If you’ve ever had a friend go through drug rehab, you know that it’s a grueling experience. Withdrawal from any sort of drug can be a long and painful process, and it’s hell on the people around the addict, as well. You might be able to imagine how difficult it is, then, to be the parent of a child going through drug rehabilitation.
If your teenage son or daughter is about to go through drug rehab or is already in rehab, you don’t just have to sit back and wait to see what happens. Instead, you can take an active role in helping your child get through the process and come out the other side prepared to live a sober, happy life.
Supporting A Child Through Drug Rehab
Here are four ways you can support your child during rehab. They include:
1. Be Firm
Just getting your child into rehab can be a difficult experience. Once someone is addicted to a drug, their body is giving them physical commands that they need to continue taking the drug. This physical dependence is part of why withdrawal symptoms are so powerful-the body is working its way through coming off a substance that it thinks it needs for normal functioning.
In the midst of this process, your son or daughter may tell you that they want to quit or ask you to come and take them home. It’s important that you allow the process to go its course. Letting your child quit will open you up to having to restart the entire process of getting them back into rehab at a later date. When dealing with addictive substances that can literally kill their users, this is not a path you want to go down.
2. Be Patient
Drug rehab is not an overnight process. Many programs can take 30 or 60 days or even longer. After going through the stages of withdrawal, your child will also need to build up his or her self-control and learn a set of life skills to help keep them from relapsing. Coming off of drugs without learning these new life skills doesn’t do much for the addict-they need to learn how to not use anymore.
While your child is going through these steps, you can help them by being patient. Don’t expect them to immediately change their attitude about drugs and life in general, but do stay firm in your belief that they can change and get better. You just have to be willing to let the process take the time it needs to work.
3. Take Responsibility
Sooner or later, any drug addict has to start taking responsibility for his or her condition. What did they do to get to this point of addiction? If they can’t face that question, they won’t be able to avoid making the same mistakes once they’re sober again.
As the addict’s parent, you will need to ask yourself the same thing. Was there anything you could have done differently? Did you ignore any of the warning signs that your child was becoming addicted to drugs? You need to face the facts now and decide what you can do differently to keep your child drug-free.
4. Face Life After Rehab
While it will seem like your child has been away forever, they’ll be home before you know it. When they do come home, life cannot be “business as usual.” It was business as usual that got your child addicted to drugs in the first place.
Instead, you need to decide how life is going to change and have the changes ready and implemented when your son or daughter comes home. That way you can be ready with a firm and unyielding game plan. Maybe it will be an absolute curfew of coming home by 8 PM. Maybe you’ll want your child to take weekly drug tests for a few months. Whatever you decide, be ready by the time your child first comes in the door.
By following these steps, you can support your child during rehab and raise the chance that it will be a one-time experience.