Family Support and Florida Springs Recovery

Family Support and Florida Springs Recovery

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Florida Springs is Upgrading Family Support in Bay County

Drug and alcohol addiction are very difficult to treat. Treatment protocols including inpatient month-long rehab are often necessary, and months or years of therapeutic aftercare often goes together with the best treatment methods. Addiction can destroy the foundations of families and whole communities, and it has done that to many people in Bay County and Panama City. Addiction makes liars and thieves of honest people, addiction makes criminals of otherwise law-abiding citizens, and it takes otherwise functional families and makes them dysfunctional in every way imaginable. People often refer to drug and alcohol addiction as “family disease”. Not because more than one member of the family is drinking or using drugs, though they often may be, but because the drugging and drinking of one family member will upend the balance of the family in such destructive ways that every family member suffers from it. Certainly, anyone who is aware of the effects that alcoholism has on a family could probably spend all day giving examples of the damage it can do.

Florida Springs is doing several things to increase access to family support structures in Bay County Florida. We are soon to be announcing a new Facebook group for alumni of our program, so people can stay engaged with the Florida Springs family. The relaxation of Covid-19 protocols has allowed us to include in-house AA meetings once again. The relaxation of covid-19 protocols is also huge because the family program that was so important to what Florida Springs does for patients in returning. Family members are able to meet with counselors with their loved ones in treatment at the facility when the family program is active. These updates and other changes are extremely important as part of our commitment to families in Bay County Florida. Florida Springs is the best drug and alcohol rehab in Florida, and Panama City needs great treatment options with a commitment to family support and family programming.

Family Support and Florida Springs Recovery

The Role of Family

In discussing the results of some past studies that look at family outcomes for people seeking treatment for alcoholism it is important to note, as many authors do, that most of the research that has been done deals with mostly homogenous, heterosexual, white and non-Hispanic populations. Therefore, although we may hope these results could be representative of more diverse populations, we cannot say for certain until more research is done on more diverse populations of people. The results remain important, as they shine a light on family dynamics both before and after a family member has been treated for alcoholism, including drug and alcohol rehab at inpatient treatment centers like Florida Springs in Panama City. According to the authors,

“At 2-year follow-up, (we) compared family functioning for men who were in recovery to men who had relapsed. Wives of men in recovery, compared to wives of men who relapsed, drank less, were less depressed and anxious, had fewer negative life events, and had higher family incomes.”

As you can see, these results are positive, in that they show signs of a better home environment in cases where the husband in the household was not drinking after 2-years. This section also makes clear the limitations of this data, and this statement says very little about the many households which do not fit so squarely into a hetero-normative structure. We may be able to presume, based on this data, that households where one adult is not drinking encourages other adults in that household to drink less and possibly experience less depression and anxiety, and we can continue to hope that is the case until we get more and better data on the subject. It is the data itself, which was collected over 75 years in various journals and then collected by the authors of this study, which shows a male-dominated view of family and society, and not the authors of the study themselves, Dr. Barbara McCrady and Dr. Julianne Flanagan.

The authors continue,

“As a whole, families of men in recovery had greater family cohesion, greater expressiveness, a higher orientation toward recreational activities, and greater agreement in how they viewed the overall environment of their families, compared to families of men who had relapsed.”

The authors also showed that children in families where the parents were not drinking to excess showed fewer signs of emotional distress. In the next portion of the study, the two authors provide one of their main arguments.

Convincing a Loved One to Seek Help

Families can play a key role in fostering the environment where a person with alcoholism will seek treatment and eventually may seek inpatient rehab for alcoholism or drug addiction, according to the authors of this study. They mention that Al-Anon (A 12 step program for family members of an Alcoholic or Addict) meetings will often preach detachment for family members. I know this to be the case, and I understand the underlying thinking behind the idea that family members of alcoholics should detach. Many people with a close family member with alcoholism have seemingly tried every possible thing to help their loved one. They have found that no amount of love will cure their family member of alcoholism or make them seek treatment for that alcoholism. One reason that I was attracted to this study was that the authors take a slightly different view on this issue compared to a group like Al-Anon. I have no strong opinion either way, but it is always interesting to see people trying new things and bringing heterodox theories to the mainstream. Rather than simply avoiding family members outside of family interventions, as has been tried in the past, the authors lay out a set of general actions that can be taken by family members to support a loved one seeking alcohol rehab or drug and alcohol treatment. Florida Springs would like to continue to be a leader in the area of family support and guiding family through the difficult process of a family member in recovery.

By T.A. Cannon