Our Family Workshop (Takes place between April – October)
Addiction is often called “a family disease.” This is because the negative effects of an individual’s addiction ripple out to every other member of the family. Family members adapt their behavior to cope with the addict’s behaviors. There might be enabling or caretaking behaviors. There might be a tendency to walk on eggshells and hold emotions inside. There might be a mountain of unspoken resentment and pain. There is usually a huge amount of misunderstanding about what addiction really is, and why the addict can’t “just stop.”
Addiction is a baffling, powerful and painful disease. It robs individuals of their self-worth and buries them in shame. It leaves a trail of wreckage in its wake. And it creates resentment and sadness in everyone it orbits.
The Plymouth House’s two-day family workshop is designed to help the family process the trauma of what has happened, to express their anger and pain, and to learn more about why their loved one has been powerless to stop abusing drugs or alcohol. The goal is healing for everyone.
The two-day workshop is led by a highly experienced therapist, Michael Herbert, who has been conducting similar family workshops at treatment centers all across the country. Michael has three decades of experience as a drug and alcohol counselor and a highly-developed skill of helping families change their unhealthy dynamics. He is a certified recovery coach, certified addiction counselor and certified interventionist.
During the first part of the family workshop, Michael works solely with the family members. Michael will give a thorough explanation of the disease model of addiction. There is a common misunderstanding in our culture that alcoholism and drug addiction are a choice — that addiction reflects either weak willpower, or weak morals. Family members don’t understand why their loved one can’t just stop.
Michael explains how addiction is a “chronic, relapsing brain disease,” and how in the brain of an advanced-stage addict or alcoholic, the brain treats drug and alcohol seeking like a survival instinct, more important than shelter, food and sex. Michael reassures family members that their loved one’s addiction was not their fault, nor was it a representation of how much their loved one cares about them. They were merely under the control of a power greater than they were. Their loved one could not have stopped even if they desperately wanted to.
Once the family has a clear understanding of the nature of addiction, Michael gets to know the dynamics in each family. He gets some background information and develops an understanding of the underlying issues, feelings and needs.
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On the second day of our Family Workshop (Takes place between April – October) Michael will help families examine the roles each individual plays in the family dynamic. Family members will have an opportunity to express their emotions to their loved one, and the addict or alcoholic will have a chance to respond. Michael watches these interactions carefully to assess what factors have contributed to the repetitive destructive behavior or unhealthy communication patterns. The end of the Family Workshop (Takes place between April – October) is focused predominantly on changing the family dynamic. Michael teaches family members how to set and maintain healthy boundaries, and helps them see what patterns might need to be broken for healthy functioning to be restored. Michael also emphasizes the importance of each and every family member to seek healing through therapy, Al Anon or some form of support. The ultimate goal is for every family member to walk away feeling confident they have a plan of action for continued recovery.
Our Drug & Alcohol Treatment Services Include
When an individual comes to stay at The Plymouth House, they are assigned a designated Case Manager. Their Case Manager is the primary contact for family members to get regular updates on their family member’s progress in The Plymouth House program. The Case Manager will contact family members about the time and details of the family workshop.
When a family travels from a distance to attend the family workshop, there are many nearby accommodations for an overnight stay. Our Case Managers can also help answer any questions you might have about our location, getting here or where to stay. They are also knowledgeable about the workshop, addiction and recovery. Please contact us with any questions or concerns you have.
What to Bring
- An open mind
- An open heart
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Seasonal clothing
- Pen & notebook
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After the Workshop
Following the family workshop it is easy for everyone involved to resort back to old patterns of thinking, feeling and behavior. It is important that every member of the family has ongoing support. Al Anon is a 12-Step program for the family members of alcoholics and addicts. It is highly recommended that family members find an Al Anon group near them to join. There are also many Al Anon groups on Zoom that can be attended digitally. Please reach out to us if you have trouble finding one.
Additionally, The Plymouth House is always here for you! Our Alumni Network is 20,000 people strong. There are many opportunities to get connected with other people who will understand what you are going through.
About Michael Herbert
Michael Herbert leads The Plymouth House’s Family Workshop (Takes place between April – October)s. Michael is an addiction professional with 25 years of experience ranging from intervention to aftercare. Michael also practices professional coaching, working with individuals in group, with families, and one on one. Michael is a Certified Structured Family Counselor working with families in facilitating their process of recovery.
In his 14-year tenure at the Caron Foundation in Florida, Michael has served as a primary therapist, family therapist and clinical director. He has also worked as the Director of Program Development at the Delray Recovery Center. Michael is a Certified Intervention Professional, who is nationally and internationally known as an addiction counselor. Michael’s international work includes teaching addiction counseling at Behman Hospital in Cairo, Egypt, he is also a consultant for the Cairo American College and the Maadi Psychological Center. Michael develops and facilitates self-help groups in North Africa and prevention work in Cape Town, South Africa, along with working with the Spirit of Bermuda on their Charlotte Sail. Domestically, Michael has developed programming for the NY Theological Seminary for Children at Risk, The Dance Theater of Harlem, The New York City Police Department Members Assistance Program (MAP), and served as the Program Director of Inter-Care LTD in New York City. Michael has also been a consultant with Columbia Tri-Star television. Aside from his intellectual and scholarly accomplishments, Michael is a Crossfit enthusiast and at the age of 51, completed an ultra-marathon – which was 155 miles across the Sahara desert. He is also a world traveler, visiting over 30 countries, and a proud graduate of the Hoffman process. Michael is a veteran of the U.S. Navy.
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Ending the cycle of addiction can be very difficult, but recovering as a family is possible. We at The Plymouth House remain available to family members to answer questions and provide updates on progress. At The Plymouth House we are passionate about helping individuals recover from addiction and heal their relationships. If you or your loved one needs help, the time is now. Contact us 24 hours a day. We are here for you.
Learn more about The Plymouth House recovery process here.