The Benefits of a Full Five-day Family Programme as Part of Addiction Recovery Treatment

The American Medical Association (AMA) first classified alcoholism as a disease in 1956. By 1987, this was amended to include “addiction” as a whole. Not long after, the World Health Organization (WHO) went even further and classified addiction as a “family disease” – one which impacts not only the person “suffering” from addiction but also the entire family unit. 

At Camino Recovery, we agree with this assessment. We recognise that when an individual is struggling with an addiction or behavioural health disorder, their family members, including significant others, are considerably affected as well.

For this reason, and to ensure the overall success of our guests’ recovery journey, we believe that involving the family in the treatment process is critical.

How addiction and trauma can affect those closest to you

Addiction and trauma can have profound and wide-reaching effects on those close to individuals directly grappling with these issues, including:

  • Complex emotions, including deep sadness, frustration, anger and an overwhelming sense of helplessness.
  • Strained relationships as a result of broken promises, deceit or hurtful behaviour.
  • Feelings of guilt and self-blame, as they question whether they could have done more to help.
  • Co-dependent behaviours may develop where they unintentionally enable or excessively support the person with addiction, often at the cost of their own well-being. 
  • Financial difficulties, having found themselves bearing the financial burden of treatment, legal expenses or other related costs.
  • Anxiety, exhaustion, social isolation, depression or other health problems due to chronic stress and worry.

The addiction or trauma experience by a loved one can have a massive impact. It’s therefore crucial that family members or significant others seek support too.

Family Workshops at Camino Recovery

At Camino Recovery, our residential treatment specialises in trauma and addiction recovery. We offer therapy, counselling and support groups to provide valuable tools and strategies not only for the individuals affected, but also for the families and other loved ones affected by their addiction.

To this end, we also offer supplementary five-day Family Workshops specifically designed to help families dealing with dysfunctional behaviours and trauma, guiding them towards healing and rebuilding.

Participation in our “Family Wellness Weeks” at Camino Recovery is by invitation from the resident and is open to family members aged 18 years and older. During this week, family members can anticipate:

  • Informative lectures and presentations led by our clinical staff.
  • Group therapy sessions and interactive discussions.
  • Personal goal-setting to foster individual growth.
  • Reading and self-reflection to facilitate learning.
  • Building connections with fellow participants, creating a supportive community.
  • Guided family conferences led by experienced counsellors.

This emotionally demanding journey offers personal growth and healing for the entire family.

How do our Family Workshops work?

Family Workshops

The objective of our Family Workshops at Camino Recovery is positive change. Families often enter with feelings of fear, anger, distress and a fixation on one family member’s issues. In these families, their established interactional patterns are often stagnant, unhealthy behaviours have become the norm, and their emotional (and sometimes physical) well-being may have been seriously compromised.

We strongly believe that behaviours are learned and can be shifted. Our workshops create new, constructive patterns to support family and loved ones’ recovery, transforming how they interact. We help families detach from pain while staying connected to the person in need, moving away from obsessive worry and control.

Additionally, we emphasise the importance of addressing each family member’s individual needs and setting healthy boundaries, facilitating a shift towards nurturing and enduring family relationships.

To achieve these objectives, we concentrate on five key pillars:

  • Education about psychiatric disorders, neurology, addiction and effective communication.
  • Communication training to develop an interaction style that takes into account emotions, possible reactions and context.
  • Communication enactment in which participants are guided in expressing their concerns, appreciations, goals, commitments and boundaries within the family dynamic.
  • Multiple family groups to normalise the struggles associated with addiction or mood disorders by learning from each other, sharing feedback and observations related to family communication.
  • Individual attention tailored to meet specific needs, aiding the loved one’s reintegration into the family environment.

The benefits of our Family Workshops

While our Family Workshops require significant effort from the family unit as a whole, the transformative shift that can be experienced in just five days can be truly invaluable.

Our full five-day programmes aim to strengthen family bonds and empower every individual to embark on their own healing journey, ultimately fostering healthier and more fulfilling lives for all involved.

