Please see information below for families.
Please be reassured that whatever you are experiencing is not your fault, nor is it your responsibility to resolve. Livingstone House offers family support sessions to provide you with advice and information – and involves you in the rehabilitation process by facilitating visits and time with your family member. We are on this journey together.
In order to get a fuller picture of how the Service User’s addiction has affected family members, friends, etc, we send a questionnaire to those people nominated by the Service User. The completed questionnaire gives us information, which the Service User may not be aware of, or may wish to forget. Specific incidents are useful in order for us to ascertain the levels of unmanageability and potential damage caused to family members and those around them. This information is not shown to the Service User but will be used by the treatment team at their discretion is required. If you do not receive a Family Questionnaire but would like to have some input, please see Damage Letters, below.
Finding yourself in a residential treatment centre away from family and friends and facing a medical detoxification can be frightening. We recommend that messages, cards and letters be sent giving support. (Talk with Livingstone House staff before doing this, as in some cases, messages can be counter productive and signal an exit from treatment).
We are very aware that living with someone suffering from an addiction – either chemical or behavioural, can be extremely stressful, the family naturally attempt to ignore it, they learn to cover things up, attempt to hide bottles/drugs etc from the addict and may feel they have to tell lies in order to keep the problem ‘in the family’. This is very harmful to everyone and only helps to assist the individual to continue their behaviour. However, once someone has made a decision to face their addiction they are asked to be honest about their behaviour. Sometimes this is hard to do when they may be unaware of the effect their behaviour has on those around them, therefore we ask family members/friends etc to write ‘Damage Letters’ or ’10 Examples of how the Service Users addiction has affected them personally and made them feel’ in order for us to help the Service User to see the other side of their addiction. (An example of the type of letter is below.)
We fully appreciate how difficult it is to write such a letter as there is often fear that telling a loved one things they don’t want to hear may turn them against you, however, when this is dealt with in a supportive and therapeutic environment, the Service User is able to come to terms with the contents and begin to fully understand the extent of their addiction. The letters are always addressed to the Service User, but we ask that they be posted to John Hagans or Sally Livingstone, so that they are aware of the content and can ascertain the most beneficial time to use the letter in order to benefit the Service User. This is often when the Service User is in denial about the extent of their problem and perhaps considering leaving treatment early.
Below is a brief example of the type of letter we recommend. If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact the Treatment Team at Livingstone House.
I really didn’t want to write this letter but I am afraid that if I don’t then you will have no idea of what you are like when you are drinking, the whole family have suffered and as much as we all love you, I need to tell you that this cannot continue. I never thought that the man I married would turn into such a frightening person. When alcohol comes into the picture you become loud, abusive and insulting and I am so worried that the children will be affected by this, they are frightened each day that you come home, what mood will you be in, will you be fun, loud, angry or sad – they stay in their bedrooms so as not to make things worse and are too embarrassed to invite friends around.
My family can’t understand why I put up with this, you have stolen money that was put aside to pay bills, missed countless birthdays and occasions and I am too embarrassed to accept invitations to friends houses in case you get drunk. Actually we don’t have any friends now because you have behaved appallingly on every occasion, you never miss a chance to humiliate me and you never remember doing so.
I need you to accept this opportunity, as I believe it is the only way that we have a future together, I do love you but I don’t love the man you become when you drink. Etc Etc
During the period of treatment either by the Service User or family members can request a facilitated meeting with a member of staff. This can help to provide a structured environment to talk through any problems that need to be addressed in order for the relationship to enter a healthier and more honest phase if it is to continue at all. It specifically enables both sides to set in place their needs from each other as the period of treatment draws to a close.
Family Conference – by arrangement
There are occasions when the whole family have been affected by addiction and there is some fear about what happens when the Service User leaves treatment and/or returns home. In these cases we recommend that a Family Conference be requested, whereby all family members have the opportunity to talk openly about their fears and how they have been affected, as well as what happens when the Service User completes treatment. Children are encouraged to take part in these Conferences as they are often left feeling frightened and confused at having a parent who is not acting normally, they begin to believe that they are at fault and it is important to take the time to ensure they understand that it is not. These meetings are facilitated by a staff member and can place during weekdays or weekends, by arrangement.
Telephone contact with Livingstone House staff
During any time that your loved one is in treatment you have access to staff who can either update you as to progress made, medical conditions or just to put your mind at rest. Should you wish to talk to your loved ones keyworker, please call during 9am to 5pm. If the staff are busy they will return your call as soon as possible.
Visitors to Livingstone House are requested not to drink alcohol or take drugs on the day of their visit as this is inappropriate in a therapeutic setting. We reserve the right to ask anyone to leave the premises.
You and your visitors are expected to stay within Livingstone House and its grounds, unless you have been given special permission by the staff team.
Visitors to Livingstone House are required to attend a Family Group which takes place prior to visiting and also at other specifically arranged times. This group is in place to offer support for family members/children who may be struggling to understand addiction and its effects.
During your stay at Livingstone House you may feel that you need to have a meeting with family members/partner etc in order to talk honestly about situations which may have occurred, or perhaps to discuss present and future relationship problems. In order to help you with what can be a difficult situation, we offer facilitated meetings which can take place before visiting or at another arranged time. During these facilitated sessions, a member of staff will be present to ensure that all sides are able to be heard and supported. Please ask a member of the Livingstone House staff if you wish to arrange a facilitated meeting.
Weekdays & Saturdays
13:30 – 17:00
First Visit in Rehab, after that outside visits are permitted.
Craig Goddard – Residential Substance Misuse Worker firstname.lastname@example.org
Lee James – Residential Substance Misuse Worker email@example.com
Derek Bagley – Business Administrator firstname.lastname@example.org
Livingstone House 0121 753 4448
Livingstone House Fax 0121 771 2399
Livingstone Sanctuary 0121 753 4514