What About My Loved Ones?
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Balancing Responsibilities While in Rehab
Many patients that are in drug and alcohol rehab have families and responsibilities at home. For these patients, the most concerning thing about attending drug rehab is how their families will cope while they are away. This is a completely natural thing to worry about.
Family and other loved ones are a massive part of the recovery journey, and worrying about their well-being during the treatment process is a legitimate and primary concern. Although this may not be a massive issue for those going to outpatient rehab, attending inpatient rehab means being away from family for what could be months.
This is particularly stressful if there are small children involved, or if the patient is a single parent or the sole breadwinner. Childcare and financial responsibilities are perhaps the biggest stressors for these people.
It’s important to keep in mind that addiction will ruin a family unit and the best thing an addict can do is get the help that they need. Going to treatment is the best way for addicts to take steps towards improving family relationships and bonds. Recovery will make them better equipped to care for and nourish their family in the long term.
Here are just some of the things that people can do to protect and support their families before they go into inpatient drug rehab, and during the recovery process.
Taking Care of Children
Children, particularly small ones, are the primary concern for many people that are going in for treatment at a drug or alcohol rehab. Ensuring that children’s needs are met is essential, and many patients fear that they will not be able to do this from afar. Of course, this is a natural reaction from any good parent, and it is a positive sign that they are ready to get their life on track.
The first and best option for people going into rehab is to leave their kids with someone that they know and trust. This could be a spouse, the other parent, grandparents, much older siblings, or trusted friends.
Having the children taken care of will be a big weight off anyone’s shoulders and those going into rehab can then focus on the recovery road that lies ahead. This does not mean that there won’t be moments of worry throughout the treatment, but excellent counselors will compassionately guide patients through the process.
How to Talk to Children Before Treatment
It is important that children’s emotional and physical needs are taken into consideration. Before going for treatment, parents need to explain to children what is going to happen to avoid any confusion and feelings of abandonment. This does not mean that the whole condition needs to be revealed, just that the parent in question will be going somewhere to get treatment for a medical condition that will help to improve their family life.
It is essential to reassure children that the parent will be returning after treatment and that they will be looked after while their parent is away. Keep in mind that young children are unlikely to understand medical jargon—they must be spoken to in a way that they will understand.
It is equally important that parents pick the right time to discuss this with their children, not before school, a birthday party, or a football match. It is best to choose a quiet time when they are calm and ready to listen. At the end of the day, parents know their children better than anyone else and should be able to gauge when it will be best to talk to them.
While it is unnecessary to go into every detail, it is also good to leave the floor open for children to ask questions after the talk. Parents should try to answer kids’ questions in a simple but honest way.
Child Care Options for Those Without Support
Not every parent has the luxury of caring family or friends to fall back on and will need to make another plan to ensure that their children are looked after while they are in rehab. If this is the case, then there are other options.
Before turning to the Department of Children’s Services, there are several organizations to consider. NGOs like Safe Families for Children have a nationwide network of volunteer families that are ready to support children in times like these. These are usually faith-based organizations that offer the support of a community and church for children while their parent is away.
Foster care is probably everyone’s last option, but in some cases, it is the only one. Patients can get in touch with the Department of Children’s Services to put their children in temporary foster care. While this is not ideal, children are fed and cared for while parents get onto the right track and hopefully are at the start of the journey to excellent parenting and decision-making as a whole.
Sorting Out Finances
Attending a drug or alcohol rehab center can become a financial burden, especially if the patient is the primary breadwinner. Reducing financial problems for family is an important aspect of attending rehab, and there are a couple of options depending on the patient’s circumstances.
- Patients should be honest with their employer and try to use up any remaining sick leave and paid leave, which means that they will at least receive a full or partial paycheck while they are in rehab.
- Many addicts are surprised by the help that friends and family will offer when called upon. Loved ones are often willing to help with treatment costs or to care for the family while the patient is away.
- Medicaid/Medicare and the Affordable care act may partially or fully cover inpatient rehab treatment, and it is essential to check with medical insurance. Patients should ask their employers if they have short-term disability cover that will cover drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
- Check if the rehab center has some sort of payment plans or financing options.
Communication with Loved Ones
Most rehab treatment facilities consider family and close friends as an integral aspect of the road to recovery. Although patients will normally have an initial period, usually during the detox phase, where they will not be able to see or communicate with their loved ones, as soon as this waiting period is over, it will mostly be encouraged.
Every facility has its own rules and regulations in place, so it is important to check what these are before going into treatment to avoid disappointment. Some centers might allow daily visits, others weekly, and some monthly.
Communication will most likely be encouraged via email or letters during the course of treatment, and in some cases, patients will have their phones during designated hours. Family and friends are there to support patients through their rehab journey, and it is likely that they will be a big part of a patient’s recovery.
Contrary to popular belief, people do not only go to rehab when they have hit rock bottom. Many people still have loving family and friends that they care for and who they want to ensure are looked after while they are in treatment.
Getting the treatment that is needed is the best gift that any addict could give their loved ones. Get in touch with us to find out more about our treatment facilities today.