If you have a child beginning recovery for a substance abuse issue, you are likely feeling contradictory emotions right now. On one hand, having your child enter into a rehabilitation center is a huge relief. You can sleep at night knowing they are safe and making steps towards recovery. On the other hand, you may feel left in the dark while your loved one is away and you are worrying about what comes after they returns home. Here are a few ways you can cope with a child in rehab.
First, you need to learn to trust the professionals. The weeks or months leading up to your child entering recovery were likely some of the most stressful in your life. You probably worried where they were and whether or not they are safe or even alive. Now, it is time to take a deep breath and trust that your loved one is in good hands. Early in recovery, your child will have restricted communication. This should not be a cause for anxiety, but rather a reassurance that your loved one’s full concentration goes towards getting and remaining sober. The professionals working with your loved one are unable to divulge much information about his progress, but rest easy knowing that these people are trained to help children like yours. Instead of stressing out over all the things you can’t know right now, use this time instead to educate yourself further on your child’s specific addiction. This will leave you feeling less in the dark and better equipped for step two.
The second thing you need to do in order to cope with your child being in rehab is to participate in family meetings. This is a crucial step in your own healing through this time as well as in your loved one’s recovery. You may be feeling hurt or resentful towards the addict, but it is important that you participate in family visits, group therapies, mediation, and anything else that the rehabilitation center offers to you. Your involvement will greatly reduce the risk of your child relapsing once he returns home. You and your child are both healing right now, and it necessary for your support and concern to be heard. It may also be beneficial to seek counseling for yourself at this time as well.
Perhaps the most significant and difficult to navigate step in this journey is helping your child maintain their sobriety after they return home. Outside of rehab, your child now has to deal with his emotions without the use of drugs or alcohol. Make this easier for them by creating a substance-free environment and removing all alcohol and drugs from your home. You will also have to encourage positive behaviors. Instead of letting your child sit around and get sucked back into old ways, help them create a more active and healthy life for themselves. Do healthy and safe activities together that they enjoy and encourage relationships with new positive people. This will keep them busy, give them a boost of confidence, and steer them away from the people they may have been using with in the past. These steps should help you cope with the experience of having a child in rehab and navigating sobriety afterwards.
If your loved one is currently dealing with substance abuse issues and has not yet sought help, a clinically managed detox center can help immediately. Every day you wait means that your child’s life is in danger. Speak to them about the importance of recovery, and follow the above steps to cope in a healthy and supportive way.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, call Marion Gatley for a free consultation today.