Having a family member go through drug abuse is difficult, but getting your brother, sister, parent or child into a substance abuse rehab program is the most important step you can take toward getting that family member clean or sober again. Just getting the family member into rehab often isn’t enough, though. Once your family member is in to rehab, there are several key steps you can take to make sure that rehab is as effective as possible. Instead of letting your family member try to go it alone, here are several ways you can help.
Don’t Go in With Drugs
Drug rehabilitation centers are, by necessity, drug and alcohol-free environments. Someone that is physically dependent on any drug or alcohol simply cannot be trusted around the substance he or she is dependent on while going through withdrawal.
Withdrawal from any drug is an excruciating experience. It can be extremely painful, and the urge to take more drugs is overwhelming. Most addicts will do anything to get more drugs while going through this process. This could cause the recovering addict to try to somehow buy drugs while in rehab or to try to sneak out while in rehab. While these are two circumstances that the rehab center’s staff will watch for and prevent, you can do your part by making sure your family member doesn’t go into rehab with drugs in their possession in the first place.
One way to do this is to help your family member pack. You can help get your loved one’s clothes and possessions together and discretely ensure that no drugs, alcohol or even questionable items are going into the bags either. This may take communication, as your family member probably won’t like you “snooping.” By talking about why you’re keeping a close eye (because you care), your family member will surely understand.
Continue to Show Your Love and Support
Once your loved one goes into rehab, don’t act like they’ve dropped into a black hole. If it’s your sibling going through the detoxification and rehabilitation procedures, they’ll need to know that you’re there to listen to their difficulties and triumphs as they go through the process.
Call frequently to check on your family member and encourage them to continue through the process. You can provide them with a phone card to make it easier to contact you, as well. Feel free to send care packages of nutritious food and replacement toiletries, as some rehab programs can take a while to get the addict clean and stable.
If the addict tells you that he or she is thinking about giving up and leaving, talk to them about how important this process is to you. The recovering addict’s life is at stake, so do whatever you need to in order to help them stay the course.
Prepare for the Return Home
When your family member finishes rehab and returns home, they are going to be going back into the environment that potentially got them using drugs in the first place. This can be very difficult for any addict, as the first days and weeks after returning home is the time period where an addict is at greatest risk of relapsing.
In order to help ease this process, you can take steps to make this process a lot smoother. Remove any alcohol from your house and lock up any prescription drugs you may have sitting around. Prepare a schedule of fun activities and exercise that won’t take the addict back to any of his or her old “stomping grounds.”
Throughout all the steps you take, remember that the addict won’t make it through this process without the love and support of the people that care about him. For more information on how to help to handle substance abuse download our Family Help Guide.