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Recovery Plus your library’s essential reference Feb 2016 49 About the author Don Lavender BA, MDiv, CADAC, CSAC has worked in intervention and counselling with individuals and family systems since 1980 and now runs Camino Recovery. He is a certified alcohol and drug addictions counselor and certified substance abuse counselor. He is passionate about ‘family work’, regularly holding Healing the Family workshops. He has been a consultant to Next Health (Sierra Tucson) and the California Physician’s diversion programme, Priory Hospitals and Lifeworks, Ireland’s Resurrection Rehab, Israel’s Biet Orin, Beirut and Saudi Arabia’s Nour Al-Shorouk. He also ran Harmony, a 26-bed extended care facility in Devon where he was the first to bring equine assisted psychotherapy to England (see pages xx-xx). (www.caminorecovery.com www.donlavender.com). Addicts, on returning home from treatment, can fall into a sea of family anger and rigidity, with no place for their newfound self and behaviour – then relapse. Don Lavender explains. scene for everyone to take up the same place and the same roles just where they left off. No change will be evident and all will be the same; as horrible and painful as before. Sound familiar? It’s called addiction, but whose addiction drives these rigid patterns? Failing to attend a family workshop process supports the common complaint that “we’ve wasted our time and money again”. Family work offers healing to families who need and deserve new tools to get back to normalcy. Effective family work turns the time and resources spent on treatment into a wise investment. When giving focus to family workshop programmes, I do not mean family therapy per se, although the process is specifically designed to be therapeutic. I do not mean a weekend visit at the rehabilitation centre. It is also not a group session slotted into the programme schedule for family members to let staff know how badand wrong the addict has been and how much they have suffered. What is most effective is a full-fledged family workshop designed to open lines of communication that have been closed or damaged due to a septic environment of crisis coping mechanisms. Families do not need to be told how they have got it wrong. Families need information so that they can see the dysfunction as well as their part of the dance. Families need education regarding the tools they can use to make healthier choices for themselves thus no longer enabling the addict to stay stuck in a negative pattern of self- defeating behaviours. By the end of this presentation at Recovery Plus, delegates were able to: 1) Take away information which will give your residential clients a 65% higher probability of getting well and staying well 2) Offer information to families so they can understand their own family-of-origin issues which unwittingly enable the ‘designated patient’ to remain active in their addictions 3) List what helps families best overcome communication blocks as well as blocks to their own recovery process 4) Discuss what makes an addict, the ‘designated patient’ in a family system and how to combat that dysfunctional family culture of blame 5) Guide family members through resistance to change and, hopefully, gain insight to their own familial issues with multiple families present 6) Enable prevention of perpetuation in future generations as well as repeated experiences.


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