30 Days of Drug and Alcohol Treatment:
“Sometimes, creating a little distance will help people recognize how much you actually mean to them.” -Unknown
Drug use in your son or daughter:
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2013 a study found that 8.8 percent of young individuals from the ages of 12 to 17 use illicit drugs. It also discovered that as an individual gets older there is more exposure to several types of drugs and a growing percentage in drug use.
When your son or daughter decides to accept the advice from you to get the help they need for an addiction you must realize he or she is making a drastic life-changing commitment that can be frightening. Your child will have feelings of discomfort, confusion, and nervousness that might make him or her want to give up since living with the substance seems a lot easier at that moment.
What can you do before treatment?
“Begin with the end in mind.” Stephen Covey
One thing that contributes to the use of drugs is the lack of parental supervision at home. When parental monitoring in the household is low then a young adult has a greater chance to experiment with substances and become addicted. One way to avoid risk factors in young people experimenting with different drugs is a strong parent-child bond. If they do develop a problem and need help, then you should motivate and empower them to go to treatment and show them the positive side of rehabilitation.
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 assist the therapist when deciding what treatment center will be best suited for 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 he or she does not have family and friends nearby, even though this will limit the amount of time you will see your child, it will also give him or her a chance to become independent and rely on themselves.
What your child will experience in the first 30 days and how to help:
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, 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 the time spent there. Some of the things you can do to help:
- Do not let their urge to use upset you. They are going to want to use especially during their first seven days, when withdrawal symptoms are still strong. Do not give up hope on them during this time, this is common, but do not give in to their cries for help or to 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, this is when its best to express the importance that treatment has on him or her 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. You should allow your child to feel this way, to see how much pain and stress substance abuse has caused him or her. So, when your child finally starts to feel happy and joyous she or he won’t decide to use and go back to the feelings first felt when beginning treatment.
- Amends is an important thing 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 at the beginning of treatment do not expect more than an apology. Financial restitution will come with time, for now, the addicted person can only express condolences and apologize for the behavior.
Boundaries are making rules so that your child knows that you will not just give him or her everything asked for.
- 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 to do because you want your loved one to have what he or she needs to make treatment less stressful, but giving money also gives an opportunity to leave rehab and buy drugs. Help by buying hygiene products and food not by handing over money.
- Do not pay for the phone bill if your child is using the phone to call drug dealers. Do not pay for the bills if your child is spending his or her own money on drugs and alcohol. These boundaries must be stern so he or she will learn where you draw the line.
While in treatment, they should have already constructed a continuing support plan so that they can 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 around 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, because it shows you support them and are proud of their accomplishments.
- Monitor them in a supportive way by making sure that their social relationships are all positive ones that include sober activities.
- Engage in new meaningful activities with so they aren’t engaging in too many activities that can trigger them to use or be around those who are 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 it being 24 hours, or 30, 60, and 90 days. Show that you are proud no matter how long in recovery he or she is. When you show them your satisfaction they will feel honored and want to 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 successfully complete treatment. Encourage them by providing reading material or being transportation to and from church services or religious groups.
“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 also 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 will 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 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 the 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 so they can stay confident in remaining sober.
Stop enabling behavior:
“People will show you who they are, but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be.” Don Draper
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, then they should lose their house or apartment. If you are an enabler, then you would pay for their rent instead of them 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 make things worse in 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 own 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, then it is more likely that you will agree and they will use this method to continue to ask for money.
- Plan with them for how long they can remain dependent on you, whether it is 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 begin to 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.