How do I confront addiction?
The word ‘addiction’ carries a heavy stigma. It is advisable to use phrases like ‘problem’ or ‘struggle’ when approaching someone. Fostering a caring, non-accusatory and non-judgmental dialogue could help them to open up to you without becoming angry or defensive. It is important however to highlight the effects of their alcohol or drug use and give an honest assessment of how it is affecting those closest to them. An intervention can be a powerful approach to manage these types of situations.
What do I do in an emergency?
If you, or your loved one, require emergency assistance please call 042-111-111-347 to speak to the relevant emergency service immediately.
Is the family involved?
Yes. Individual sessions and a family program are available. Again, this can only occur with direct written consent from the individual.
When should I visit my loved one and attend family group?
The family therapist assigned to your loved one will contact you about family group. Willing Ways can provide you with the family therapist’s e-mail and phone number so that you can contact him or her with any questions you may have.
How available is my family member’s counselor when I have questions or need to talk about what’s going on? Or should I be contacting someone else with questions?
Please feel free to always call the admissions team for any questions or concerns you might have about your family member. Our therapists typically call families once a week to update them on the client’s status and well-being. If you choose to contact the therapist, please remember that they are in therapy groups or individual sessions for most of the day. The therapists like to return calls at the end of the day, so if they don’t call back immediately you can be sure to hear from them by the end of the day.
Is it important to attend the Sunday family therapy sessions?
Yes! It is very important to attend the Sunday family therapy sessions because addiction is a family disease, and everyone—including you—is affected. I encourage you to also attend some local Al-anon meetings for further support and education on the disease of addiction.
When do I get the person back I once knew?
It’s really important to trust in the process. Clients have a lot of work that they need to do in regards to their recovery program. It’s not about just staying sober. Sometimes it takes a long time for families to see the results they are looking for. This is why Al-anon is so important for you to explore. Al-anon offers you tools and coping mechanisms that will be beneficial in many areas in your life. Your loved one is working on building a support system for herself for a lifetime of recovery, and it will help you to have your own support system.
Once my son gets clean and sober, when will he be ready to start working and going to school again?
This is a great question. Each client is different and I think it would be really helpful for you to write down all the questions you might have and then present them to your son’s family therapist.
My loved one is not responding to the idea of a 12-step program. He does not believe in God or a higher power and won’t participate in a program that requires him to do so. Will meetings still help him in his recovery?
This is probably one of the most common experiences people have when they come in for treatment, as most of our clients do not identify themselves as being religious. The purpose of a 12-step program is to find strength through a higher purpose—whatever that might be for them. Not believing in God or a higher power doesn’t mean a client won’t recover, and attending 12-step meetings will still greatly benefit your loved one. There are plenty of clients and staff members at Willing Ways that have been down this very road and can sit down with your loved one and share their experience. At Willing Ways, we meet the clients where they’re at.
Does treatment work?
Yes, structured treatment has very positive recovery rates, especially with family support. Addiction is a treatable disease. Discoveries in the science of addiction have led to medications that may help some people stop abusing drugs or alcohol and resume their productive lives. Combining treatment medications with behavioural therapy is the best way to ensure success for most patients. And, research is beginning to show that recovery of brain function may be possible with prolonged abstinence.
Although some addicts relapse after treatment, that doesn’t mean that the treatment has failed. Similar to treatment for other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease or hypertension, addiction treatment involves changing deeply imbedded behaviours that are in part based on changes in the brain that have occurred during drug/alcohol use. For the addicted patient, lapses back to drug abuse indicate that treatment needs to be reinstated or adjusted, or that alternate treatment is needed.