For Admissions call 844-749-1560
For Admissions call 844-749-1560

Treatment Process Education for Families

When your loved one enters Lifeskills South Florida, they will experience a range of emotions that include nervousness, defensiveness, anger, doubt, excitement, and relief. Drugs, alcohol, and untreated brain disorders have been convincing your loved one that they are hopeless and that they need alcohol or drugs for survival. They may also believe that continuing to engage in their unhealthy patterns of behavior is the only way to deal with their symptoms. Treatment at Lifeskills South Florida will debunk these false notions and they will learn an entirely new way to live. Research shows that clients remaining in and completing their treatment program have a significantly higher chance of living a full, happy, and productive life of recovery and wellness. Checking out early is often followed by relapse of substance use, relapse of poor coping patterns, and noncompliance with treatment and medication.

The phases of treatment in addiction and alcohol abuse include detoxification, initial abstinence, long-term abstinence, and recovery.  Clients will experience cravings that may lead to relapse and be triggered by sights, smells, taste, and strong memories associated with the drug of choice. The use of drugs and alcohol work on the reward circuit of the brain forming memories in the most primal part of the brain that can lead to relapse and compulsive use, despite negative consequences. The longer a person stays in treatment, the better his or her chances are to achieve lasting sobriety and to be better prepared for effective recovery.

That said, the hard work in active treatment begins with the client learning about the disease of brain disorders and addiction, meeting with his or her therapist, meeting in groups, learning how to identify triggers, developing and practicing effective coping skills and mechanisms, and becoming familiar with the concept and process of network support by participating in 12-step and alternative self-help group meetings. Addressing drug abuse and/or brain disorders takes commitment and compromise.

Lifeskills South Florida is a 60 to 120 day program, specializing in care for clients with chronic, long-term, and co-occurring disorders (often referred to as dual diagnosis) that require extended treatment at our residential treatment facility. Clients leaving early short circuit their recovery process.

Families can expect some of their loved ones to struggle and even resist treatment initially. What does this look like?

  • Petitioning a family to leave treatment early and promise to stop using or to be compliant with medication and treatment if allowed to come home.
  • Complaining about things such as their living conditions, the programs difficulty, restrictions, policies, roommates, staff and so on (NOTE: we call this “case building”).
  • Attempt to create doubt in the program.
  • Refuse to take medications and or participate in therapy.
  • Deny, minimize or rationalize about their problem or the degree of severity.
  • Refuse to sign a release of information form, not allowing the family and program to communicate with each other.
  • Not communicate effectively about their problems or the healing process.
  • Threatening to leave against medical advice or to run away.

Keep in mind that some clients adapt quickly, fully committing to doing whatever it takes to overcome addiction and brain disorders; others take longer. Family support is the best thing that you can provide for your loved one as he or she goes through treatment and begins recovery.

As family members, you are supported and strongly encouraged to articulate clear guidelines of what you will and will not do for your loved one.  Here are some helpful things you can do for yourself and your loved one while they are in treatment:

  • With the help of the family therapist, set strong loving boundaries. This means saying clearly and firmly that you will no longer participate in activities that support your loved one’s dysfunction or problem.
  • Plan with the family therapists how to deal with pleas to come home and end treatment early.
  • Prepare for situations where a loved one may attempt to manipulate to leave prematurely.
  • Communicate as often as necessary with family and primary therapists to understand your loved one; No question is silly.

Brain Diseases and/or substance abuse indirectly affect loved ones and can be overwhelming. Lifeskills South Florida has an abundance of family resources available to you and are here to support you as well.

The Team at Lifeskills South Florida



Family Survey


Name: ___________________   Date: ______________________ MR#_______________________

  1. What should the primary therapist and/or treatment team do if your loved one is not engaging in treatment or expresses a desire to leave treatment against medical advice? What would prompt them to reconsider?





  1. How will they respond/react to the interventions above?





  1. Who are two significant others who are invested in your loved one and their clinical care?

Name: __________________________________________________________________

Daytime phone number: ___________________________________________________

Nighttime phone number: __________________________________________________

How could they help if your loved one wanted to leave against medical advice?


  1. Name: __________________________________________________________________

Daytime phone number: ___________________________________________________

Nighttime phone number: __________________________________________________

How could they help if your loved one wanted to leave against medical advice?


Comments: ________________________________________________________________________

Patient Signature/date _________________________________________________________________

Staff Signature/date____________________________________________________________________