Family and friends can ask a lot of questions when they know that your adolescent loved one has struggled with addiction, gone to treatment, and come back home. Recovery is not something to be ashamed of, but something everyone should take great pride in. Early interactions in the first few months of recovery can be uncomfortable and bring up triggers for shame or embarrassment.
Here are four ways to help your child adjust after treatment
- Remind them how far they have come. Going through long term residential treatment is no small feat. It takes courage and endurance to confront the many underlying issues which can come up. Your adolescent has gone to great lengths to progress in their lives and leave mind altering substances behind. Remind them that these triggering situations are going to get easier over time. Joke with them about how they might have handled this situation just a few months ago. Remember to emphasize that you have their back and are there to support, no matter what.
- Talk about the difficulties which are coming up for everybody: Before going to the event, have a family conversation about the difficulties which might be coming up for everyone involved. Addiction is a family disease which takes a toll on each member of the family. Going to social events can be awkward for each member, not just your loved one in recovery. Give everyone a chance to address their concerns insecurities and fears. If some family members express a severe concern, together, come up with an exit strategy to leave early. Decide on a time limit for how much time you are willing to spend at this social engagement. Let everyone know it’s okay to have a good time and enjoy themselves as well.
- Encourage your loved one to rely on their recovery: Making an adjustment back to big social gatherings with friends and family members where there might be drugs and alcohol is challenging. It’s okay for your loved one in recovery to feel uncomfortable or struggle with the adjustment. Encourage your loved one to rely on the tools they have developed in recovery, like calling a sponsor, speaking with recovery peers, or taking time for a walk by themselves.
- Develop a plan for self-care before and/or after the get together: Spending quality time together in a way that is healthiest for the family is important to break the tension of getting through a triggering event. Ask the family what they would like to do to be together before, or come back together after, getting through the occasion. You’ll be putting family first and reminding them that the family bond comes first when supporting a loved one in recovery. More importantly, you’ll be reminding the loved one in recovery that they are part of the family.
Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center offers residential treatment programs to adolescent males struggling with substance abuse. Our innovative programs utilize the best in adolescent treatment methods while seeking to create a new life of recovery for the whole family. For information, call: 662-598-4214.