After we made the decision to acknowledge our problem, admit to ourselves that all the information we have, at present, is not enough to solve our problem, and then accept we need more than ourselves in order to get sober, we are ready to embark on the journey. We often hear of addiction, at least in the legal sense of the word, be referred to as a “victimless crime. It is important to understand that while the word crime may be an overstatement in most cases, the “victimless” portion doesn’t paint an adequate picture of the real-life familial suffering that takes place when their loved one is struggling to get better. Family therapy sessions can be absolutely advantageous to the long-term sobriety of the individuals served in a treatment setting, however we can encounter the inability to address issues once we are discharged from the facility. This is a universal roadblock that all facilities, families, and addicts face at one point or another.
From the vantage point of problem solving, Hired Power has done a remarkable job of not only identifying that maintaining a relationship, support, and accountability are an integral facet of any effective long-term treatment, but has also taken the necessary, and appropriate steps in order to provide services that can be delivered outside of a residential treatment facility. Aside from the component we just discussed, Hired Power’s approach actually works to address and solve a different issue altogether with the implementation of their Personal Recovery Assistant, sober monitoring, care management, and safe passages programs; namely, the problem of group dynamics and autonomy with respect to the family system. During the post-treatment phase, many families regress to where they were before their loved one came to treatment. In other words, the lack of knowledge as to how best to address the issue of addiction within the family, and the lack of understanding as to what relationship dynamics within the family may actually exacerbate the problem of the recovering addict.
There is certainly not is a simple solution to the problem of unhealthy, and potentially toxic familial relationships, but the utilization of these programs offered by Hired Power could facilitate change within the addict as they learn to become independent, autonomous, and through taking control of their own recovery outside the confines of a treatment center, can experience the feeling of empowerment which is one of the most monumental sources for sustained recovery.
One of the many benefits of utilizing Hired Power’s programs of accountability and support is that they help to create a culture where fostering healthy familial relationships is paramount. In the context of families who are experiencing the addiction of a loved one, there can be a plethora of unintentional behaviors and statements that have the potential to do damage to not only the addict, but to the family as a whole. In clinical psychology, this is termed “triangulation” and it will help convey a general understanding of traps we, as supporters and family members in recovery, can fall victim to.
Let’s discuss a vignette for a moment to illustrate this more effectively. Jake has been struggling to get sober for several years now and has just completed 30 days of inpatient treatment. His mother, Janet, and his father, John, have supported Jake during his attempts at recovery in recent years, however, John is getting fed up with Jake’s relapses, poor attitude, and even suspects Jake may be stealing from him. Janet, on the other hand, is extremely supportive, so much so that we might say her and Jake have a co-dependent relationship whereby each utilizes the other in order to feel better about themselves. Jake, John, and Janet agreed that after treatment, if Jake was going to be allowed to live at their house, would be required to attend 4-12 step meetings per week. Jake doesn’t like this agreement but begrudgingly accepts the terms as he has no other options at present. Jake begins to complain to Janet that the meetings are getting in the way of his job hunt, hanging out with his friends, and cutting into his allotted time for homework. Initially, Janet adheres to the agreement but when Jake becomes angry and upset one day, Janet tells him he only has to go to 1-12 step meeting per week as long as he keeps his grades up. For brevity’s sake, let’s stop the fictional anecdote there because we have enough information to identify the problem. In short, we could hypothesize that Janet gave into her sons demands because when he got angry, she became terrified that he may go back to using drugs again, and she could not handle that. Therefore, she creates a secret deal unbeknownst to John, whereby she gives leniency to Jake in regard to his recovery program. Jake’s life may go off the rails due to a lack of adherence to his meeting commitment (although that is a reasonable case to make). This is the tendency for families to begin to regress back into old relational patterns because of their comfort and familiarity, as opposed to maintaining agreements made in order to change Jake’s behavior. This type of scenario plays out all too often and yet I have never seen it end successfully. In order to help the families who, suffer the consequences of this disease, and the addict themselves, it is imperative that a 3rd party whose only interest is the health, well-being, and growth of the addict and family, together. This is where Hired Power’s services prove to be invaluable in the ongoing battle against the utter destruction that addiction can bring to even the most well-intentioned families.