How To Support Your Loved One In Treatment
Knowing how to approach a loved one who’s ready to enter treatment can be the difference between success and a relapse. Ultimately, an addict will make their own choice about how and when they get help; but how the family behaves before, during, and after the intervention can have a definite impact on the outcome. Understanding how to support a family member once they agree to go to rehab is essential to the recovery process.
Making it Through an Intervention Successfully
A successful intervention is one that ends in your loved one entering treatment. That sounds simple, but there are some things that are necessary for that to work:
- The addict must understand the way their addiction is impacting the people they care about.
- The people (friends and family) who attend the intervention must be prepared to stop helping the addict should they refuse treatment.
- Most successful interventions are held in a neutral environment and led by a licensed interventionist. Professional help is a key component to success.
- There should already be a treatment facility ready and willing to take the addict as soon as they say yes to treatment. Giving them time to change their mind is a bad idea.
- Everyone who attends the intervention needs to know how to react without baiting the addict, becoming aggressive or trying to communicate with negative emotions.
- Have a plan in place for both their acceptance and their denial and stick to this plan no matter what.
- Approach the addict with love and remind them of how much they mean to everyone, and how much their life is worth to so many people.
There will always be some people who simply aren’t ready to enter treatment, but a successful intervention can be a healing experience for everyone involved regardless of the outcome.
What Can You Do to Prepare Your Loved One for Treatment?
It can be hard to know how to support your loved one in a healthy way after they say yes, and enter treatment. Many people have become so used to operating in “crisis mode” that they don’t know what to do when things start to head in the right direction. The most important thing you can do is to create a healthy support system for the addict once they are ready to come home.
To do this, every member of the family needs to seek their own support groups or some sort of family therapy. This can help to establish healthy coping skills that will prepare them to handle their own experiences in a more congenial way. It’s important to be kind to yourself and to make sure that you’re strong enough to handle the rough road ahead.
After a loved one has gone into a program, it’s essential that the family work with the treatment professionals to come up with an aftercare plan. They need to know where the addict will be going once they’re released, and what types of programs they’ll continue to utilize to maintain their recovery. Writing all of this down and having everything set up ahead of time can be a huge relief for everyone involved.
Remember, if you feel that your loved one would be best served by entering a sober living facility instead of coming directly home, you’re probably right. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this decision, and if often helps the addict to reacclimate outside of their old environment. The most important thing is to make sure that everyone is emotionally and spiritually ready for the transition.
What Happens if They Beg to Leave Early
One of the biggest mistakes family members can make is to give in to a loved one’s pleas to leave rehab early. They need to complete the entire program or they won’t be ready to try and live their lives without drugs and alcohol.
It’s no secret that being sober after a long time is scary. Many addicts will have a lapse of fortitude when they’ll doubt that the rehab facility can help. Or, they’ll believe that they’re “cured” when they’re actually far from it.
When this happens, it can be a good idea to withdraw from active visits and to keep your distance while they go through the rehab process. They need to stop relying on everyone else and learn that they’re strong enough to stay sober using their own coping skills and resources that they’re developing in treatment.
Addiction treatment programs are specially designed and experts have spent decades coming up with the best way to teach people to overcome their disease. As a friend or family member, you need to trust the process and step back so that it can work the way that it needs to.
Consider sending them care packages and essentials that let them know you care without infringing on their treatment. Keep in mind that rehab is usually a cash-free environment, so cards or credit at the facility is best.
Embracing Self-Care While Your Loved One is Away
Part of self-care is getting used to life without the stress of addiction weighing down every decision, and then learning to preserve that freedom. This means drawing clear boundaries and making it known what you will and will not accept from now on. This can also mean taking a firm and assertive stance where the addict is concerned. Let them know that you love them, but there won’t be any more manipulation or hurtful circumstances in your life from them.
Protecting yourself is actually a positive thing for them. They learn to be their own people and to develop confidence in their own choices. You need to take care of you before you can take care of anyone else.
If you’re struggling with the idea of an intervention, it’s important that you contact a professional. There’s help out there, and you and your loved one deserve it. With the proper planning and personal growth, your entire family can start to recover in a way that’s positive and empowering.
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. What Is Substance Abuse Treatment? A Booklet for Families. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 14-4126. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2004.