If your loved one has made the choice to go away for rehab, he or she has taken a positive first step toward recovery. You want to be as supportive and encouraging as possible, but that may be difficult to do if the chosen inpatient treatment center is far from home. How can you show your support when the miles separate you from your loved one?
First, remember this is a hopeful time. You may not be able to see or communicate with your loved one as much as you’d like, but he or she has chosen this rehab facility for a particular reason. Whatever that may be, you can show your support by accepting the decision.
Learn the Rules and Policies of the Inpatient Treatment Center
Each facility has its own set of rules. Some may allow phone calls the first week, while others may require a 30-day communication blackout period. It is important to learn the rules of your loved one’s rehab facility and follow them. Respecting such guidelines is one way to show you support your loved one’s choice of facility and, more importantly, his or her decision to embrace recovery.
While you’re waiting to talk to your loved one, write letters. If the facility doesn’t allow any correspondence at all, you can keep a scrapbook of the letters to give your loved one when it is permissible, or even when he or she returns home. That way you can “talk” every day and update your loved one on everyday life without overstepping boundaries.
Quite often, the time prior to a loved one’s admission to a rehab facility is very chaotic. Once he or she has started a treatment program, you will have some breathing space. Step back and educate yourself about the addiction and the path to recovery your loved one has chosen. Learn what to expect when your loved one returns home, as well as what boundaries you should establish for his or her return. Also learn the signs of relapse and be prepared to act quickly if this happens.
Participate as You are Able
Many rehabilitation centers encourage family members to visit on family days or for counseling sessions. If at all possible, go! But if miles, work, or other obligations make it impossible, don’t beat yourself up over that. Instead, show your support in any way you can. Send uplifting books or care packages of photos and snacks, if permissible. Keep your correspondence light and encouraging. Let your loved one know that you are there, you care, and you support the choice he or she made.
Finally, you can support your loved one by getting the support you need during this recovery period. After all, addiction affects the entire family. Find someone you can talk to, enter counseling, or look for a support group to give you the encouragement you need as you travel this path with your loved one.
Want to learn more about the ways to support your loved one while he or she is in a treatment program? Contact our trained admissions counselors at 866-349-1770. They can walk you through the part you’ll play in the your loved one’s recovery.