Family Recovery in the Community
The benefit and value of community-based peer support services and Recovery Community Organizations (RCOs) is growing exponentially each year. Even in this developing framework, family inclusion is addressed in the context of its relation to the care of their affected loved one. As such, even within this context, there are few resources for families to turn to for assistance with exploring individualized options, and rarely are there places where family members can turn where they can access community-based support services. An emerging practice within the RCO framework in South Carolina is the development and expansion of Family Support Services and Family Recovery Coaching. With this, family members with lived experience offer group and 1:1 support services for family members, irrespective of the engagement of their loved one, and at no cost to the family member. The largest group of family members seeking these support services are the parents (and other caregivers) and siblings of adolescents and young adults. In an age of information overload, many families are overwhelmed and struggle with the prospect of sending their adolescent and young adult loved ones to formal treatment. Families have fatigue from guilt, shame and isolation, and are hesitant to fully invest in a plan of action. Many of the traditional “tough love” approaches fall short of meeting their needs, especially in light of the opioid epidemic and daily reports of the loss of young people in our community to overdose and suicide. It is a parental instinct to want to protect a child, and stories in the media of predatory practices within the addiction treatment industry leave families questioning the validity of all of the options. And on the most basic and fundamental level, families are desperate for non-judgmental support. The practice of family recovery coaching has emerged with a strong focus on meeting families where they are in their process, and helping them learn to take action in the areas and domains with which they are most likely to follow through. Further, there is highly concentrated education and support early on as the family walks through redefining substance use in the context of a chronic health perspective, taking tangible first steps towards making change toward their family’s overall health and wellness, and gaining the trust and self-efficacy necessary to continue to grow in their own recovery process. Further, our experience on the ground is that family engagement in their own recovery process can result in more positive outcomes for the individual affected by substance use, even if the individual never engages in a process of seeking support. As a result, this whole family approach benefits the overall health and wellness of family members and the family unit. This session will be in a panel format and will include: -Experienced family recovery coaches highlighting the intersection of their personal experiences and their developing competencies. -Families who have benefited from family recovery coaching sharing their stories and experiences. -RCO leadership, who will outline some of the core benefits of community-based family recovery support services.