The Family Program

Addiction is a family disease.

The Family Programs at Sanford were created to include the loved ones of our patients during treatment and beyond. Family involvement is one of the most important components for a healthy long-term recovery. Because of this, we provide these programs at no charge to the families of our clients.

Family members can be powerful allies in the recovery process. And while a person is in treatment, it is a good time to involve family members. During the course of their loved one’s care, family members may begin to recognize behaviors and habits that have developed while trying to cope with addiction in the family. Family members will also be supported in shifting their focus to areas of their lives that may have become neglected.

You hear the success stories, and those are the ones that keep you going. The thing you need to remember about addiction treatment, is that if somebody gets well, it’s not just that person. It’s also their family getting well. And I believe it pays dividends for generations, because it creates an atmosphere within the family that is going to be passed on.

David Green, Founder and CEO Sanford Behavioral Health

Quite simply, addiction is a family disease, and it will continue to impact the whole family. For some family members, accepting their loved one’s changing behavior in early recovery is difficult. These folks are at a loss as to where their responsibilities lie. What is their new role? Often, as contrary as it may seem, they don’t feel "needed" anymore.

Many family members are not practicing self-compassion. And they may have developed negative physical, psychological, and social symptoms. This is a result of trying to adapt to the stressful living conditions that take place when a loved one is actively using.

Sanford has developed its Family Programs to work with all members of the family. And to help them define their new roles as they move forward. Also, the program gives family members the tools and resources they need to handle the inevitable bumps on the road to recovery.

The Family Program

Family members and loved ones are vital to our patients' recovery. The Sanford Family Program invites friends and family members to come together in a virtual, telehealth group. In this setting you will learn more about addiction and recovery. Family education groups are for the people who will provide support to our patients during and after treatment. Compassionate support is crucial to the continued wellbeing
of those in early recovery. Education is key.

The Family Program provides a space where loved ones of our patients can ask questions, voice concerns, and obtain current information about the disease of addiction. We encourage all supportive loved ones to
take advantage of this valuable resource. Once you have attended all four Family Education sessions, you will be invited to join Sanford’s Family Support Group (log-in information for the support group is provided by the facilitator once you’ve met the requirements to join).

Love, support and recovery
Love, support and recovery

The Family Education Program

The Family Education Program has four specific sessions for the family and friends of our patients. This is a psychoeducational group to help family members more fully understand the disease of addiction. The Education Series also teaches effective ways to support loved ones through treatment and recovery. This group is a repeating cycle of four educational sessions that meets weekly, Tuesday nights at 7:00 PM (EST).

Session One: How Addiction becomes a Family Disease

Session Two: Understanding the Addictive Disease Process

Session Three: Understanding Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) & Dynamics of Early Recovery

Session Four: Communication for the Recovering Family

Family members of Sanford patients in any of our programs are welcome. A master’s level clinician facilitates the group, and it’s open to all supporting friends and family. We define “family” as parents, spouses, siblings, adult children (and accompanied adolescents), significant others, and encouraging friends.

Friends and Family Support Group

The Friends & Family Support Group provides continuing help and connection. It is guided by the common experience of loving someone with an addiction. The group provides an opportunity for people to share and discuss their challenges and successes. Topics to be discussed are selected by the group.

Anyone who has been through our Family Education Series, or a previous Sanford Family Program is welcome to attend. The 1-hour group is a support group, not a therapy group, and is facilitated by Sanford Family Program staff. This group meets bi-monthly on Wednesday at 6:00 PM (EST). Sanford Family Program Groups are virtual!

Phase One Group - Participants in Phase One have less than 6 months of participation in support group. Because participants are new, groups will be no larger than (approximately) 15 people. In group they share one behavior they are doing well and one behavior that requires improvement in recovery-based situations. They are also encouraged to network with each other.  There will be some direction from the facilitator as themes develop. These groups meet weekly for an hour via telehealth.

Phase Two Group - Participants in Phase Two have 6 months of participation in ongoing recovery support group. These groups may be larger.  Also, the facilitator will present a 20-minute talk based on codependent behaviors. Participants fill out a worksheet on how the topic applies to their recovery work and discussion as a group will follow.  Topics for the presentation will come from the group participants. This group meets every other week for one hour.

Each group above has specific ground rules concerning confidentiality and group mores. Note that support groups do not take the place of individual therapy. If you are an “alumni” of the Sanford Family Program (Education Group) and want to become involved, please contact:

Family Program Resources

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