Many people in addiction still have families and responsibilities. Not everyone has hit rock bottom, and for people who have families they must leave behind during rehab, it can be worrisome to wonder how they will manage while you’re away. It’s natural to worry about something like this. You love your family, and your family loves you. You wonder how they’re going to make do while you’re off getting help. If there are small children in the household, it can be particularly stressful to figure out how child care and other responsibilities will be taken care of during the time away.
Remember that no matter how much you love your family, and no matter how many responsibilities you’ve had, addiction has become such a problem that it’s already interfering in your ability to care for your family. By going to treatment, you’re doing something that is going to improve your family relationships. It will make you stronger, better capable of caring for your family, and, most importantly, it will give back to your family the “you” that they love.
WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?
Of all the family you’ll have to live without for a little while, it’s children that will make the endeavor the hardest. If you have very young children, you may be terrified that their needs won’t be met while you’re in rehab. These worries are natural to have, and it’s a sign that you’re a terrific parent to care so much. Before entering your treatment program, make sure that your children will be safe with a person you trust:
- Older siblings
- A trusted friend
Once you have child care taken care of, it will be much easier to go ahead and proceed with a trip to treatment. Few will blame you if you’re still concerned about your children’s well-being during your stay in rehab. It’s something that will be on your mind during treatment, and you can discuss this with compassionate counselors, many of whom have children themselves.
TALKING TO THE KIDS
No parent wants to inform their child that they’re going to be away for a while, but medical issues arise all the time that cause this discussion to be necessary. You’re leaving your child to take care of a health issue that may drastically and negatively impact their life in the future if you don’t get help. You need treatment. Your child needs reassurance that you will be back and that they will be safe while you are away. When you talk to your child about your trip to treatment, you don’t have to go into graphic detail or even tell them the crux of the problem. All they need to know is that you have a health condition, and you need to get treatment for it.
During the discussion, you can let your child ask questions. If they’re very young, they may not even know what drug addiction is, so speak to them in terms they can understand. You don’t have to tell them what exactly is wrong. All they need to know is that you have a health condition that warrants treatment, and from there, you can answer questions as you’re comfortable. Pick a time when they’re calm and ready to listen. You know your child better than anyone else, so judge their mood and tell them when the time is right
FOR PARENTS ON THEIR OWN
Some parents in addiction don’t have the strong support that they need. They may not have parents, a spouse, a sibling, or a friend who can take care of a child or children during treatment. For these people, foster care is often the last resort to a challenging problem. If you’ve fallen so far into addiction that you already find yourself neglecting the needs of your children, and you have no one to care for them, foster care is often the best, albeit most difficult, option. Addiction affects the safety of children all the way around. It depletes from their need for financial resources, loving care, and parental guidance. In some cases, parents may even realize that their addiction has become a danger to their children, and they don’t know what to do.
Giving a child into foster care is never pleasant, and it’s one of the most heartbreaking things you may ever have to do, but if you’ve hit bottom and your only choice is treatment, and you feel like your children are unsafe, then foster care provides a humane way to temporarily keep your children safe while you get back to the real you. During treatment, you can discuss the pain of having to turn your children over to a state agency, and you can also get the help you need to one day be reunited with your children again.
TAKING CARE OF YOU
Your life depends on recovering from drug addiction. If you’re to the point where you know that only inpatient treatment is going to fix the problem, it’s time to confront the difficult issues and take care of business. Your children, spouse or partner, and other family members are going to be okay while you’re in rehab. They’re going to have their needs met, possibly be able to talk to you or visit with you while you’re away, and they’ll also be there to support you when you’re out.
Nothing is going to go away just because you’re in rehab for a while. Just like people must sometimes have extended hospital stays for health conditions, you’re also going to face this prospect. The only difference is that your health condition is addiction, and addiction is often viewed differently from other medical ailments. Before going to treatment, know that what you’re doing is right. Your family is going to be so much better off later because you made the tough choice to get help.
The great news about treatment is that you’re surrounded by loving, compassionate healthcare professionals who know how to help you cope with the feeling of being away from your family. During counseling sessions and group meetings, you can vent out your problems to people who are also going through the same thing. Every day that you stay in treatment, you may be physically away from your family, but you’re getting much closer to them emotionally because you’re getting back to the old you. If you stay the course in treatment, your family will get you back and see a brand new person before them. That’s something that they, and you, can be proud of.