If your child has a drug problem, getting him or her into recovery is the biggest part of your job. But it isn’t the only part. More than ever, it’s important to be supportive and to put your child’s needs ahead of all others.
Look in the Mirror
Parents should always examine their own behavior and determine how it may impact their children. If your child is already in recovery, though, this is a great time to take a long, hard look at how you may be affecting him or her. If you or your spouse abuse any substances, this is an opportune time to kick those habits. Additionally, consider removing alcohol from your home, as a teen’s experimentation with alcohol may turn them right back to drugs.
Remember Who’s Important
You’ll be an important part of rehabilitation even while your child is off getting treatment. When it’s your turn to interact with your child, whether it be as part of a family therapy session or simply for a routine visit, make sure your communication is positive and focused solely on helping him or her get better. Making your child feel guilty because of his or her addiction will only make things worse. Your teen should feel that you are firmly in his or her corner, so prepare for these conversations ahead of time and accentuate the positive at all times.
Preparing for Life After Treatment
In a perfect world, rehab would solve all of your child’s problems. He or she would come home completely healed, and you could put this behind you and move on with your lives. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy. People who leave rehab and rejoin society are often very fragile and should be treated as such. It’s up to you to create the proper environment that will enable your child to succeed.
Here are some ways you can help your child to thrive in this new world you’ll live in together.
• Provide healthy meals and water
• Encourage exercise
• Don’t talk too much about recovery
• Accept what has happened and move on together
• Do whatever is necessary to avoid triggers
• Encourage meetings and other positive activities
A Word About Relapse
Again, ideally your child will never use drugs again. Sadly, the odds are against that happening. The CRC Group states that at least half of all drug addicts relapse within four years of seeking treatment. Relapse, while unwelcome, is a part of recovery. Therefore, you should plan ahead for how you’ll react to a relapse.
Relapse doesn’t mean that all hope is lost, and it doesn’t mean that all of the lessons learned in treatment have gone away. It just means that your child had a moment of weakness, one he or she will learn from. By fostering a positive environment and maintaining a focus on the positive aspects of recovery, you can help your child turn that relapse into an isolated incident as opposed to the start of continued use.