familySt. Joseph Institute is excited to announce our expanded Family Program. This Premier program offers family members of our residents an intensive, four-week educational series accompanied by weekly counseling sessions. For more details on how to enroll in the program, please visit our Family Program web page.

With the launch of the expanded Family Program, we will also launch a new blog series—Family in Recovery—exclusively for family and loved ones of addicts. Topics covered will include effective communication, appropriate intervention strategies, family contracts, and more.

At St. Joseph Institute, we recognize that addiction does not exist in a vacuum. Loved ones are affected by the dysfunctional lifestyle that accompanies this destructive disease, and everyone feels anxious. To ease your anxiety, we want to offer knowledge and understanding. We want to give you the tools you will need to strengthen your family dynamic and help your loved one recover.

The Family Program includes materials that provide a general understanding of addiction, along with some special educational materials that are unique to our program. Our materials cover traditional aspects of addiction treatment such as 12-Step components and education on the Disease Concept, relapse prevention, and critical life skills such as bonding, trusting, problem-solving, and conflict resolution. Families will also learn the same Recovery Education topics we teach our residents, such as underlying factors that contribute to the formation and maintenance of addictive behavior – factors such as emotional wounding, distorted thoughts, maladaptive behavior patterns, the pain associated with grief and an inability to forgive, a lack of healthy boundaries, and proper validation. The weekly family counseling sessions that accompany our Family Program highlight these underlying factors and provide opportunities to find healing.

The Family Program is designed to help you keep pace with the extensive education that your loved one is receiving and give you a common language to help you communicate about the process of addiction and recovery. We hope that you will form a therapeutic alliance with us to encourage your loved one’s sustained health and recovery. For more information, please contact us at 888-777-1098 or by email at

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healthyOvereating processed foods is one of the most common ways to replace a drug or alcohol addiction. Pamela M. Peeke, MD, MPH, has worked with addiction treatment centers across the country to educate residents about “hyper-palatables”—sugary, fatty, or salty foods—and how they hijack the brain and trigger compulsive behaviors, making relapse even more likely for those in early recovery.

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At St. Joseph Institute, we strictly limit sugar and processed-food intake and encourage our residents to continue to make healthy choices after they complete the program. We have posted on the importance of nutrition before, and new research continues to point to the immense power of food to trigger compulsive behavior, including addiction.

An article in the August 2015 issue of Psychology Today reveals evidence that what happens in our gut may have just as much power over our behavior as what happens in our brain. Laboratory tests on animals have revealed that when intestinal bacteria, or probiotics, are out of balance, subjects are more prone to stress, anxiety, depression, autism, chronic pain, poor cognitive function, and weakened immune systems. Imbalances of gut bacteria can also compromise the brain’s reward system and produce the cravings that stimulate compulsive behavior.

There are many products and supplements intended to foster healthy probiotics. You should talk to your doctor about whether you need any particular product or supplement. But the best way to ensure a healthy gut is to eat the foods that support it: whole foods that are naturally low in sugar, fat, and salt.

The evidence continues to mount: take care of your gut, and you will take care of your brain. Don’t underestimate the power of a healthy diet to combat anxiety, depression, and compulsive behavior. Continue to seek out tools and tips for living healthfully in recovery.





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Addiction among seniors is a growing problem. Unfortunately, this problem often slips under the public radar, and the government does not provide seniors the education, attention, and funding they deserve. This article looks at 10 barriers to age-appropriate treatment for seniors. The barriers come from all sources: families who are embarrassed by the problem or don’t want to acknowledge it, inadequate treatment and misdiagnosis by doctors, denial, loneliness, lack of senior support groups, and more.

St. Joseph Institute is aware of the senior addict or alcoholic’s unique needs and strives to reach out to older adults. While we are not a senior-specific facility, the average age of residents in our program is higher than most, and residents over 40 usually find the Institute environment comfortable as we typically have other residents of a similar age. In addition, our emphasis on sustaining a loving, welcoming community ensures that all residents, regardless of age, feel comfortable and supported while in treatment.

Research has identified 7 important factors for treating alcoholism and addiction in older adults:
• Be supportive and non-confrontational
• Link with other health and social services
• Focus on the social and psychological needs of older adults
• Focus on rebuilding social support networks
• Match teaching speed and content to an older audience
• Offer respect
• Individualize and be flexible with program duration

St. Joseph staff and faculty enjoy working with seniors. We understand that the causes of addiction for seniors are often different than those for younger people, and we are equipped to treat the loneliness, depression, grief, and loss that often lead seniors to alcohol or drugs.

We are aware that seniors often feel isolated from their families and might need more extensive after-care support for that reason. Through our alumni network, after-care program, and family program, we can help older adults find the support they need after they leave treatment.

While we require that our residents be ambulatory and without need for the constant medical care that would be found in a hospital setting, we make every effort to accommodate seniors who may need more time or space to transition between buildings and activities.

We encourage families to learn more about addiction in seniors and to understand that the difficulty you might face in confronting a senior family member’s addiction is worth the cost. Alcoholic or addicted seniors who get treatment experience the following*:

• increased cognitive and emotional health
• decreased physical health problems
• decreased risk of falls and injury
• increased independence

It’s never too late. Let’s take care of our seniors and respect their ability to achieve a rich, fulfilling, healthy life—at any age.

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