Long-Term Recovery Improves With Family Involvement
A year ago, when Nicole Sartore-Babuin was asked to set up a family program at Gray Wolf Ranch, no one could have predicted the program’s impact. Today, family involvement and family healing have become hallmarks of recovery success for Gray Wolf residents working hard to build new lives without substance misuse.
“When a client is admitted,” says Nicole, “I call the family and introduce myself. I explain that they, too, need support and counseling while their son is in treatment. My job is to bring them alongside residents and inform them about our customized family workshops and webinars so that they can participate in recovery at the same time as their loved one.”
Keeping families connected to the Gray Wolf Ranch program involves telephone contact, weekly online seminars and three-day workshops. “Every family receives an individualized family treatment plan,” explains Nicole, “depending on their level of involvement with the resident.” Nicole also acts as the Gray Wolf Ranch family liaison. “It’s important for parents, siblings and loved ones to know what their son is doing in treatment. I sit in on staff meetings and stay up to speed on what is happening with the boys clinically. Then, when a family calls Gray Wolf with questions, I relay information and provide ongoing support.”
Chemical Dependency Is a Relapsing Disease
Family involvement during treatment at Gray Wolf Ranch has a positive effect on long-term recovery. Substance misuse disorder is a disease of relapse, and Nicole says it is critical for families to expect and prepare for setbacks. “Parents that understand the possibility of relapse are better equipped to help their son get back on track when sobriety obstacles arise. They are also better equipped to manage their own self-care.”
Gray Wolf Ranch’s Family Program includes weekly webinars where parents and family members receive ongoing psychoeducation about recovery topics like these:
- Triggers & preventing relapse
- Setting temporary boundaries
- Rebuilding trust
- Communicating assertively
- Managing recovery stress
Family workshops at Gray Wolf Ranch give parents a chance to meet staff and get the lay of the land at the Ranch facilities. Nicole believes the Family Program is also key to helping parents, siblings and loved ones develop a relapse plan. Weekend and three-day workshops provide an opportunity for families to interact with staff, connect with one another, share experiences and build a network of support.
It’s realistic to say most families encounter bumps on the road to sobriety. “When parents are vigilant about staying connected, and setbacks occur along the way,” she says, “they have an action plan and support team. They are connected to other families dealing with similar situations, and we believe that’s critical to recovery success.”
Alumni Appreciate Family Involvement With Sobriety Journey
According to Nicole, alumni of Gray Wolf Ranch believe family input helps them stay sober. “Families and alumni are our top referrals to treatment,” she says. “We’ve had three guys come back to Gray Wolf Ranch recently, and their families are still staying connected weekly through the online programming.”
Support and community are hallmarks of the Gray Wolf Ranch recovery program. We believe chemical dependency is a disease, and with the right treatment, education and support, complete recovery is possible. If you have a family member struggling with drug or alcohol misuse, call Gray Wolf Ranch admissions staff at 206-880-7435 or click here to learn more about our Family Program and workshops.