One Day at a Time: Coping with a Loved One in Rehab
Having a loved one enter a drug and alcohol rehab center means that you, as family members, are inevitably facing and maybe even struggling with many concerns, questions, and possibly some misconceptions about how the rehab program works. To clear some of your worries away, here’s a quick rundown on alcohol rehab: what it is, what it does, and what it’s not.
A Helping Hand
First, you can relax and take a deep breath. Your loved ones are not being held against their will nor are they being locked up. Apparently, they had a substance abuse problem and decided to do something about it by getting professional help. If that’s the case, then no need to worry as they’re exactly where they need to be. Rehab lends a helping hand for alcoholics and drug addicts. They become the hand that takes away that shot of whiskey, that bottle of beer, or that roll of marijuana away.
Don’t Take it Personally
Your loved ones are in a medical facility. And because of confidentiality concerns and privacy laws, the rehab center cannot give you any details about their situation. They will have to tell you about it personally.
No, you cannot talk to them right away, but don’t take it personally. During the early stages of the program, their contact to the outside world will be highly restricted. No newspapers, no phones, no tablets, no Internet, and no TV. This is needed so they can concentrate on sobering up and staying that way with as few distractions as possible.
It’s a Family Affair
There will come a time during your loved one’s rehab program when you and the rest of the family will be asked to be involved. Most professional alcohol and drug rehab programs include the patients’ family in their recovery process as this reduces the chance of relapse.
Often during the first months of the program, the family will be invited to the treatment facility for a “family day.” It’s a chance for the patients to catch up with their family and for you to see how they’re doing. It’s also time to express your concerns, questions, experiences, and feelings about their alcoholism.
The rehab program will take time, and when your loved ones are out, there’s a chance for relapse. That’s when you, the family, steps in to help and support. The recovery doesn’t end at the treatment center; it goes on to the home level.