Family Education Program

Once-monthly Family Program to continue at VCAM on July 13, 2019 – Sign Up Below!

The next Family Education day will be held on Saturday, July 13th at the Virginia Center for Addiction Medicine. If you are concerned that someone you love has a substance use issue, would like continued education on the disease of addiction and how it affects the family, or just need support as you navigate through the recovery process, please join us for a day of lectures and activities presented by some of the top doctors, clinicians and experts in the Richmond area.

Let’s Reduce the Stigma

To those who study it, the truth is plain to see - addiction is not a moral failing but a devastating disease of the mind that can be treated and healed. Nevertheless, there is still so much isolation, shame, and stigma attached to substance abuse for addicted patients and their families that it is difficult for many to seek the help they so desperately need. One of the ways we fight against stigma is by educating families throughout our community on the reality and nature of the disease and giving them the means to counteract it. Families are often surprised to learn that things they did out of love and concern for a family member struggling with addiction were sometimes not helpful. The keys to turning things around are knowledge and informed compassion. Our goal in this effort is to equip families with the knowledge and resources they need to grow and heal and by doing so, help us reduce the deadly effects of stigma in our community. Addiction is “a family disease” and family members are profoundly affected when a loved one suffers. We hope that our program will help family members to recognize the many ways their lives have been impacted by the illness of their loved one. More importantly, we hope they’ll be introduced to the kind of understanding, practices, and treatments that are needed to begin their own journeys of recovery.

VCAM Presenters
Dr. James Thompson, CEO and co-founder of VCAM and a Richmond Top Doc for three years running, will be presenting a lecture on the Science of Addiction. Dr. Thompson is leading the industry with his compassionate, caring team by providing affordable, comprehensive outpatient care to those experiencing addiction and alcoholism in our community and beyond. He co-founded VCAM with a vision, to create an outpatient treatment center that combines the standard tools of addiction medicine- ambulatory detox, and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)- with psychiatry, counseling, and recovery coaching, to make individualized treatment plans that encompass the specific recovery needs of his patients. That vision continues to develop with the addition of the Family Program which will be available not only to patients’ families, but to the community at large.

Frank Watkins, Jr., MS LPC, Clinical Director at VCAM, will present a lecture on Family Dynamics. Frank has been working in the field of Substance Use Disorder treatment for nearly twelve years in a wide variety of facilities, beginning with the establishment of a Peer Recovery Support Program- The SAARA Center for Recovery-under a Federal Grant from The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. He then went to The Family Counseling Center for Recovery, working primarily with Methadone patients and overseeing an Intensive Outpatient Program for nearly seven years. In 2015, he was instrumental in Richmond Behavioral Health Authority’s purchase and reorganization of an inpatient facility formerly known as Rubicon. He has worked as a therapist at The Farley Center in Williamsburg, Virginia, in a long-term residential SUD treatment program specializing in medical professionals, lawyers and military personnel. He came to The Virginia Center for Addiction Medicine in January of 2018 as The Director of Clinical Services. Here, his focus is on establishing a program of group therapy for a variety of patients as well as providing individual therapeutic services. He has a BA in English Literature from Hampden-Sydney College and a MS in Rehabilitative Counseling from VCU. He is currently a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Virginia. He identifies himself as a person in long term recovery.

Evelyn Zak, BA, CSAC, CADC, C-IAYT, facilitator of psycho-educational and substance abuse process groups at VCAM and Dominion Outpatient Services (IOP and Aftercare), will be presenting a lecture on Community Support. Evelyn has worked in the field since 2008 and her specialties include recovery guidance and management, relapse prevention, yoga, relaxation, mindfulness, meditation, substance abuse, problem gambling, writer, proofreader, editor, research and many more.

Guest Speakers
Barbara Burke, LCSW, will be presenting a lecture titled, “The Elephant in the Room”. Barbara received her MSW from the VCU School of Social Work in 1978 and most of her work over the past 40 years has been with Substance Use Disorders. Recently retired from Clinical Practice, Barbara specialized in the assessment, early intervention, and treatment of Adolescents and Young Adults. Barbara believes in the importance of family involvement and motivating young people to understand their relationship with substances and their risk factors for dependence. She is the co-founder of “Rams in Recovery”, a Collegiate Recovery Program at VCU where she remains part of the project team and a member of its advisory board. She is currently adjunct faculty in the School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences where she teaches courses in Substance Abuse. She also contracts with the University of Richmond to provide early intervention groups for their students in need.

Anne Moss Rogers, will be presenting a lecture titled, “It’s Not Personal”. Anne Moss is her first name. It’s a southern thing. She is an author and Emotionally Naked® motivational speaker who helps people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide. Despite the family’s best efforts, her 20-year-old son Charles died by suicide June 5, 2015, after many years of struggle with anxiety, depression, and ultimately addiction. Anne Moss started a blog,, and chronicled her family’s tragedy in a newspaper article that went viral. After receiving a message from a young lady who wrote that one of her blog posts saved her life, Anne Moss sold her digital marketing business and followed her purpose of preventing suicide. She has written a book, due out in October 2019, has been featured in the New York Times, and was the first suicide loss survivor ever invited to speak at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).Originally from North Carolina, she graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband, Randy. They raised two sons, the late Charles Aubrey, 20, and Richard, 26, a filmmaker living his dream in LA. Charles’ dog, Andy is 13 and barks at babies in strollers as they walk by the front of the house.

Register Below!