Today we listen to the research wisdom of William White in relation to family recovery, especially long term.
Family recovery is much overlooked and not adequately supported long term in terms of “after care” which is incredible when one considers that interpersonal factors such as family relationships contribute in a major way to relapse?
Instead of spending millions upon millions on cue reactivity and attentional bias studies which look at how recovering people are supposedly constantly drawn to alcohol and substance cues in the environment like lemmings to a cliff (when this does not seem particularly evident in the literature, particularly in relation to being relapse factors) or on anti-craving medication when me and scores of other alcoholics and addicts in recovery rarely have these once they have ultimately accepted in our innermost selves that they are alcoholic/addict (and if we do, we can deal with them via our support networks), why does research funding via various funding bodies and various universities not look at the efficacy of supporting families in long term recovery, certainly to around the 3-5 year mark, at the very least?
I suspect one would find that support of family recovery long term, possibly in extended recovery communities, may be the most potent way to assist long term recovery?
Why doesn’t research address what works, and why it works rather than trying to develop the next miracle pill?
Craving is also a symptom of an underlying condition, it is this condition that recovery should be treating?
We have the solution already? Why not support it to increase it’s efficacy long term? We, via research and funding, could very possibly increase long term recovery, period.
Just a couple of ideas to put out there?
Back to William White and …
The Ecology of Recovery – there appears to be a historical shift in recovery away from intrapersonal dynamics to a more interpersonal dynamic. From a recovery within with self, looking at the self, to a fuller recovery involving others in one’s recovery life such as families and recovery communities.
Family Recovery – if we attend to families at all in recovery, it is brief and very short term. Unfortunately, research suggests that recovery is actually “horribly destabilising” for families.
The Trauma of Recovery
Families are at a high risk of disintegrating in the early stages of recovery. So we need to build “support scaffolding” for these families. Recovery does little to prepare or support families in recovery. Stephanie Brown refers to this as the “trauma of recovery”! We still do not know the extent of what that means or the extent of our roles in recovery in guiding families, according to William White.
Please also click to this link to watch a series of videos on family recovery by SAMHSA which are very illuminating about the process of recovery and describe a process of recovery I have gone through myself with both my wife, nuclear and extended families.