If you have a teenager who has a drug addiction, enrolling him in a rehab is one of the most important things you will ever do for him.. It’s crucial he gets the professional help he needs to detox, identify the stressors that prompt his drug use, receive counseling and create a pathway to healthier living. However, your role does not end when you drop him off. There are many ways a family can support a child in rehab.
Get Him There
The first step is probably up to you. You need to convince him or otherwise get him to pack up his belongings and walk in the door. Have a frank but loving discussion with him in which you tell him you are concerned about how the drugs are affecting or could affect his health. Tell him you know it will be difficult but you have selected a program that is reputable and has the resources to help him. Emphasize that you will help him every step of the way.
Ask the rehab about services for families. Pick up any literature about addiction and read it so you can learn about what your teen is facing. Find out how the center incorporates families into the care and recovery process. Learn about common difficulties and how you can best help your child.
Be Your Child’s Advocate
Meet the staff and find out who will be treating your child and making decisions about his care. Make frequent appointments to meet with key personnel so you can be part of that decision-making process and stay abreast of his progress or any difficulties that arise.
Many teen rehab include families in the recovery process. There may be family therapy sessions in addition to your child’s individual sessions or his sessions with other patients. Additionally, there will be times for families to visit and take part in special programs. Make arrangements with your employer to make sure you can attend every parent or family session and can be there whenever you are welcome to do so.
Take Care of the Rest of the Family
The stronger your family, the better other members will be able to support your drug-addicted child. Therefore, consider family or individual counseling for other members of the family. Also, although your energy will be taxed, make sure you do not neglect your other children while focusing on helping your addicted child. Try to continue providing regular mealtimes and bedtimes, and stay on top of homework and other activities as much as you can. Take care of yourself, too; the healthier you are, the more you will be able to do for your family.
Prepare for his Homecoming
Drug rehabilitation is different from receiving medical care for something like a surgery or physical injury. Coming home will require a change in lifestyle so your child can use new behaviors he has learned to avoid drug use and to deal with his triggers. Learn as much as you can about how to make this transition the easiest possible. Establish rules for things like curfews, school performance, household chores and behavior. Celebrate his successes and encourage his continued efforts.
Set Up Follow-Up Care
If appropriate, find a therapist to continue working with your child on an out-patient basis. Encourage your child to take part in any programs available for patients after their release. Understand that a relapse is possible, and know the signs and what to do if you see them. If your child relapses, let him know that addiction is a disease and a relapse means he needs more treatment.