Watching a loved one struggle with alcohol or drug addiction is an undeniably tough challenge to face-One of the best things you can do is take steps to help your family member going to rehab. After weeks, months, or possibly years of enduring this addiction they have personally decided to do the best thing for them-enter rehab! While seeking treatment is an exciting and optimistic path to be taking it is also a time of change and acceptance for not only the addict but their family and friends as well. While it may seem overwhelming, there are many ways to make the transition process smoother for everyone coping with addiction. Keep reading to learn some tips and tricks on handling this difficult time while supporting your loved one!
Helping With A Family Member Going To Rehab
Educate yourself on addiction
As your family member begins their journey through recovery an excellent place for you to start is by putting yourself in their shoes. It is easy to look at a struggling addict and feel as though you are immune to the disease, and that they are choosing this deteriorating lifestyle. In order to comprehend what your loved one is going through you must understand the complex disease that is addiction. Look at different rehab programs, myths about rehab that can lead to biased opinions, as well as research about different treatment protocols. To begin, let’s explore the reasons why people initially take drugs.
Many factors drive people to take drugs, such as:
- For pleasure, helping them relax and distress.
- They’re prescribed medication that becomes a gateway into other drugs.
- Social pressure and a desire to fit in.
- A curiosity that leads to experimentation.
- They want to rebel against what they’re supposed to be doing.
- They see and hear about them in the media.
- They’re unaware of the risks they bring.
With drug usage comes a severe risk of developing dependence and addiction to the substance. Addiction is defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. Even though an addict may want to stop using, their mind has become dependant on the substance, causing cravings and loss of control. This is important to keep in mind when talking to your loved one about their addiction. Educating yourself on addiction and the specific drug they are addicted to will make it easier for you and your loved one to have a conversation about the matter, increasing trust and understanding with a new perspective. Educating yourself is a great way to show your loved one that you care and are dedicated to helping them recover.
Understand the recovery process and what it entails
Recovery from drug or alcohol addiction does not happen overnight; it is a long and tough journey to reach lifelong sobriety. You may be curious what a typical day in a drug rehab facility is like, and how these steps are going to help them achieve sobriety. The length of treatment can vary anywhere between 30-90 days, and for long-term treatment, it continues beyond that. Upon entering rehab, the first step is detoxing the body of the abused substance. Detoxing is a process that can be very uncomfortable and scary, as the addict begins to experience symptoms of withdrawal. These withdrawal symptoms may include sweating, anxiety, nausea, muscle aches, insomnia and more. In a rehabilitation center, one’s health and stability is able to be monitored by professionals as their body goes through these changes ensuring a safe detox. While getting the body clean is an essential first step, the real journey starts after the detox, as one must learn to remain sober. Beginning with an early wake-up call the day will start with a healthy breakfast and possible some morning exercises before diving into the daily activities. A typical day in a drug or alcohol addiction treatment facility consists of counseling sessions, education programs, fitness training, and life skills tools. At Landmark Recovery, we offer many different types of therapy and cater them to individual needs.
Different types of therapy your loved one may experience include:
- Art Therapy
- Family Therapy
- Fitness and Recreation
- Group Therapy
- Guided Meditation
- Individual Therapy
- Smart Recovery
- Suboxone Treatment
Throughout these daily therapy sessions, addicts will learn the skills that will help them make the changes they need to live a successful sober life. They will learn how to recognize and avoid situations that could bring upon triggers and risk. They will be exposed to healthy ways to handle stress or anxiety versus turning to alcohol or drugs. Your loved one will be able to prepare themselves for the difficulty of staying sober in tempting situations that the future will hold.
Know that you're not alone
If your loved one is the first person you have personally known to enter rehab, it is easy to feel as though you’re the only one going through this. Addiction strikes so many lives that support groups have been created to help these struggling families and friends. Al-Anon is a support program dedicated to friends and family affected by an alcoholic, and Nar-Anon is another support group for those affected by drug addicts. Al-Anon and Nar-Anon offer complimentary meetings where you can gather with other friends and family of addicts, providing support, sharing experiencing, and building up each others strength as they endure similar situations. These meetings are offered all throughout the country, and can even be attended virtually. Having a support system of like-minded individuals can make the adjustment into rehab much more pleasant. Another option is to look into if there is a family program at your family members rehab center. At Landmark Recovery, we offer complimentary family therapy sessions twice a week for families seeking assistance in the impacts drugs or alcohol have had on them. On top of these options, there are many songs and films about addiction that can offer insight and help you realize you’re not alone in this.
