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Book Spotlight: “It Takes a Family” by Debra Jay

Posted on 12-20-14 in Addiction Treatment, Recovery

Treatment is a vital step in the recovery process for addicts. While treatment does provide stabilization and initial sobriety, too often it is not outfitted to provide long term recovery and support, a problem which may end up causing a future relapse. That is why Debra Jay’s It Takes a Family: A Cooperative Approach to Sobriety is such a wonderful tool for clinicians, clients and their families. Her book focuses on the recovery of the family as a whole. She provides families and addicts with needed information for creating their own systems for long-term recovery support and monitoring.

Jay’s book is divided into four parts that provide helpful information, guidelines and resources to family members so they can work together in recovery.

  • Part one tells families what they need to know to create the change they desire. This information describes addiction as a disease, explains why the emphasis on motivation is misplaced, identifies the behaviors that are associated with successful recovery or cause relapse and takes a new look at enabling and the toll that addiction has on all family members.
  • Part two describes what it is that families need to do to bring about recovery and support through a process called Structured Family Recovery. This means implementing Structured Family Recovery meetings and/or attending 12-step meetings.
  • Part three provides opening and closing statements for Structured Family Recovery meetings and suggested topics for discussion.
  • Part four gives family members tools and checklists for creating their own recovery plans. This part includes family relapse warnings, outlines the Eight Essential Elements that influence Structured Family Recovery and provides a relapse agreement. All together, Jay provides 52 weeks of outlines for family meetings.

It Takes a Family focuses on providing family members and addicts with vital information that can help them create their own recovery support and monitoring systems. This is built around two main ideas: Structured Family Recovery and the Eight Essential Elements.

Structured Family Recovery is a commitment from each family member to develop their own recovery plan and attend weekly family meetings in which all family members are held accountable. This approach focuses on helping the family as a whole. Additionally, it takes the spotlight off the addict and encourages understanding, empathy and respect among family members for how difficult it is for the addict.

Jay identifies the Eight Essential Elements as a gold standard and bases the Structured Family Recovery around them. These elements include:

1) Positive rewards and negative consequences

2) Frequent random drug testing

3) 12 step involvement and abstinence expectation

4) Applicable role models and recovery mentors

5) Modified lifestyles

6) Active and sustained monitoring

7) Active management of relapse

8) Continuing care approach.

By utilizing the approach outline in Jay’s book, family members and addicts are held accountable, breed empathy and understanding for each other and approach recovery as a unit rather than leaving the addict to go it alone.

This book is a great tool for clinicians who are looking for ways to extend support and monitoring to recovering alcoholic patients. It also aides family members in working together and as individuals in finding an appropriate balance between personal responsibilities and building a circle of support to help the one in recovery. Rather than allowing the addict to take on their recovery alone, Jay understands that it truly does take a family to keep an addict on track and thus makes the family a part of the recovery team while encouraging recovery for all family members.

If you are interested in purchasing It Takes a Family you can go here. Reviewers describe Jay’s writing as clear and concise while remaining empathetic to addicts and family members.

Debra Jay is a nationally recognized addiction counselor and interventionist. She is the author of No More Letting Go and co-authored Love First with Jeff Jay and has written multiple journal and magazine articles on addiction. Jay is an in demand speaker and trainer at behavioral health conferences and treatment centers around the world.

Sovereign Health Group knows that the road to recovery is one that never truly ends. That is why they offer a tremendous amount of support post-rehab through their Alumni Program. Through this program, they reach out to former patients to see how their journey is going and to offer guidance when necessary.

Written by Sovereign Health Content Writer Brianna Gibbons