Recovery from addiction is a family business and including family members in every aspect of treatment makes it much more likely that the business will be successful. One of the difficult hurdles to this inclusion of family in treatment is the idea that exposing, particularly children, to the recovery process is in some way unsavory or lacking in moral standing. This belief is often expressed in not wanting children to know anything about the how the addictive process unfolded even after the recovering person has started on the road to health. Statements like, “I would never take my kid to an AA or NA meeting” or “kids don’t belong at a methadone clinic”, suggest a separation of family and treatment that we at Sacred Heart would like to bridge.
This holiday the Sacred Heart staff of the Adult Residential Opiate Treatment Program held a party for the children and other family members at the Richmond facility. The party was made more festive by the participation of several community organizations as well as numerous unaffiliated individuals. These groups and individuals contributed approximately seventy wrapped Christmas presents ranging in price from five to fifteen dollars making it possible for every child of an Opiate Treatment Program client to receive a gift.
The gifts were under a tree decorated by both clients and Sacred Heart staff and when children arrived they were given the presents by clients who volunteered to be elves. There were treats and wrapping paper every where. Newborn babies were seen sporting new blankets and knitted caps. The blankets and hats were made by children who were given an explanation of the importance of the idea of the Gift as a spiritual part of the holiday festivity.
The message that the Sacred Heart staff of the Adult Residential Opiate Treatment Program was trying to send is that this program is family friendly. A client coming to us is welcome and so is his family. The idea that you can’t do recovery alone means that the staff of Sacred Heart, the community at large, your AA and NA bothers and sisters and your loved ones will join you in this journey. You are not alone.
-Sacred Heart Therapist