A Family United

Bernick Family
Table of Contents
You want to go to the place that works and that was Hazelden Betty Ford at Center City for us.


It's never too late to get a new lease on life. Just ask Jason B., whose mother, Lila, courageously sought treatment at Hazelden Betty Ford when she was in her early seventies. Her recovery wound up renewing her entire family. 

Throughout his life, Jason worried about his mother's drinking. 

"My mother would drink on and off over the years," Jason recalls. "My four siblings and I would sometimes wonder what she would be like when we came through the door. We'd hide bottles, do things to try to stop her. And she'd stop drinking, try support groups, but never really succeeded in sustaining it."

He knew that setting out on a path of recovery would be up to her. So when she turned to him with a request to help get her admitted to Hazelden Betty Ford, it was the moment Jason had been waiting for. Less than a week later, she entered treatment at Center City in Minnesota.

Lila remembers the advice that made a difference: "I needed to be totally honest—with myself and with everyone else. It was difficult for me, but I did it. To this day, I feel like a horrible burden had been lifted from me."

And helping to lift that burden was Jason and his siblings, and her husband, all of whom went through the Family Program to learn new ways of interacting with her…and each other as well. Research shows that family involvement in treatment can significantly reduce relapse rates and improve mental health outcomes.

"I was so proud of her. I knew that something was different," remembers Jason. "And my siblings and I all did what they told us in the Family Program—and it helped improve all our relationships. I was really worried about how my dad would interact in the program, but it all worked out well for us as a family."

Jason says that from Hazelden Betty Ford he learned to "live the Serenity Prayer" in his relationships with others, understanding what was out of his control and what he could control, like his own reactions.

"I was getting the tools that I needed in the Family Program. When others shared their experience of treatment in sessions, it helped me better understand what my mother was going through," he remembers.

Jason's recommendation to others in his family's situation? "You want to go to the place that works and that was Hazelden Betty Ford at Center City for us. My advice is to engage fully in the programs. You need to learn how to handle your loved one's alcoholism as much as they do," Jason said.

Lila, now 93, is grateful for the new chapter of her life that began in treatment. "My family was so happy and grateful that I took this step. We were always close, but their support made all the difference. I don't know what I would have done if not for Hazelden Betty Ford," she says.

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