Family matters

Recovery is…

 The Families First conference gave Adfam the opportunity to ask family members what recovery means to them, says Joss Smith

 We were so pleased to be running our inaugural Families First conference in partnership with DDN last week in Birmingham and very excited about the turnout and the opportunity to promote the needs of families. The conference drew together both professionals and family members to hear from leading practitioners and organisations in the field. It gave us a real opportunity to have wide-ranging conversations on how best to promote the idea of families’ recovery.

 We have been very interested in what recovery means for families for some time, and saw the conference as an ideal way to ask families and professionals what recovery means for them. Attendees were asked to consider the question and we received some very interesting and insightful responses, including:

 Recovery for families is…

 ‘A journey towards sustainable physical and mental health and wellbeing – a life without fear. No more walking on eggshells.’

 ‘Teaching them to seek support for themselves, including how and when to then support the user.’ 

 ‘Having a family become whole again. Having the circle reconnected.’ 

 ‘Independence, having my own life.’

 ‘A good night’s sleep.’ 

 ‘The chance to be whole again.’

 These are just a few of the many responses we received, and show not only the significant impact on families’ lives that a drug or alcohol user can have, but also the long, individual and sometimes painful process recovery can be for them. We think it is really important that families receive recognition for their own recovery journey and have support and places to turn when that journey is hard. One of the most significant challenges is the continuing lack of services and professionals out there that recognise their needs. 

 Over the next few months we will be asking families and professionals what they think ‘recovery for families is…’ so that we can gather some form of consensus and understanding at both a local and a national level.

 So what do you think? Send your Recovery for families is… comments to or tweet us @AdfamUK.

 Joss Smith is director of policy and regional development at Adfam,