Stay involved throughout the process
While initial contact with your family member in rehab is limited, there will eventually come a time where you are able to interact. Many rehabilitation centers host days dedicated for family and friends coming to visit. Take advantage of this opportunity! Attend this event to show support and encouragement during this tough time. This will mean the world to them, knowing that regardless of what has happened there is still love and encouragement. There has been research done proving that substance abuse treatment programs involving the addicts family have a higher success rate than ones that do not. At many rehabilitation centers, family therapy is offered as a part of the treatment process. At Landmark Recovery, the goal of family therapy is to rebuild trust, improve communication skills, and develop coping skills for handling conflict. For an enhanced family dynamic, seek out services like this that are offered.
Stop blaming yourself
When a family member enters rehab, specifically a son, daughter, or spouse it is common to reside feelings of guilt and responsibility for their actions. It is absolutely crucial to understand that you are not the cause of the behavior of your loved one. While your mind may be occupied with thoughts of what you could’ve done or said to prevent this addiction at the end of the day, it is ultimately the user's responsibility for how they chose to act. Addicts often look for the easy way out and blame the people in their lives for where they are now. Do not let them convince you of this, justifying their substance abuse and taking away their responsibility. An essential part of recovery is acknowledging where they went wrong, and what they can learn from the mistakes they have made. At the same time, do not bring the addict down by assigning blame or lashing out on them for the decisions they made. This could harm the recovery process, bringing them back to the lowest point in their life and filling them with guilt and shame. When talking with this loved one it critical to focus on the future and what they have to look forward to upon completing treatment.
Focus on yourself
While staying involved in your family members life throughout recovery is essential; it is also important to not let this transition take over your mind and your life. Now is the time to take charge of your life, without feeling as though you are responsible and depended on by another person. This may be the first time in a while you can go throughout the day without worrying if this person is safe. Once in rehab, they are good hands, and you can finally get some rest that you’ve likely longed for. Take advantage of this time to yourself to focus on what brings you happiness, whether it be traveling, exercising, reading, or even developing a new hobby! Do not feel selfish spending this time on yourself, you deserve it, and it is going to help you heal. It is going to be an adjustment but revisiting old habits that existed before their addiction is genuinely going to lift spirits and make the process much more fulfilling.
Prepare for life after rehab
Unfortunately, the process of recovery does not end when an addict checks out of rehab. As lovely as that sounds, addiction is a lifelong battle and recovery is a lifetime commitment. Your loved one must now reenter a world full of temptations and pressures that they must overcome. At this point what is most important is preventing a drug or alcohol relapse. Keep supporting your loved one, and encourage them to follow their treatment plan, whether that may be speaking with a counselor or attending support groups for addicts. Set the best example possible for this person, encouraging exercise and other healthy outlets. If your loved one does relapse, know that this is not uncommon and it does not mean that they will never recover. Do not take their relapse as a reason to give up on them and their recovery, instead, try to help them identify what went wrong and what they must do differently to ensure a relapse does not happen again. In fact, it has been shown that between 40 and 60 percent of people recovering from addiction will relapse within a year of leaving treatment. Through social support you can help lower the possibility of a relapse happening, welcoming your loved one and inviting them to partake in activities away from their previous social circle. Beware of your treasured one's habits, notice if they are falling into old behaviors, and encourage them to focus on their newfound sobriety.
Learn to trust again
Once your loved one has left rehab, there is likely a long process ahead of rebuilding that relationship and trust to what it was before their addiction. While trust is easiest to build upon by actions and change, there are additional ways to grow this faith. Maintaining healthy communication is vital. Ensuring that your loved one feels they can come to you and openly speak about their post-treatment struggles will enhance your relationship. Work on forgiving, while not forgetting. Try to remember that their disease does not define your family member, and there is still that incredible person within. Continue taking advantage of the opportunities like family therapy to discuss your relationship and the prospects for growth. Most importantly, know that this process takes time. Trusting, healing, and forgiving do not happen overnight but do not lose hope for what your relationship has the potential to become.
Seek rehab today
If you are seeking drug and alcohol recovery for a family member going to rehab, contact Landmark Recovery today. At Landmark Recovery, we are committed to offering high-quality treatment in an environment based off of trust, treatment, and intervention. With treatment programs catered to individuals needs, we are passionate about finding what works best for you as you begin your road to recovery and a happier life. Our staff is a team of passionate, authentic, and courageous individuals who are uncompromising in our pursuit of excellence. Start living the life you dreamed, and begin recovery at Landmark today!