The Importance of Family Recovery

In 2000, Stephanie Brown published her ground-breaking book The Family Recovery Guide: A Map for Healthy Growth. She wrote about the paradoxical situation in which “the unhealthy state of alcoholism, with its unpredictability, anxiety and danger, is often normal for the family while the beginning of a committed process of recovery is experienced as an unsettling disruption. Abstinence, the longed-for magical solution to the family’s problems with alcoholism, actually brings its own massive turmoil, chaos and uncertainty.”

This paradox is present whenever any individual moves from addiction to abstinence. When the individual is a physician, whose career and license to practice medicine is on the line, the process is even more intense.

At her institute The Family Recovery Project, Browns’ research demonstrates that the single most important factor contributing to long-term recovery for individuals and families is in reaching outside of the family for help. The most widely known support for recovery is AA & Al-AnonFamily recovery is built on a foundation of individual recoveries. While we understand that needing help is part of being human, it is challenging to ask for it.

At the 2016 Western Doctors In Recovery conference next February in Carmel Valley, the program will include the family recovery and Al-Anon meetings each day.