end in these letters. I tell each of them that if their loved one wants to leave treatment that they have found their situation in the program to be one of dissatisfaction. Reminding families that a position of dissatisfaction is not something that has been created by our staff, facilities, or the men or women in their community, but rather something that their loved one has complained about for years. “If only I had… everything would be ok.” The family’s job in the intervention letter is to set boundaries they are willing to hold, which makes leaving the program look less attractive than staying in the program. The process of pushing the client to engage in the program because leaving the program with no support sounds less attractive, was the beginning of the change process for many of our clients who have long-term recovery today. It is challenging for families to do, but so is continuing to subject yourselves and the rest of your family to the kind of life that comes with someone active in addiction.
Families at BRC who are willing to involve themselves, learn the importance of holding boundaries and the importance of putting the monkey back on the client’s shoulders, stand a better chance of healing themselves, which also gives their loved one the opportunity to sort through their own deep-seated issues and recover from this chronic and fatal illness. Oftentimes, we hear that families are thankful for the work that we do with their loved one. We couldn’t do the work we do without the support and involvement that we get from so many of our families.
Recovery has restored my family of origin and has also allowed me to have a family of my own. I have a beautiful relationship with my wife and my amazing daughters, Remi and Livi. I am clear that I would have never had the opportunity to live the life I do today had my family not become tired of their own situation in life regarding my addiction and becoming interested in making the “want” possible for me by setting boundaries, no longer making excuses for my addiction, and loving me how I needed to be loved.
If you are on the fence today about involving yourself. I urge you to do so. Read a book. Join a family support meeting. Call that therapist you have been putting off. You will not be disappointed. In fact, you may find that your own life begins to change for the better, which could in turn cause your loved one to “want” to change.
Lane Rust, Director of Family Services