In an effort to further its mission, FOR-NY has engaged families throughout NYS to support one another in Recovery. As a result of the information we collected during these sessions, we’ve developed a resource guide, a tool kit of sorts, to assist other families navigating the Recovery process.
HOW IT CAME TOGETHER
We spent hours talking with family members at Family Forums, as well as via telephone and email to find out what was and wasn’t helpful to them. FOR-NY’s Family to Family Recovery Resource Guide seeks to be authentic and relatable. The hope is the kinship one feels with another family that has “been there” can be felt between the lines of the guide and as such it serves as a reliable tool for families in distress.
OVERVIEW OF WHAT’S INSIDE
Based on what areas family members recommended, the guide was broken down in to five sections:
IDENTIFYING ADDICTION IN A LOVED ONE
This section deals with the signs and symptoms of addiction, identification of specific substances, self-screening tools for alcohol and drug addiction, the effects of addiction on the family, how to start to talk about addiction and some information on intervention methods and a discussion on drug-testing. Also included in this section is an alert regarding what is life threatening and when medical support is needed.
SELF CARE FOR THE FAMILY
Understanding that self-care is of the utmost importance, here we first talk about the need to understand addiction… and the Recovery process, so as to have realistic expectations about this journey. We give information about mutual aid family support groups (formerly known as self-help) including a special section for families of loss. Here we stress to our families that Recovery advocacy is not a Recovery program and that although advocacy can be very healing we should make our own Recovery the priority before helping others.
WHERE TO GET HELP FOR MY LOVED ONE
In this section we enumerate the multiple pathways of Recovery, talk about Recovery Coaches/Certified Recovery Peer Advocates and Peer Engagement Specialists.
Information on the different types of treatment & appropriate levels of care including Medication Assisted Treatment/Recovery is found in this section as well as how to find services & service availability. There are telephone support/HELP line numbers and links to comprehensive on-line resources. Many families asked about what to do while on a waiting list for treatment and about at-home detox. Those concerns are addressed in this section.
HOW TO SUPPORT MY LOVED ONE
Here we give general tips on how to help and how not to “enable” as well as discuss the numerous family support programs and resources. These include Family Support Navigators, Peer Support Specialists, Recovery Community Organizations, Recovery Community Outreach Centers and Youth Club Houses.
We also address some of the other concerns of family members including Co-Occurring Disorders and the warning signs of a re-occurrence.
OVERCOMING THE BARRIERS
How Certified Recovery Peer Advocates and Recovery Coaches help remove barriers, paying for treatment, insurance issues, understanding your rights and confidentiality are just a few of the topics covered in this section. We also provide advice on communicating with your Health Care Provider and how to cope with discrimination due to the stigma of addiction.
WHERE IT’S AT
The DRAFT of the Family to Family Resource Guide is in the final stages of editing and soon to be sent off to be professionally formatted so that it is easy to read and “user friendly”. We are very excited about making this guide available to family members on line and in hard copy. We will keep you posted about our publication date and will be sending out instructions on how to download a copy.
Please help us get the word out that this resource is available.
A BIG THANK YOU
We want to thank all of the families who contributed to this guide at our Family Forums! A big thank you to all those who edited, reviewed, commented and contributed, especially to Lori Dresher, Rachelle Brown, Bill Williams, Linda Gomez, Irene Garone, Avi Isreal and Sue Martin.