What to expect
The first thing to remember is that Drug Addiction (or Alcoholism) is a complex illness. It is characterized by intense and uncontrollable drug cravings. These cravings cause irrational, compulsive drug seeking behaviors. The addict will lie and manipulate every chance they get, despite the consequences. Remember, your loved one is not a bad person — just a sick person. Count on everything you are being told is not going to be the truth.
Drug and alcohol abuse disrupts all aspects of an individual’s life. Treatment is not simple. You and your family will be tense, scared and guilty. You may even start to question, if what you are doing is right. When you feel this way, call your referral counselor immediately. This person is familiar with the process and will guide you to make the right decisions.Get your loved one into treatment as soon as possible. Have transportation ready to take them directly to the facility. You should be constantly speaking with your referral counselor at this stage. This is the high risk time when your addicted loved one will try to run. This is very common, so don’t be discouraged — just be prepared. Forcing a person into treatment, is still going to be effective.
If the recovering addict is enrolled in a program that starts in a few days, they may need a safe place to stay. It is important that they stay away from their old “friends”. Families can play a loving role in this task by supplying a place to sleep.
If you are not addicted to alcohol, but occasionally drink, I suggest avoiding it for a while. At the very least, refrain from drinking in front your loved one. This doesn’t have to be forever, just in the beginning when the cravings are the worst. Hide, all of your medicine, credit cards and other valuables. I know this sounds harsh, but cravings can make a person do very bad things.During the first stage of the recovery process, known as detox, the recovering addict may experience many unpleasant symptoms, including physical illness, insomnia, excessive lethargy or increased appetite.
A few tips to can be helpful.
- Keep busy
- Try not to rehash old hurts.
- Don’t allow them to have a cell phone.
- Don’t listen to anything they say.
- Keep in contact with your referral counselor
Treatment programs can last anywhere between 28 days and 12 months. A three-month stay is very common. This is not going to be a quick and easy process. Treatment isn’t over when the substance is out of the system. Working on the underlying causes of addiction is critical for providing long-term sobriety. Longer treatment programs allows your addicted loved one to take their time, work daily with experts and learn ways to cope with addiction. However, the duration of the rehab stay should always correspond with their individual needs.
The following are the general steps and stages of inpatient alcohol rehab.STEP 1. Assessment
STEP 2. Medical detox, if necessary
STEP 3. Medications (possibly) combined with psychotherapy and psychological treatment
STEP 4. Education on the nature of addiction
STEP 5. Supportive services
STEP 6. Aftercare and maybe sober living
My loved one is at the rehab, how can I help?:
- Write some letters
- Get some help for yourself, because you have been through a lot
- Make yourself available for family counseling sessions
- Refraining from judgment
- Visit when it is allowed
Will the treatment work?
Treatment does work, but there is no permanent cure. The treatment center will provide an after-care plan. If your loved one messes up, don’t panic. This can happen and it does not mean that the treatment didn’t work. Experts have found that a relapse can serve as an important opportunity for learning. It can help the recovering person and other family members identify what triggered the relapse in the first place and determine ways to avoid it in the future. If a relapse happens call your referral counselor immediately. This is the most important thing you could do. They are familiar with this circumstance and can help get the person back on track.
Addiction creates an overwhelming and dangerous situation for you and your loved one. Don’t hesitate. I know that change is scary, but you don’t have to do it alone.