30 Days of Substance Abuse Treatment for your Child

30 day rehab for your son or daughter what to expect

Table of Contents

What Can You do to Prepare

You, as a parent, must make changes yourself, such as not helping them financially or giving them a place to live or stay if they don’t get the treatment you want them to. Although you might want to hold their hand throughout their rehabilitation process to ease their discomfort, you need to learn that it will not help them in the end.

  • Your son or daughter might seem overconfident after making it through detox, but don’t let this fool you and allow for them to stop the treatment before rehab because he or she still has a high chance of relapsing if he or she still hasn’t learned strategies of coping with stress or learn why he or she started using in the beginning.
  • Help by joining your child in the beginning process and assisting the therapist in deciding what treatment center will best suit your son or daughter. The safest place might not always be the one closest to home because if your son or daughter wants to leave treatment, he or she will have connections and places to go to, which can make deciding to leave treatment an easy decision. If your child decides to go to a new city or state, it could be the best shot at success since they do not have family and friends nearby. Even though this will limit the amount of time you will see your child, it will also give them a chance to become independent and rely on themselves.


What They Will Experience in Rehab

The first 30 days will give them the time to focus on their recovery learn what their triggers are and why they decided to use them, to begin with. This will also give them time to separate from the demands and temptations of life and learn how to deal with those struggles without drugs. During the first 30 days of treatment, they should learn how to utilize their time. Some of the things you can do to help:

  • Do not let their urge to use upset you. They will want to use it especially during their first seven days when withdrawal symptoms are still strong. Please do not give up hope on them during this time. This is common, but do not give in to their cries for help or leave rehab. They must find the strength within themselves to push through the urges, and the only thing you can offer them is words of wisdom and encouragement.
  • Learn to recognize the signs of relapse in your daughter or son. These might be signs like depression or lack of motivation; it’s best to express the importance that treatment has on them and the family.
  • Make sure that you allow your son or daughter to feel his or her feelings. During the first couple of weeks, your child will feel depressed and down. It would help if you allowed your child to feel this way, to see how much pain and stress substance abuse has caused them. So, when your child finally starts to feel happy and joyous, they won’t decide to use and go back to the feelings first felt when beginning treatment.
  • Amends are important for your son or daughter to make during the first 30 days. The addicted person owes those who have helped them many apologies and financial restitution, although they do not expect more than an apology at the beginning of treatment. Financial restitution will come with time. The addicted person can only express condolences and apologize for the behavior.

Establishing Boundaries Beforehand

Boundaries are making rules, so your child knows that you will not just give them everything they ask.

  • Please help them by not giving your child money, but healthy food since buying healthy food might be difficult for someone who hasn’t been eating correctly for a while. Try to teach those new to rehab the importance of healthy living. Eating right, good sleeping patterns, and exercise can help the body recover from long-term substance abuse and make treatment easier.
  • Mind your financial responsibilities and not your child’s. This can be hard because you want your loved ones to have what they need to make treatment less stressful, but giving money also allows leaving rehab and buying drugs. Help by buying hygiene products and food, not by handing over money.
  • Do not pay for the phone bill if your child uses the phone to call drug dealers. Do not pay for the bills if your child spends their own money on drugs and alcohol. These boundaries must be stern, so they will learn where you draw the line.

How to Encourage Them

While in treatment, they should have already constructed a continuing support plan to continue to stay away from drugs with the help of others. Support should come from sponsors, religious leaders, family, and new sober friends. The addicted people should surround themselves with positive peers who are also abstinent from drugs and alcohol. They should seek support through outpatient counseling sessions and community support organizations. There are many ways you can help them find support and show them support:

  • Reinforcing the important message of staying clean and how much progress they have made by completing treatment shows you support them and are proud of their accomplishments.
  • Monitor them in a supportive way by ensuring that their social relationships are all positive ones that include sober activities.
  • Engage in new meaningful activities, so they aren’t engaging in too many activities that can trigger them to use or be around those using.
  • Make sure you encourage them to attend continuing care activities that help support their decision to remain sober.
  • Be proud of your son or daughter’s milestones, whether 24 hours or 30, 60 and 90 days. Show that you are proud no matter how long in recovery they are. When you show them your satisfaction, they will feel honored and strive to gain more acceptance and remain sober.
  • Help by aiding them to find a spiritual side. Finding faith in a higher power is extremely important during the beginning stages of treatment. Going to church and praying can give someone the faith and hope they need to complete treatment. Encourage them by providing reading material or transportation to and from church services or religious groups.

