How to Care for Your Family During Rehab
Millions of people in the United States struggle with addiction. Some people live with their addiction for years before getting the help they need, and many more never receive treatment for it. Without treatment, there is little chance of fully recovering from addiction and living a healthy, self-directed life.
People have different reasons for not getting addiction treatment when they need it. They may worry about how to pay for treatment, how they will keep their job or stay engaged in school, or they may have concerns about how they will take care of their family while they get help. In addition to finding care for children, they might be worried about how they will stay connected to their loved ones or explain why they need to take some time away.
Concerns about how to care for the family during rehab may be front and center in your mind as you weigh your treatment options. While it may seem difficult to balance your own needs and those of your family, it is important to remember that addiction makes it impossible to be an effective parent. When you live a healthy life without using substances, you will be able to set and achieve goals, engage fully in your kids’ lives, and give them an example of a healthy, productive parent. The cost of not getting substance abuse treatment is too high for your family to put it off for another day.
Finding Care for Children During Rehab
Deciding to get addiction treatment is an important step in your role as a parent. Finding a safe place for your children to stay while you get the help that you need is crucial. It allows your children to get the care they need while you are away, and it allows you to focus on your treatment.
Some options for child care may include:
- Spouse or partner
- Close friends
Finding someone who can give your children loving care means that you can relax and fully participate in your rehab program. You can also ask your child’s school about after-hours care options, or extend their time at daycare for the time that you are in rehab. This can help accommodate the work schedule of the person who will be doing your childcare during treatment.
In some cases, your treatment center may help you manage childcare by giving you referrals to support programs. Some rehab facilities allow children to stay with you while you receive care. Your children may receive necessary mental health treatment while you complete addiction treatment. Or, you could attend an outpatient or day program that allows you to go to rehab in the hours that you aren’t busy caring for your children and family.
How to Explain Rehab to Children
You and your children may experience a range of emotions when having a conversation about what it means to go to rehab. Being prepared for this and being open to their questions can help reassure them that they will be safe and cared for while you are away. Keep these things in mind as you prepare for the conversation:
- Learn about addiction and your specific rehab program so you can be confident when explaining what will happen.
- Use age-appropriate language when speaking to your children. Avoid a lot of medical terms and give them only the information they need.
- Choose a good time for the conversation. Make sure you have enough time to answer questions and that there are no distractions.
- Give honest answers to their questions. Make it clear you are willing to be open with them. Don’t be afraid to tell them you don’t know the answer to questions but that you will find the answer for them.
Most importantly, make sure they understand that your substance use is not their fault. Alcoholics Anonymous developed a list of “The Seven Cs” of talking about addiction with your children, and it can be helpful to teach these to your children. The Seven Cs are:
- I didn’t cause the addiction.
- I can’t cure the addiction.
- I can’t control the addiction.
- I can care for myself.
- I can communicate my feelings.
- I can make healthy choices.
- I will celebrate myself.
By being honest and open, this difficult conversation can go as smoothly as possible. Your goal should be to let your kids know that you care about their feelings, you will stay connected with them while you are physically away, and that your family will be cared for during your time in rehab.
Emotional Care for Family During Rehab
It’s important to stay connected with your children while you are getting the treatment you need. The staff at your rehab facility understand this and will allow time for you to communicate with them every day during your treatment program.
Stay connected by scheduling regular phone calls with your children. Have a regular time to talk each day and make sure you stick to this schedule. Staying in touch regularly will show your children that they can trust and rely on you, even if you are not physically with them.
Most facilities also offer access to computers so that you can email your children and family members. You can also send and receive postcards and letters. This can be a great, fun way to stay connected with your children and the rest of your family while you are in rehab. You may also be able to send and receive care packages.
Some programs invite children and other family members to participate in family support services. In addition to helping families stay connected while a parent is in rehab, family therapy is a good way to learn new skills, make plans for after treatment, and help families improve their communication. All of this can lessen the likelihood of relapse and improve the quality of your relationships in the future.
Learn More About Flexible Addiction Treatment Options for Parents
If you are a parent, it can seem difficult to get the addiction treatment you need while supporting your family. At Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment, we understand this and want to help. We offer a range of programs designed to help you get the treatment and skills you need while being able to care for your family. Whether you choose an intensive outpatient program with flexible hours that still allows you to pick up your children from school or you can commit to a higher level of care, we’re here to help.
If you are ready for life-changing care, reach out to us today.