It's critically important that those suffering from addiction become aware...

It's critically important that those suffering from addiction become aware of treatment, which includes medication to treat withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Credit: Getty Images

I can answer columnist Anne Michaud’s question, “Can this therapy also work for drugs?” [Opinion, May 19]. The answer is a resounding yes.

The Family-to-Family course for coping with mental illness described in her column is very similar to one being used by SMART Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training), a self-help organization that has provided addiction recovery education and support for more than 20 years.

As a meeting facilitator for SMART’s Family & Friends program, I confront the same issues that inspired Joyce Burland to develop the Family-To-Family program. In our meetings, we help families and friends attend to their self-care while they learn tools to strengthen their relationships with their addicted loved one.

Participants use SMART’s Family & Friends Handbook along with many resources from CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training), an evidence-based approach that has proven effective in increasing the chances of recovery by helping family members.

Some topics are understanding change and motivation, setting boundaries and communicating effectively.

As I read about this similar approach to mental illness, I was encouraged that we are moving in the right direction, away from traditional but erroneous thinking that separates families from those they are desperately struggling to help.

Kathy Lang, Glen Head

Editor’s note: The writer is a retired social worker and SMART Recovery online meeting facilitator