Family Workshop

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Helping Families Heal
Our Unique Family Workshop

Though men and women trapped by drug and alcohol addiction or mental and behavioral health disorders feel isolated, their struggles impact everyone around them—especially family members. As substance dependency and behavioral changes escalate, families are left to sort through the ashes of anger, despair and hopeless.

While an addicted loved one is in rehab, the family must also begin to heal. Family wounds could be raw, or they may have scarred over after years of codependency, enabling or estrangement. To rebuild healthy family interactions, heal open wounds, break codependencies and repair bonds, Guardian Recovery offers an intensive three-day workshop for family members.

The family plays a central role in the adequate treatment of substance abuse and dependence. Extensive research points toward the fact that when the loved ones of a client are actively engaged in his or her recovery, the likelihood of maintaining sobriety long-term increases significantly. According to an article published by the US National Library of Medicine, “Families are significantly impacted by addictions and family involvement in treatment can reduce the harms and can also improve treatment entry, treatment completion and treatment outcomes for the individual coping with an addiction.” At Guardian Recovery we place a strong emphasis on family involvement.

Our Family Workshop Retreat was developed by our team of dedicated and licensed therapists and clinicians who have combined decades of experience in the field of substance abuse and mental health. The Workshop takes place over the course of three full days, and focuses on understanding the existing family dynamic, breaking down and understanding the role of each individual family member, and ultimately restructuring the family dynamic into something healthy, functional and beneficial for all involved.

Family Matters
We Help Heal the Whole Family

Many individuals who are in the throes of substance abuse and dependence continue using in spite of the obvious harm they are causing. They tend to cling desperately to the idea that they are “only hurting themselves,” justifying their behavior through any means necessary. If you have watched a loved one struggle with addiction, you understand firsthand the severe impact substance abuse has not only on the sufferer, but on everyone involved. In many cases family members shy away from the issue at hand, concerned that if they confront their loved one they will only push him or her farther away. They adapt to their current circumstances while greatly compromising their mental and emotional well-being.

Active addiction completely devastates family functionality and causes everyone in the immediate family to adjust to their current circumstances through any means possible. Many family members who have been living with an addicted loved one turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms themselves, while failing to seek the help they need for their own emotional distress. At Guardian Recovery Center we remain dedicated to restoring the family to a state of healthy functioning.

The Process
Day One

On the initial day of Guardian Recovery’s Family Retreat Workshop we get to know each member of the family on a personal basis. The client is not present on the first day, and all of the focus is placed on his or her loved ones. Before any significant change is made and before the healing process can truly begin, it is important that all underlying issues are identified and addressed. We facilitate open conversations in order to learn how each member of the family has been impacted, and how they feel that family functionality can be improved. We learn how each member of the family has been reacting to high-stress situations that revolve around the addiction, and what role each member of the family is currently filling.

During the first day of the Workshop we also place a strong emphasis on addiction education and on the Disease Model of Addiction. In order for the family to support the client during the remainder of the recovery process, they must thoroughly understand that addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain disease and that the devastation caused by addiction is in no way intentional or personal. No matter how much love and support a client was receiving prior to treatment admission, the disease of addiction was undeniably more powerful than the ability to make rational decisions.

The Process
Day Two

On the second day of our Family Workshop Retreat we begin shifting the focus to the client. We examine how the client has been interacting with his or her immediate family members, and how he or she is reacting to the expression of their existing concerns. We note the ways in which communication can be improved and how negative behavioral patterns can be effectively changed. The licensed therapist who is facilitating the workshop begins to offer suggestions on how the client can alter self-destructive patterns and interact with his or her loved ones in a more healthy and productive way.

The Process
Day Three

The third and final day of our Family Workshop Retreat focuses heavily on how the existing family dynamic can be improved. Rather than attempt to repair a broken system, we develop an entirely new way of functioning that focuses on mutually beneficial interactions, healthy communication and continuously working toward self-betterment on an individual basis. In order for our Workshop to be effective long-term, each individual member of the family must commit to ongoing recovery, participating in individual therapy whenever necessary and taking advantage of existing support groups like Al-Anon. Our Workshop is centered around intensive therapeutic intervention and the development of healthy coping mechanisms and communication skills that can be implemented once the client returns home. Our main priority is restoring a healthy state of familial functioning while instructing each member of the family on how to heal individually.

Family Workshop Retreat
The Outcome

At Guardian Recovery we remain dedicated to providing the loved ones of our clients with comprehensive support every single step of the way. One of the predominant goals of our Family Retreat Workshop is to inform the loved ones of our clients that recovery is much more about what is being done than what is being said. The families that are most successful continue applying the strategies they have learned in real-life situations on a day-to-day basis. No matter how dysfunctional a family has become, recovery is always possible as long as each individual remains dedicated to continuous self-improvement.

Guardian Recovery
Continued Family Care

At Guardian Recovery we believe that the loved ones of each of our clients should be heavily involved in the addiction recovery experience from start to finish. The family acts as a built-in support system once the client completes treatment, and it is crucial that every family member heals on an individual basis.

Our Family Workshop is only one small portion of our family-oriented recovery program. In addition to workshops we offer family therapy sessions, a wide range of recovery-related resources geared towards helping the loved ones of our clients and continued connection. Case managers serve as the main point of contact between our clinical team and the loved ones of our clients, informing them of any and all progress that is being made and of any proposed changes to the existing treatment plan. Addiction truly is a family disease, and at Guardian Recovery we acknowledge this fact thoroughly.

Healing Family Wounds With the Guardian Team

Our family workshops are conducted by trained professionals versed in the relational problems caused by substance misuse and behavioral disorders. Discussions and exercises help families more clearly understand the role that chemical dependency has played in their lives and helps them prepare for upcoming recovery challenges. Topics covered during family counseling include:

  • Understanding substance misuse, dual diagnoses & mental health disorders
  • Exploring family roles & family restructuring
  • Improving relational communication
  • Showing respect & rebuilding trust
  • Confronting addiction triggers & planning for aftercare
  • Setting appropriate boundaries
  • Building a network of support

Ongoing Support

Early recovery is a painful time when your family member may battle loneliness, self-doubt and wavering resolve. Encouragement from their support network can renew determination and restore faith in the hard work of rehab. Likewise, this vulnerable time may also be tough on family members. Guardian Recovery understands the value of ongoing family involvement in their loved one’s recovery. Guardian Recovery offers resources and support throughout the journey, and even after a client has left our facilities. These include:

  • Weekly case management updates
  • Family guidance & support
  • Intensive family workshops
  • Advocacy for substance misuse & co-occurring disorders
  • Advocacy for non-substance-related mental & behavioral health conditions

If you and your family are ready to heal, call us or connect confidentially online. As you embark on your healing journey, we stand by you with support for today—and hope for tomorrow.

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Helpful, Recovery

Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

More About Author
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