Dear KB: I’m glad you asked this question. It is critical the entire family be educated about the disease of addiction. Education and family therapy will support your treatment and recovery. Members of the family system often refuse to acknowledge their role. We want to make family members allies and partners in the recovery process. With therapy and education, we are able to deal with the potential for blame – for your past behavior or your continuing behavior.
We want to manage your family’s expectations. It is unrealistic to assume you are “fixed” when you leave treatment. But it is natural for your family to think you will feel better immediately. Without education, family members are unaware of Post-Acute Withdrawal (PAWs) symptoms. PAWs can make someone new to recovery tired, edgy, sleep deprived and out of sorts. The symptoms of PAWs can last up to three years. When we involve the family in the recovery process, they begin to understand the path of the disease, the root cause of addiction and their role and responsibilities in the recovery plan.