Addiction is a family disease, so repairing and creating new relationships with family members is an important part of recovery for most men. That’s why the optional Family Program is consistently listed by graduates as one of the best parts of their treatment at St. Christopher’s Inn.
The St. Christopher’s Inn Family Program began in 2002, and has helped to restore countless families who have been torn apart by addiction. The program meets 3 weekends per month, and the purpose of the program is to help the clients and family members understand addiction as a disease, how to get healthy, and to build a foundation so that a new relationship can emerge between clients and family members to promote lasting recovery.
The first week of the program addresses the disease concept, and is an important first step in helping families understand their loved one’s behavior. The second week focuses on codependency, which is defined as excessive reliance on a partner, often one who requires support due to an illness or addiction. People who are codependent often have little sense of self, and the happiness or misery they experience is related to how their addicted loved ones are doing. In the third week families receive instruction on how to recognize their enabling behaviors.
Over the three weekends, the program has two components—a lecture/education series; and interactive exercises in a controlled group. During these exercises, clients and family members share and process some of their behaviors which have impacted their family. This powerful exercise allows clients to get honest and open with family members, which is a crucial step towards recovery.
All family members receive information about AL-Anon, are encouraged to attend therapy, and to start taking care of themselves rather than always taking care of others. Everyone in the family is encouraged to get healthy as individuals to break the dysfunctional enabling family system.