Help for Families with Drug or Alcohol Addiction – A Quick Recap of the Town HallAnna Ciulla
Already 1,400 people have tuned in to Beach House’s recent town hall, where a smaller audience from the local community also heard in person from our diverse panel of experts on the role of family in recovery. The discussion—highlights are below, or catch the unabridged video—assembled a rare collection of personal and professional experience from people in the field of treatment and recovery:
- Dr. Salima Patel, Ph.D., of the Wellness Institute of Florida, is a licensed marriage and family therapist who has spent more than two decades helping people affected by addiction and other mental health disorders.
- Phillip Causey, with Family Recovery Solutions of Florida is a Certified Addiction Counselor and interventionist, whose personal journey in recovery (both as a former addict and parent of four children with addiction) now inspires his work with families.
- Co-founders of the non-profit “Our Two Sons” Cindy Singer and Staci Katz are two mothers on a mission to help more people with addiction find help and hope, as the result of their own painful journey parenting children with the disease. (Discover how Beach House teamed up with Singer and Katz this past winter in support of their cause.)
- Anna Ciulla, LMHC, RD, LD, is the vice president of clinical and medical services at Beach House. She oversees and facilitates our monthly two-day workshop for families, which focuses on preparing and equipping families for the long-term work of recovery after a loved one’s rehab.
What follow are some of the more memorable and poignant points from their conversation regarding the role of family in recovery:
Addiction is a family disease, so recovery takes more than one. “We have these wonderful clients here [at Beach House]. They’re doing their own work, trying to do everything differently, be different in the world and show up every day for their life in a different way. But if the people that surround them and want to support them and love them don’t do their work, and they don’t learn to do things differently and learn to show up every day for their life different, then nothing changes. And if nothing changes, nothing changes.” – Anna Ciulla
Family members need support, too. “My son is in active addiction, was clean for 17 months and was doing fantastic. About two months ago he relapsed … now that I’ve been involved with the coalition, I’ve had a very different journey than I had before, because I don’t have to go it alone.”- Staci Katz
Family members face unique challenges when dealing with an addiction.
“Two of the things I’ve observed in the long challenge with my children is … the strongest emotion to mankind is survival; the second strongest emotion is shame that says two things: ‘There’s something wrong with me, and I want to keep it a secret.’ … That’s huge, and then you take a parent’s fear … You put fear with shame, and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.” – Philip Causey
More than just one person has been affected by the addiction in question—they are the loved ones.
- “I lost my son. My parents lost their grandson. My daughters lost their brother. My granddaughter lost her uncle … This is affecting all of us … Families are in a lot of pain, too, and how we as families have to deal with that pain is something I know I have to work on every single day. – Singer
- “What’s really close to my heart … is working not just with the identified patient but the family, too. We’re looking at about 20-25 million afflicted by substance use disorders, and so basic math: we’re looking at 100 million affected by this disease. That’s a lot of people … so where are the 75 million people going to get help?” – Dr. Patel
Together, and with help, families can heal and find recovery. “That same young man who was 37 recently got clean and sober and is now a doctor, and what a joy for me to see that smile I didn’t see for 22 years. I give all the credit to my own sobriety, support system, and … the God of my understanding … All four of my children have done well.” – Causey, speaking of his family’s recovery
For more helpful tidbits from the town hall, check out the full video and consider sharing it with friends.