In 1955 Addiction was acknowledged by WHO (World Health Organization) as a disease.
A year later the AMA (American Medical Association) went a step further and acknowledged it a family disease.
Ask the many friends and families of addicts and alcoholics about this and they will concur….The destruction caused to those around the addict can be and often is catastrophic.
Bearing this in mind it should have been no surprise to me on my first visit to Camino the significant emphasis that is placed on the family component of the healing process.
I have to confess however that I was.
Having gone through my own recovery process many years ago I will be forever grateful to the treatment centre that transformed my life into what it has become. Freedom from addiction…….and so much more.
But my experience was of a centre essentially educating me on the 12 Steps of AA.
Those 12 Steps have saved my life and continue to rejuvenate it on a daily basis.
However whilst Camino believes that this should be the bedrock of recovery so much more is offered at the centre. I was not used to the diverse spectrum of therapeutic processes.
The flagship of the process was family week.
The client’s families are invited to our centre in Southern Spain for a week to take part in education and awareness over five days.
The work is emotional and sometimes intense but the results are overwhelming. As with everything in life you get out what you put in.
When I was invited to observe a family week I confess to feeling a bit nervous on behalf of the clients I had got to know.
Drawing on the knowledge of the damage I had done during my active addiction and the subsequent awareness I have gained I expected a bloodbath!!!
A lot of anger, frustration and resentment
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Of course there was anger, frustration, sadness, resentment and a full gamut of feelings and emotions but what I observed was a process that ultimately arrived at a place of forgiveness and understanding built on a sound footing of unconditional love.
Life’s experiences had brought me in touch with many psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors and therapists during my time but the empathy, compassion and skill I saw from the Clinical director and Program Director was a unique experience.
I shouldn’t have been surprised given their combined wealth of knowledge and experience over three continents and some of the premium treatment centres in the world. This can only come with time.
I saw siblings with broken and hopeless relationships embrace the process and heal in front of my eyes. Parents arrived on Monday morning angry and frustrated. On Friday they would go out for dinner with their son or daughter unrecognizable.
Seeing smiles return to peoples faces and the light come back on in their eyes is truly astounding.
I observed with a sense of envy…..the healing with my own family had been much more protracted and fragmented. We got there over time but this process addressed the situation head on.
It is not a magic fix….it requires a lot of love, patience and a continued commitment but what It is a catalyst for change and a new found understanding.
We often get clients who approach our monthly family week with fear and trepidation, but my experiences allow me to reassure them that the process will be a healing one. More often than not those fears dissipate by the end of the first day.
As a family disease it seems obvious that the process of healing should involve the family but so often this can be overlooked.
The family program is open to our residential clients and to families who wish to come in for the week. For more information contact us below.