Every parent with a child in addiction treatment is both excited and anxious about the moment their child returns from drug rehab. In active addiction, individuals have likely done things that caused turmoil and resentment. Stealing, lying, manipulating, leaving parents and family members anxious all the time are just some of the things addicts may have done to feed their addiction. The disease of addiction causes individuals to think and do things that are out of character. The trust parents once shared with their addict child is likely gone or at least damaged. So how do parents and recovering addicts rebuild that trust that was lost during the adult child’s years of actively using and abusing drugs and/or alcohol? How can parents help their recovering addict child avoid relapse and cultivate long-term and lasting recovery? Is there a particular formula parents can follow?
Megan’s Story of Rebuilding Trust With Her Parents After Drug Rehab
I stole a lot from my parents during my days of active drug addiction. I lied to them on a daily basis and disrespected their property. When it was time for me to come home from drug rehab I know they were scared – especially knowing 28 days in an inpatient residential drug rehab facility is not a long time.
The great news is that I am still clean and sober, and probably couldn’t have done it without the love and support from my parents. The trust was not rebuilt immediately, but they looked at me as a brand new person who was starting over in life.
Advice to Parents Waiting For Their Addict Child to Come Home From Addiction Treatment (Relapse Prevention)
Below the NAATC (National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers) provides some advice to parents who are awaiting their child’s release from addiction treatment. It’s not a definitive lists of do’s and don’t’s but rather some advice based on the experience of recovering addicts.
List in the Present, Not the Past
Parents, family and friends will likely be still be angry about a number of the behaviors exhibited by the addict during their active addiction. This is completely normal and to e expected. When an addict is in early recovery, they can be overly emotional and have low self-esteem. Eventually, there will be an appropriate time and settings to address these issues with the recovering addict directly. In the beginning however, it may be very overwhelming to the addict and they may be overcome with guilt and shame. This could lead to a relapse.
A addict in true recovery will likely already feel bad for what they’ve done, but probably aren’t ready to start talking about it. But just because an individual in recovery isn’t proclaiming how sorry they are doesn’t mean they’re not. One of Megan’s friends came home from drug rehab and her mother called her a whore and all these horrible names. She immediately went back out using drugs. Thus, when the opportunity and setting to discuss hardships and resentment presents itself, we encourage you to be cautious and present your feelings in such a way that promotes understanding and growth rather than facilitating destruction.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Trust has to be rebuilt and that takes time. There’s nothing wrong with helping your recovering addict child out but be careful. There are signs and symptom of drug addiction to look out for. For example, if they start demanding money on a constant basis, are displaying disrespectful behavior, taking advantage of your kindness, acting irate, nodding out (falling asleep) during conversation, etc. Creating boundaries such as limiting use to your vehicle, having them tell you where they are going, calling you when they arrive at their destination and telling you exactly when they will be back. It may also be a good idea to track the mileage on your car. Asking for receipts for any purchases if you give them any money or going with them would be prudent.
Educate yourself on addiction and relapse signs.
Do fun activities with them, if they want to talk about something, listen.
Encourage them and let them know how proud of them you are.
Encourage ongoing counseling and/or involvement in therapy / recovery groups. Request family therapy sessions.
Take notice if they aren’t making steps forward in their lifestyle. Many addicts get clean, but still engage in old habits that will keep them from moving forward.
Be patient, changes happen but it sometimes takes time. Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint.
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Written by Megan Sarah, Blogger for Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide, Heroin News and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)
Edited and Published by William Charles, Founder/Owner/Publisher
We are a community for recovering heroin addicts providing support and recommending the best treatments and clinics to people interested in conquering their addiction.
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