Here are five of the greatest benefits of participating in our five-day family programme:

1) Gain a better mutual understanding

Senior Woman at Family Gathering

Our comprehensive Family Workshops help individuals and their family members to learn more about addiction and mental health disorders.

By gaining knowledge about these conditions, families develop a deeper understanding of their loved ones, fostering empathy and compassion.

This also allows everyone the opportunity to make plans and suggestions for supporting their loved one in recovery while also addressing their own personal growth.

2) Experience therapeutic healing

Over the course of five days, participants are able to become emotionally vulnerable within a safe environment. This intensity accelerates the healing process, helping to build a solid foundation for healthier relationships by the end of the programme.

Our workshops offer a therapeutic space for both family members and the individual to examine their own behaviours and habits that may be contributing to harm or pain in a non-judgmental environment.

The programme also helps individuals identify and address the often-hidden emotion of shame, a critical step in achieving self-acceptance and overall well-being.

3) Establish a closer, more functional family unit

Self-denial, an inability to be assertive, difficulty verbalising emotions and self-sabotage are just a few of the traits that sufferers can remain locked in for years, blocking them from intimacy and resulting in excessive anxiety and control.

Our Family Workshops work to address these issues, bringing families together, encouraging collaborative functioning and creating a stronger sense of unity.

Participants explore and establish healthier family dynamics, including boundaries and co-dependency issues.

Co-dependency patterns are often challenging to recognise, but during our Family Workshops, participants can explore these self-defeating behaviours that can sometimes be difficult to identify.

4) Build emotional resilience

Old father and adult son are relaxing in the backyard

At Camino Recovery, our ultimate goal is to help individuals, whether dealing with addiction or not, to build emotional resilience. This is achieved by teaching how to identify triggers, understand responses and develop skills to recognise and challenge destructive patterns.

We also emphasise the importance of mutual support and differentiating between our own emotions and those of our loved ones, thus reducing emotional entanglement and co-dependency

Our workshops also address stress and anxiety, which can impact various aspects of life, including sleep, productivity and relationships (and is a common trigger for relapse), helping individuals develop healthier ways of coping with their issues rather than allowing their problems to escalate and affect others.

Depression and its symptoms are comprehensively addressed, too, focusing on identifying and exploring the underlying causes.

5) Become able to establish healthy boundaries

Most importantly, our Family Workshops help participants and their loved ones establish healthy boundaries by creating a supportive and structured environment for open communication.

Discussions are guided towards identifying existing boundaries and encouraging family members to express their needs and concerns. Through this process, individuals gain insights into their roles within the family dynamic, the impact of their behaviour on others and how that can lead to pent-up anger and resentment.

Change your family dynamics for the better!

At Camino Recovery, we encourage you to consider the invaluable gift of healing that our Family Workshops can provide for your relationships and, thus, your continued journey to recovery.

Family members often have busy lives, and it’s natural for them to feel hesitant about committing time given the hurt they may have experienced, but our programme can provide profound, transformative healing – the benefits of which greatly outweigh any short-term inconvenience.

In our five-day programmes, participants gain self-awareness and invaluable tools to navigate life and relationships, fostering mutual understanding and healthy boundaries for a supportive family dynamic.

Find out about the dates of our upcoming workshops, or contact us now for a completely confidential, no-obligation conversation with one of our friendly professionals.

Don Lavender

Don specialized in addiction studies, earning an MDiv and a master's in Management, Administration, and Counseling. As a priest, he supported Step 5s in local treatment centers for nearly 40 years, excelling in "family systems work" in the addiction field.

Additionally, Don pioneered equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) in the US and UK during the 1990s. He authored "Equine Utilized Psychotherapy: Dance with those that run with laughter" and gained media recognition, including appearances on 'the Trisha Show' and features in The Daily Telegraph.

In the early 2000s, Don and his wife, Meena, founded Camino Recovery in Spain, providing tailored addiction treatment programs aimed at fostering happier lives.

More from Don Lavender

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