ED As An Addiction: Family Intervention
This may seem like the zillionth time we’ve talked about whether or not eating disorders are an addiction, but the discussion has revolved around how the perception affected treatment. As you may remember, I found Twelve-Step groups to be helpful in my own recovery.
But, as I have been reading more about the group Rational Recovery, another support system for those with addictions, I find the comparison a little less comfortable.
RR, for example, does not believe in Al-Anon or other family support sessions where members sit around bemoaning the tyranny of an addiction. Instead, they suggest a “tough love” approach for the ASS in the family. That would be the Addict as Spouse or Significant other. Now, they never mention ED’s on their site, but as I know there is strong support to the addiction theory, I thought you might appreciate a different perspective.
Their suggestion for addiction in the family? “Addiction in the family is like a black hole that will consume all of the family’s emotional and financial resources. Your first responsibility is to yourself and the rest of your family. Because addiction expands into the tolerance that surrounds it, the most effective remedy is frank, outright intolerance. They suggest planning a meeting with the immediate family and other key persons present. Exclude any professional counselor, “interventionist,” or recovery group member. This is not a recruitment campaign for a recovery organization, a counseling caseload, or for a treatment center.
It is a confrontation with the Beast of addiction, forcing your ASS to choose between self-intoxication and family membership. Keep it a small meeting, and scheduled with as short notice as possible. If you prefer, it need include only you, if you are a spouse or parent of the ASS.”
How would you have responded to that approach? I have a hard time wrapping my head around this as a helpful model, but I would love to know if this has been effective in families with ED.