6 Steps to Take If You’re Considering a Stay in RehabNone By Ken Seeley
For those who struggle with substance abuse, deciding to enter into rehab can be one of the most consequential and worthwhile actions you take. It is life-changing—but it’s not easy. Most people in need of addiction treatment grapple with ambivalence, resisting the idea of giving up the substance of abuse. They may worry about how the family will manage while they’re in treatment. They struggle with the perceived stigma attached to rehab, worried their job or reputation may suffer. But, eventually, the damage to their own life and the pain their addiction has caused their family overrides all the objections to getting help.
If this is where you are now, there are some steps you can take to make the transition into rehab—from informing family and friends to making sure your finances and support system are in place—go smoothly.
Talk It Through With Your Loved Ones
Unless your children are very young, chances are they’re already aware that there’s a problem. Even someone who is high-functioning will begin to exhibit the signs of addiction eventually. Addiction always leads to chaos and strife in the home, so it’s highly likely that your need for treatment will not come as a shock to the kids. The same applies for childless couples and empty nesters, where one partner has finally decided to seek help for their addiction. The possibility that this announcement will come as a surprise is very remote. People can sense when their loved one is suffering.
Family members who care about each other will usually welcome the news that their loved one will be taking the steps to get healthy. They look forward to having harmony restored in the family home once again.
Create a Game Plan
Prep work done prior to announcing your intent to go to rehab will make the transition a lot less stressful on everyone: research the treatment options, select an appropriate program, contact insurance to determine your out-of-pocket expenses. Having ready answers to your family’s questions can impart a reassuring sense of calm and order.
Be Open and Honest
If children are school-aged, be honest with them about your need for treatment. The older the children are, the more open you can be in discussing the reality of addiction and why you’re in need of professional help. The kids will want their parents to be healthy and functioning. When informing a partner, assure them that getting treatment will allow the relationship to heal and grow healthier after receiving treatment.
When telling children your plans, you can expect them to express fear and uncertainty about your well‑being. Validate those feelings and assure them that you will return to them a healthier person and a better, more engaged parent. Assure them that their needs will be provided for in your absence by the other parent and/or supportive family members. Kids often internalize strife in the home, so make sure they understand that the condition you’re getting treatment for is not their fault.
Get Your Finances in Order
If you’re the primary income provider, you’ll need to prepare the household financially for your absence. Obtaining a medical leave from your employer and setting up disability income is a good start. Getting the bills paid and taking care of other family obligations prior to leaving is important to a smooth transition for the family.
Build Your Support Network
When a parent goes into rehab, it can throw the day-to-day working of the entire family off, which is why it’s so important to work out a plan to minimize the disruption. Children, especially, are reassured when their routine remains, well, routine. You may need to enlist the help of a relative or friends to help with childcare, transportation to or from school, or ferrying them to their extracurricular activities. If needed, perhaps a tutor can be hired to assist the children with homework in the absence of a parent.
Your family will play an important role in the recovery process for you, as well. While talking with them about your plans to get treatment, actively seek their support. Invite them to participate in the family counseling sessions. Validate how your addiction has impacted the family and the problems it’s caused, and then tell them how much their love and support means to you as you strive to make amends and move forward in recovery.
Ken Seeley has been working in the addiction treatment industry for more than 20 years and is featured in the Emmy Award-winning A&E television series Intervention. He is the founder of Ken Seeley Communities, a full spectrum addiction and mental health rehab located in Palm Springs, CA. Dedicated to guiding individuals to the help they seek, Ken believes that with the right support and guidance, those struggling will have the opportunity to turn their lives around and enjoy a healthy and happy life.
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