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Betty Ford Foundation expands support for families of addicts

Hazeldon Betty Ford expands family program
Posted at 6:00 PM, May 09, 2018

NAPLES, Fla -- The Hazeldon Betty Ford Foundation in Naples, Florida is expanding its support for families of those with substance addiction. The Caring Families program was developed to help families cope with the psychological affects that can come with helping a loved one who has an addiction. 

Four in Your Corner spoke with a couple that went through the Caring Families program in Naples. They asked to only be identified by their first names; Karen and John. They described how before attending sessions at the Hazeldon Betty Ford Foundation, they weren't sure how to go about addressing the addiction developed by their son. 

“My life was in an uproar, I was extremely anxious all the time, I wasn’t sleeping”, Karen told Four in Your Corner.

Karen and John say they both tried everything they could think of to help their son when they discovered he had developed an addiction to alcohol. Both say they realized they needed to take an alternative course of action when their efforts weren't working. John says that when he first heard about the Caring Families program, he had a different idea in mind for what would happen when he walked through the doors of the Naples clinic. 

“I came down here with the impression, first of all, I was gonna learn how to change my son”, he said. 

John and Karen quickly learned that caring families was not about fixing their son, it was about healing themselves. Led by Dan Simmons, the caring families program focuses on helping people cope with the emotions they may have suppressed while focusing on the needs of their addicted loved one. 

“They talk about the three C’s. You didn’t cause this, you can’t control it and you can’t cure it. I’ve added two more  C’s. You can learn to cope and you do that through connection."

Simmons says that connection is key when he works with the people who come to the sessions. He says in his experience, hearing stories similar to their own helps people feel less isolated and opens the door to healing. 

“It’s not their fault and that there’s hope for them to cope with this.”

Support groups are held at the Hazeldon Better Ford Center in Naples and Golisano Children's Hospital. You can find out more information about the Hazeldon Betty Ford Caring Families program here.