4. Create a long-term recovery plan.
A written and structured post-treatment plan will help promote the addict's accountability and communication with him. This plan should discuss the roles and responsibilities of family members, as well as specific prevention strategies that identify relapse triggers and situations to avoid.  Having the individual sign off on the plan before leaving treatment is also helpful in establishing clear expectations and consequences if he breeches the agreement.

Your Next Step
Despite the complex and frustrating nature of addiction, there is still hope for addicts and alcoholics.  Even families that have a history of addiction can achieve sustained recovery and secure their finances and health.  Finding the right help for those of wealth and prominence requires persistence, knowledge and cooperation with proven, reliable treatment professionals.

If a wealthy family is dealing with an addiction, an advisor should look at it as another way to help them with their financial goals. Advisors have a unique opportunity to work with family leaders to address these issues and improve the value of the family support services they provide.   

Common Addiction Myths
Addicts can quit whenever they want.

Most addicts start out thinking they can stop using drugs on their own, and most try to stop without treatment.  They are rarely successful.  Research shows that long-term drug use results in significant changes in brain function that persist long after the individual stops using drugs.  These changes bring about different behaviors, including the addict's compulsion to keep using alcohol or drugs despite the consequences.

All drug treatment programs are the same.

No single treatment is the same for all addicts.  The most effective approaches attend to the multiple needs of the individual-the physical, emotional, psychological and social factors that contribute to the addictive behaviors. Medical management is needed for the critical first stage of withdrawal.  Counseling and other behavioral therapies are important components as well.  As it is with other chronic, relapsing diseases, recovery from drug addiction is a long-term process that requires an ongoing continuing care plan.

You have to be willing to accept drug treatment for it to be effective.

No one wants drug treatment.  Two of the primary reasons people seek drug treatment are because a court has ordered them to do so, or because loved ones have urged them to.  Studies show that those most successful in treatment are those with strong external motivators-the threats of losing money, status, family or work.

William F. Messinger ([email protected]), JD, LADC, is founder and president of Aureus Inc., which specializes in working with families and their advisors on addiction issues.

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