Nothing can prepare you for the physical, emotional, and spiritual challenge of having a child who is struggling with addiction. Substance use disorders affect the entire family because of the behavioral symptoms, which causes the loved ones of the sufferer to react. While there is currently no cure for substance use disorders, the disease can be put into remission with the right treatment. Since substance use disorders affect the entire family, it is important for you to seek help with your child is in rehab.
Tips for You and Your Family to Get Help While Your Child is in Rehab
1. Find a Support Group
There are many support groups for family members and friends of people who suffer from substance use disorder. Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are 12-Step Programs and the most well-known. SMART Recovery Friends and Family is a non-12-Step Program that is based on evidence-based therapy. Many communities also host various support groups.
2. Attend Family Workshops and Meetings at the Rehab
An effective rehab center understands the need for families to recover as well. On weekends, many rehabs will host many family workshops and meetings. Attending these workshops and meetings will help educate you and rebuild the relationship.
3. Get Educated
Contrary to what many people still believe, substance use disorders are legitimate diseases. They are not a sign of your failure as a parent or your child did not turn out to be a good person. Educating yourself on the disease will be your most powerful weapon against the disease.
4. Be Clear about Boundaries and Expectations
Enabling the addiction will not help you or your child. They will only lower his or her rock bottom. While they are in rehab, you will need to be clear about your boundaries and expectations. For example, a boundary for you may be if your child does not stay sober, get a job, and work a program, they cannot live with you.
5. Be Encouraging
While you may be resentful towards your child about their behavior during active addiction, it is important that you do not let that deter you from being encouraging towards your child about getting into recovery. Affirming your child will increase their motivation to stay sober and work their program.
6. Communicate with the Rest of the Family
While you may be set on getting support for yourself, being educated, setting boundaries, and affirming your child, you will need to make sure that the rest of the family is on the same page as you. While you can communicate with them, keep in mind you cannot make them believe or do anything.
7. Realize that You are Powerless Over the Disease
You did not cause the disease; you cannot control it; and you cannot cure it. Your child will be responsible for his or her own recovery, and the disease of addiction is a volatile one that often takes a life of its own. Realizing and accepting your powerlessness will save you from regret, disappointment, and the need to control.
8. Take Care of Yourself
Taking care of yourself is key. Since you are powerless over the disease and others, you cannot deplete yourself by trying to control and change others. You need to practice self-care and out a healthy distance between yourself and the situation.
Let it Begin With You
The most successful cases of recovery include the family members getting educated and seeking help for themselves. While you cannot change your child or the disease, you can change yourself, which will change the situation. Recovery is possible.