What Aftercare is Like

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein

Aftercare is an important part of recovery. If they go to rehab for 30 days, the treatment doesn’t end when they leave. They need to attend meetings regularly, make doctor appointments, and possibly see a therapist if insurance can cover it or a price can be worked out. Aftercare includes social activities, family events, holidays, and long-term goal planning. When your child leaves rehab make sure you do not do all their planning, but help them by:

  • Show them that you can have fun without using a substance. Taking them to the movies or bowling can be a fun experience for the addict and show them that you can still have fun even when substances aren’t involved. Also, this will help them learn alternatives when dealing with stress and the need to relax.
  • Talk to them about setting goals for themselves and the family. Personal goals can be as simple as working out at least five times a week, and family goals can be to try to repair broken relationships. This will give them short and long-term goals to look forward to and a reason to stay in recovery.
  • Monitor them to make sure they continuously go to meetings and schedule appointments like outpatient programs. They might get lazy and not want to go, which is where you tell them they need to to stay confident in remaining sober.

How to Never Enable Again

Enabling is fixing problems for your children and doing so in a way that interferes with growth and responsibility. If they decide to buy drugs or alcohol with their money instead of paying rent, they should lose their house or apartment. If you are an enabler, you will pay for their rent instead of dealing with the consequences of not having a place to live, which would teach them the importance of responsibility. This is a pattern of unhealthy rescuing that doesn’t allow them to grow up through experience, which will only worsen their dependency. Somethings you can do to stop enabling and begin teaching them to grow independently is:

  • Encouragement. Instead of giving them money that they can spend on drugs or alcohol, give them encouragement and strength through words of wisdom to push them to work harder and more hours, so they have their own money and don’t want to spend their hard-earned cash on substances.
  • Do not make quick decisions when they ask for something. Instead of answering when you are caught off guard, tell them that you need to think about helping them and work out a plan that they can and will pay you back. If you make quick decisions, it is more likely that you will agree, and they will use this method to continue asking for money.
  • Plan with them for how long they can remain dependent on you, whether living with you or receiving an allowance. It is okay for them to borrow money or stay with you if you allow them, but make them pay rent.
  • Remember that this is not a popularity contest. Your child will reject you and be upset when you first say no to requests. Do not let this affect your decisions and remain strong. Even though you might feel like you are doing the wrong thing, you are not.

Related Educational Content and Guides

This Grieving Family of an Addict Has a Message
Helping Your Loved One After Rehab: 6 Steps to Preparing Your Home

What are 12-Step Conventions?

Many 12-step fellowship programs host annual conventions. Conventions are a place where you can attend marathon meetings, workshops, dances, and more – all related to the specific 12-step fellowship like Alcoholics Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous, and more. Almost every type of 12-step fellowship has an annual convention.

Most of the time the conventions are held in venues such as hotels that will usually have a pool and local restaurants nearby. Each convention has a giant speaker meeting where everyone does a sober/clean time countdown – you will be able to stand up when you hear your clean/sober time called with the rest of those who share similar recovery lengths and celebrate your success. This meeting will have at least one speaker who will often be from another part of the world to share their experience, strength and hope with everyone at the convention.

Often times there are other events too, such as stand-up comedy hours. During the convention, you can enter in raffles to win prizes, or you can go to one of the several booths that sell 12-step literature that can help you in your recovery or memorabilia, like a convention t-shirt. Conventions are a fun affair for everyone involved and a great way to recharge your recovery batteries.

Why should I go to a convention?

There are many reasons why those in recovery see conventions as important parts of their recovery. For many, going to a 12-step convention is a way for them to recharge their batteries and get back in touch with the spiritual program that saved their lives. For others, it’s a way to reconnect with people they haven’t seen in a long time in the recovery community, people they may not see on a regular basis. It’s also a great chance to meet new people and make connections.


It’s important to know that you can choose the types of meetings and workshops that you would like to attend during the convention to ensure that you are hearing messages that are suitable for where you are in your own personal recovery. For example, if you have been in recovery for 10 years, you may not want to go to a newcomer meeting but you can take advantage of others that are more suited to you.

You can also take the convention as an opportunity to be of service to others; there are always tons of volunteer positions that need to be filled for these events which can attract hundreds, potentially thousands of people depending on which fellowship the convention is for.

How do I find Conventions? How Do I prepare?

You can find out what conventions are coming to your town, or in any surrounding areas, by visiting the specific 12-step fellowship websites or by simply asking someone at the regular fellowship meetings which you attend. Often, there are bulletin boards that you can find in fellowship halls and meeting spaces that have information about all of the upcoming conventions in your area.

Once you have chosen a convention that you would like to attend, you can usually go to the convention’s website (which you can find on the flyer) and pre-register. If you want to make an entire weekend out of the convention and stay from Friday-Sunday, you should look into hotel room reservations where the convention will be held. Usually, there are discounts especially available for those attending the convention, and you can always check the website or call the hotel for more details.

Another possibility is to bring along a friend for the weekend to spend time together and recharge your recovery batteries- you could even share a hotel room to make it more economical by splitting the costs. 12-step Fellowship conventions are always a great way to be reminded of the miracle that is recovery and the importance of sharing your recovery with others.

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