Learning About Drug and Alcohol Treatment
“Never look back unless you are planning on going that way” – Henry David Thoreau
What they will experience their first sixty days and how to help:
After 60 days in rehab, your son or daughter has gotten a taste of sobriety and learned some of the truths and myths about addiction. He or she has experienced a new social group and has made close friends that support and help in recovery. Your son or daughter has also learned how to work the steps with a sponsor and regularly attend meetings. Hopefully, he or she has also begun to be less dependent on you.
You will still need to show guidance and your faith in your child so he or she feels there is a purpose in this new life. Something people in recovery learn, which you should understand too is:
- Their addiction was not their choice or voluntary behavior. It is a disease that needs treatment like all other diseases. The only medicine that you can continue to supply them is the encouragement that you have given them up to this point. Keep them motivated and try not to put them down since they’re fresh in recovery and could relapse.
- They have learned that drug addiction wasn’t a character flaw, but something tragic that people struggle with every year and they are not the only ones. This is not your fault or theirs, they just need help that others might not need.
- Help them surround themselves with others that have suffered from the same disease rather than allowing them to hang out with old friends with unhealthy habits.
- Treatment might not have been a one-shot deal, for some to get to 60 days of sobriety it takes multiple tries. If they fail the first time, they are not hopeless. There is still hope for them, each person should have an individualized treatment program because not all programs are the same. There is no magic bullet solution for all forms of drug and alcohol addiction. Each case is different and must be addressed and treated differently.
Setting Those Boundaries:
“No is a complete sentence.” – Anne Lamott
The boundaries after 60 days in rehab should start to become a little stricter. As each month passes the child should start to become less dependent on you and start to focus on job searching and saving money.
Most substance users will gain confidence at this point and will believe they have the problem under control, but boundaries will remind them that they can slip at any point.
- If they have committed to a 90-day program, then do not allow them to leave after 60 days. In their new way of living they must learn that once making a commitment, they must stick with it. Lying and breaking promises was their old way of living and should not be incorporated into their sober life. Tell them that they need to stay for their committed time.
- Slowly start to visit less so they can become more dependent on themselves and create their own happiness that’s not through you.
Finding the Support They Need in Recovery:
“Fortitude is the guard and support of the other virtues.” – John Locke
Support is something that they should gain more of as the recovery process continues. As addicted people start to repair broken relationships then they will grow a larger support system to help boost self-confidence, satisfaction, pleasure, and mood. Some of the things that you can do to help them find support at this stage in the treatment process are:
- Help them develop supportive friendships that will benefit their recovery.
- Stay mindful that you can support them, but they must find other supportive networks that they can rely on too.
- Support their reintegration to society by helping them find a job that doesn’t include something that can trigger old habits like a bartender. Make sure they do the work such as their resume and interviews.
- Don’t hand them a job, make them work to obtain one, so they have a reason and purpose in maintaining it.
Does My Loved One Really Need Aftercare:
Aftercare is maintaining and caring for your sobriety after treatment or milestones in your rehabilitation process. Aftercare at 60 days should focus on enabling a goal-setting lifestyle and decreasing the cravings for drugs and alcohol.
As a parent, you should participate in aftercare programs, but still allow for your child to grow independently. Sixty days is still young in sobriety, you should still monitor their activity enough to ensure that they are not setting themselves up for relapse.
- Start to plan what life after treatment will be like for your son or daughter and how things will be different than before. This ensures that you will not go back to your enabling behavior and stay focused on their future and where you hope to see them in a year or two.
- If they leave treatment and visit or come home, make sure they are coming back to a safe environment. Alcoholics do not want to come over to visit and see Alcohol bottles, shot glasses, wine glasses, or anything that can trigger them. If they use to stay in their room to isolate and watch T.V. make sure that there is no T.V. in their room anymore. This will help them not fall back into their old habits and living style.
- Ensure they find sober friends, peer pressure is a motivator for drug use and can cause a relapse. Meet their friends and invite them to come over so you can see if they are a positive influence on someone who is trying to live sober.
- They might have to find a new neighborhood to live in. Some neighborhoods can cause relapse because of the illegal activities that are present such as drug dealing. This is the same as an alcoholic living across the street from a liquor store. If the addiction is accessible, then it is easier to relapse.
Stop Enabling Behavior:
Enabling behavior in recovery is doing anything that will constrain your son or daughter from growing. Even though this might stress them out or remind them of their old habits, it must be done so they can learn responsibility.
Some think that stressing them out will only make them susceptible to relapse, which can be true, but stress is part of life and somebody who wants to live a sober life must learn to deal with stress without using drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.
- Time for overlooking problems that your son or daughter created is over. Your child must start to deal with all his or her own problems without the assistance of a parent.
- Start to express all your feelings about your son or daughter to them. Whether you are proud or disappointed, express how you feel. This might hurt your son or daughter’s feelings, but it will also prepare him or her for struggles in the future and to not cope with drug use.
- Stop lying to others about your son or daughter’s addiction to protect or cover up embarrassment. He or she should be proud of getting the help needed for the disease and not be afraid to let others know that he or she is bettering life. Although it is your child’s right to remain anonymous, it will help him or her repair broken relationships if he or she is open and honest about it since the reason behind the failing relationships was substance and drug use. If people realize that habits have changed from the old ways and are not manipulating and lying to them anymore then they might give them an opportunity to work on repairing their relationship.